Patina Tips and Tricks for Copper
by Susan LeGuyader
How do you color or patina your copper? Changing the color of the metal can add a wonderful design element to your jewelry.
Here, I've chosen three different methods to change the appearance of the copper washers.
Instructions
First, you can use liver of sulfur. Otherwise known as the stinky bath. There are a couple of things to know about using liver of sulfur. First, it is a chemical. It will have to be neutralized in a baking soda and water bath. You should not rinse it down your drain into city sewer. Also, use in a well ventilated area and wear your safety glasses and a mask. Safety should always come first.
Susan LeGuyader's Patina Tips and Tricks for Copper - , General Education, , copper patina tips
Susan LeGuyader's Patina Tips and Tricks for Copper - , General Education, , copper patina tips
In a glass or plastic container, suitable for the size of jewelry to patina, squeeze a quarter size drop into the bottom of the container. Add water. And stir. It should be a strong yellow color. Drop your metal in and pull when it is black. Rinse in the baking soda/water solution to stop the patina process and neutralize the chemical.
More info when using liver of sulfur. Warm or hot water will cause a quicker and darker coloration on the metal. You can get this by boiling water in a kettle or using hot tap water. A coffee mug warmer works great to keep Liver of Sulfur warm if you going to be using it several times.
Susan LeGuyader's Patina Tips and Tricks for Copper - , General Education, , copper patina tips
Susan LeGuyader's Patina Tips and Tricks for Copper - , General Education, , copper patina tips
Another option for adding color or patina to copper is with a torch. This might be my all-time favorite. With a small butane torch, you can create beautiful right colors with a flame.
Place your metal on a heat safe surface, turn on your torch. Gently and slowly heat up the copper. You will see the copper color get very bright. Let it cool at little, then go back in with the torch. By letting it heat up and cool again, your colorations will be more dramatic.
Susan LeGuyader's Patina Tips and Tricks for Copper - , General Education, , copper patina tips
Susan LeGuyader's Patina Tips and Tricks for Copper - , General Education, , copper patina tips
My last tip is to use a Sharpie marker. This method works great with textured metal. You can add texture with a variety of tools. When you are finished texturing your copper, color it with a Sharpie. Then let dry.
As you can see from the photo, there are all three methods of adding color to copper displayed. The top three washers are heat treated, the two on the second row are colored with a Sharpie and the final three were dipped in liver of sulfur.
Susan LeGuyader's Patina Tips and Tricks for Copper - , General Education, , copper patina tips
Susan LeGuyader's Patina Tips and Tricks for Copper - , General Education, , copper patina tips
The final step is to clean up the washers. If you want, you can use a Pro-Polish pad to add a bit of shine or use Renaissance Wax to seal the metal. For textured metal, use a bit of steel wool to remove a bit of the Sharpie from the high spots.
Susan LeGuyader's Patina Tips and Tricks for Copper - , General Education, , copper patina tips

Materials

12 Gauge Half Round Dead Soft Copper Wire
H11-12HRD
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 1FT
  • Price: $2.51
  • Gold Club Price: $1.88
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20 Gauge 0.032 Dead Soft Copper Sheet Metal - 6x12 Inch
MET-705.20M
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $13.26
  • Gold Club Price: $9.94
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28 Gauge 0.012 Dead Soft Copper Sheet Metal - 6x12 Inch
MET-705.28M
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $8.14
  • Gold Club Price: $6.11
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26 Gauge 0.016 Dead Soft Copper Sheet Metal - 6x12 Inch
MET-705.26M
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $7.30
  • Gold Club Price: $5.48
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Tools

Liver of Sulfur 4 oz
SOL-600.04
  • SOL-600.04
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $14.97
  • Gold Club Price: $11.23
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Liver of Sulphur Gel, 2 Ounce Bottle
SOL-610.02
  • SOL-610.02
  • Lesson Quantity: 1.00 pieces
  • Purchase Quantity: 1.00 each
  • Price: $12.95
  • Gold Club Price: $9.71
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  • Category: General Education
  • Technique(s): General Education