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It is easy to create a realistic copper finish using just water based paints. I got a fabulous result with this method on the carved base of this slab coffee table. I think it looks better if the surface has a bit of texture, but it will work on a flat surface, too.

The video is a quick overview of the entire build process for that table and it includes information on how I did the copper finish, too!

Step 1: Apply a Base Coat

The first step is to apply a deep brown base coat.

I used Rustoleum's Satin Espresso, but any deep brown paint that isn't too glossy will do

Step 2: Dry Brush a Coat of Copper Paint

The next step is to dry brush a coat of copper colored accent paint.

Use high quality paint for the best result. I like "Golden” brand acrylics because their colors are so rich and realistic looking. They have two shades of copper paint, Iridescent Copper is more of a reddish color and Iridescent Copper Light is more of a gold colored copper.

Start with the Iridescent Copper (more reddish color)

Dry brushing is a technique for applying very thin, light coats of color to a project and it is very easy to do. The idea is to have such a small amount of paint on your brush that it is almost "dry".

  • Dip just the tips of your brush into the paint
  • Dab your brush onto a piece of paper to remove the excess paint before you apply it to your project
  • Apply the accent color by moving your brush lightly across the surface of your project .

When you are done with this step your project should have a bright copper tone to it. If this is the look you were hoping for then you are done!

If you want a more subdued look then move on to the next step.

Step 3: Tone It Down a Bit!

If you want a more subtle look then dry brush a VERY thin coat of the Iridescent Copper Light over the entire surface. Another way to tone it back is to dry brush a tiny bit the brown over the top.

Feel free to have some fun with this and experiment a little!

About This Instructable

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Bio: I am a woodworker, blogger and YouTube content creator. I love woodworking, problem solving and designing new things.
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