Watercolour Paper 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....

Watercolour Paper can be used as a stencil when patina making. This allows for the use of image making in patinas.

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: Fume.

Step 2: What You'll Need:

  • A bit of Watercolour Paper (I used arches 90 pound rough)
  • A fume chamber.
  • 1 cup + 3 teaspoons of household ammonia (from my local grocery store).
  • 2 teaspoons of salt.
  • A piece of copper.

Step 3: Make a Fume Chamber:

There are many ways to make a fume chamber. Basically you need a plastic container with a lid and a hanging method which will suspend your piece of copper in the fume chamber.

Here is how to make a fume chamber like mine:

Poke or drill holes in a plastic container (with lid). I measured 5 cm from the top of the container and drilled (or poked) four 1mm holes.

I used 1mm copper wire.

Put a bit of paper towel at the bottom of the fume chamber and add 3 teaspoons of household ammonia.

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 4: 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 5: The Stencil:

You will need to make a Watercolour Paper stencil. I used arches 90 pound rough and a scalpel to cut mine out. Depending on the effect you want the stencil could be positive or negative.

Step 6: An Ammonia and Salt Solution:

For this patina you’ll need to mix up an ammonia and salt solution: 1 cup of ammonia mixed with 2 teaspoons of salt. I used a spray bottle to apply the solution but a paint brush could also be used - it’s just a bit trickier.

Step 7: Make It:

  • Place the Watercolour Stencil on the copper.
  • Spray an ammonia and salt solution on the copper. (Tip: more solution is not better, a wet patina tends to be fragile).
  • Cover Fume Chamber.
  • Let cook (sit) for 2 hours.
  • Let dry for 1 hour.
  • Soak in warm water until paper comes off without pulling.
  • Let dry.

Step 8: Learn More About 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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