Colour plays a large role in design esthetics.  There are many ways to add colour into Jewellery work,  applying patinas are one of the simplest methods; requiring very little equipment or in some kinds expense.  Copper takes a patina especially well. Every metal has its own personality; I like to think of Copper as an Old, Smelly, Dirty, Drunk, Homeless Man; if you've worked with it, you understand why.  Because Copper is such a dirty Metal it likes to oxidize; in simple terms: put it next to a chemical and it will react by changing colours.  This process is called Patination.

There are hundreds of Chemical Patina Recipes; many requiring expensive, hard to find and potentially dangerous Chemicals, all things I like to avoid whenever possible.  Instead, my favorite Patinas are made by more common household chemicals.  My current favorite household patina, is a brilliant blue made by using:  

1. Clear Ammonia (found in the cleaning aisle of your local grocery store)
2. Table salt
3. Water

Step 1: Making a fume chamber

First you will need to construct a fume chamber.  Find a plastic container with a lid (clear if possible), large enough to hold your Copper in.  The Copper will need to be suspended in the container; drill or poke holes in the sides of the container large enough to slide a bit of wire through (any type of wire will do).  Depending on what you wish to patina, you will have to customize the hanging mechanism; I used two wires to support the sheet evenly.

At the bottom of the fume chamber place a bit of paper towel.  Dribble some Ammonia on it; you want it moist but do not soak it. Warning - inhaling Ammonia fumes can be harmful.

The Fume chamber is now ready for use.
<p>I have 3 large panels (replacing glass in china cabinet) They are about 1'X3' ... can you do this w/o creating a fume chamber?</p>
<p>The color is beautiful ..I have been making jewelry for 20 years and just now getting into metals..Thank you for this great patina method...I have use the salt in an oven but the pretty blue isn't the result ...</p>
<p>Useful tip on patinating copper</p>
<p>Thanks for posting this and using household products. Would this work on a copper roof that is about 8-9 years old if I did consistently for several days or even weeks? Although it is easily accessible with a ladder or sprayer from the ground, it would be difficult to do the prep work described in step 2 and almost impossible to cover the roof area securely? I can send picture if that would help.</p>
<p>Is it possible to do this in a way that only part of your copper object will have the effect?<br>something like this?<br> <a href="http://www.westernlivingmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Anthropologie-Geometria-wall-clock.jpg" rel="nofollow">http://www.westernlivingmagazine.com/wp-content/up...</a></p>
I'd trying covering the part you don't want patina on with masking tape
<p>Lovely ...blue ad green patina is most desirable on copper www.studioviali.com</p>
<p>Thanks for making this great tutorial. Used this technique recently on a coffee table with fumed copper surface and it came out great</p>
<p>What prep did you use and how did you apply your salt lucas.lavoy? I followed the above method and my coverage looks nothing like yours! Great job!</p>
<p>Just standard spray bottle with salt water (lots of it), came up bright blue. The difference was I scrubbed off the unstable parts of the patina afterwards and did a second application and second fume chamber exposure. Somehow that made it much more green than blue.</p>
<p>Used this for the back of a full sized mirror.</p>
<p>nice.these guys have some lovely copper works as well</p><p>www.viali.pl</p>
How well does this stuff color if used with a brush? And have you ever tried masking to achieve a pattern of patina?
How long did it take your piece to get that dark?
More Patinas and processes found here : <a href="http://www.sciencecompany.com/-W160.aspx#5" rel="nofollow">http://www.sciencecompany.com/-W160.aspx#5</a>
Beautiful patina. I thought all copper patina was green. I learn something every day.
That's very cool. I'm gonna' have to try this some time.

About This Instructable


173 favorites


Bio: I've been making jewellery for 22 years and teaching jewellery making classes for 13 years. Recently I've started an online jewellery magazine packed ... More »
More by creatinglinus: Basic chain making Tutorial: Round Solder Constructed Framed Pendant A simple Sterling Silver Band Ring
Add instructable to: