Red Patina on Copper




This is my first Instructable! So, I thought I would show you how to achieve a beautiful red patina on your copper!

Step 1: Items You Will Need

There are only a few items that you'll need to get started, they are;

1. Pieces of clean copper, in different shapes and sizes (I made some roses out of thin copper for this)

2. Borax powder (20 Mule Team Laundry Detergent)

3. Water (tap water is fine)

4. Propane torch

5. Pieces of kiln brick or charcoal blocks

6. Heat resistant tongs or long needle nose pliers with rubber grips (that you don't mind ruining)

7. Ceramic bowl (as it will be close to the firing area and can take the heat)

Step 2:

Mix Borax with tap water in the ceramic bowl. You don't need to be to picky about the mix, but I prefer using enough Borax to make the water, when its stirred, look like watered down milk.

Step 3:

Next you will heat your copper piece with a Propane torch. I recommend building a small firing area out of fire brick, just tall enough and wide enough to fit the piece.

Heat the copper to a red hot and very quickly quench it in the borax/water solution. You may have to repeat the heating process if the copper is not shiny red. I have noticed that heating the piece from the back will achieve a more even red tone. Sometime you will get splotches of orange or black, which I find appealing on some pieces, but you might not.

If you aren't happy with your result you can always throw the copper into pickle to remove the patina and then you can start over.

Good luck!

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    7 Discussions

    Kirys Touch

    2 years ago

    I like it, aha, aha, I like it!


    2 years ago

    Very cool! I had noticed that occasionally after hard soldering copper there would be red coloring near wear I applied the borax flux. I messed around with it a little, but was never able to get the full, even red color that you get. Quenching in water + borax is an awesome idea, I don't think I would have ever thought to try that out! Great instructable :)

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Hello! It's better to do your copper pieces cold formed. Soldered pieces are difficult to get a good even tone on. If you figure out how to do it, please do an instructables! I would love to know your process!