Flower and Ammonia Patina on Copper

Introduction: Flower and Ammonia Patina on Copper

About: I've been making jewellery for about 25 years and teaching for around 18 years. I've recently moved into an online classroom where anyone, anywhere can learn to make jewellery... You're welcome to join me. T…

Learn how to make a flower and ammonia patina on copper.

Step 1: Introduction:

I’ve been having a lot of fun with household copper patinas. What’s a house hold patina? Generally a patina created using things found in the Home, rather than, patinas made with nasty Chemicals which are not always fun to play with.

I found to my delight that many materials both organic and non organic could be used to create very unique copper and ammonia patinas. I call these materials - reactive materials.

I also had to figure out how to use those reactive materials to create patinas. I came up with a few methods which offered many possibilities.

In this tutorial I’ll show you how to: Wrap, Tie and Drizzle.

Step 2: What You'll Need:

  • Some flower petals.
  • An absorbent cloth (I used a microfibre dishcloth from the dollar store).
  • A bit of yarn or string.
  • A zip bag.
  • 2 teaspoons of household ammonia (from my local grocery store).
  • A piece of copper.

Step 3: Copper Preparation:

It is best to first degrease your copper, this will help the patina adhere to the copper and make it more stable (less likely to flake off).

There are a few ways to do this. I recommend emery. Use 220 emery by hand or a sanding disc with a rotary tool.

Be sure to emery the entire surface and do not touch the copper with your greasy fingers. I like to wear gloves, but if you hold the copper only on the edges, you’ll be ok.

Step 4: Make It.

  • Pluck the flower petals. Make an petal, copper, petal sandwich.
  • Wrap the cloth around the sandwich evenly.
  • Tie securely with a bit of yarn or string.
  • Drizzle 2 teaspoons of ammonia evenly, a bit on both sides of the cloth.
  • Pop into a zip bag and let cook (sit) for 4 days.
  • Remove from zip bag and soak in warm water for about 10 minutes.
  • Open up the cloth and gently remove the flower petals.
  • Allow to fully dry.
  • If the patina is chalky, gently wash in warm water.

Be careful not to inhale the ammonia fumes as they can be harmful. And do wear protective eyewear - the fumes can damage your eyes.

Step 5: Learn More Ammonia and Copper Patina Recipes.

If you would like to learn more patina recipes using organic and non organic reactive materials, please visit My Facebook Page or YouTube Channel.

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    2 years ago

    Looks very nice!
    Can you use any flower?
    When I read your Instructable on onion copper patina I was under the impression that the chemical properties of the onion added to the patina, but now I think you used onion pieces ( and in this case flowers) because of their shape, is this correct or is there more to it?


    Reply 2 years ago

    Hello Gadisha,

    Thanks for the fantastic question.

    Actually it’s a bit of both. The chemicals and the shapes play a part in the creation of the patina. The shapes of the reactive materials (flower petals or the onion pieces) act as a type of stencil, but the unique chemicals from the reactive materials also effect the texture and colour of the patina. As does the amount of ammonia used and cook times.

    Different flower petals do create different patinas (these patinas are all done with different flower petals). Here is a link to a longer tutorial showing different flower petals and a couple of ways flower petals can be used to achieve multiple patina effects.



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