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
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.