Copper Patinas

I’ve always wanted to experiment with patinas on copper and other metals and finally this weekend I set aside some time to play! I didn’t have access to any oxy acetylene or similar torch setups (as seems to be preferred), but I was still able to get some really interesting and satisfying results using table salt, an ammonia bath and MAP gas.

There were two basic methods that I ended up going with. The first was done completely cold and used an ammonia bath as seen below. The second used heat, and was achieved by applying salt to the copper’s surface and heating the work from below with MAP gas.

Each copper sheet is cleaned, sanded and then cleaned again. Salt is applied to the surface and then sprayed with an ammonia solution (straight ammonia produced truer, brighter blues, while ammonia solutions mixed with cleaning agents produced lighter, greener tones). The pieces are then set above an ammonia bath, and sealed inside a container creating a “fuming” setup. The longer the pieces sit, the more the colors continue to beautifully intensify.

Each copper sheet is cleaned, sanded and then cleaned again. Salt is applied to the surface and then sprayed with an ammonia solution (straight ammonia produced truer, brighter blues, while ammonia solutions mixed with cleaning agents produced lighter, greener tones). The pieces are then set above an ammonia bath, and sealed inside a container creating a “fuming” setup. The longer the pieces sit, the more the colors continue to beautifully intensify.


Finished copper patinas. These pieces can be further sanded to expose more of the copper beneath, or left as is, beautifully blue!

Finished copper patinas. These pieces can be further sanded to expose more of the copper beneath, or left as is, beautifully blue!

This patina was achieved by applying salt to a sanded and cleaned copper surface. I then propped them up on soft kiln bricks, and torched the metal from below with MAP gas. As the salt bubbles and dissolves I continue to add more until the entire surface has a sooty, black look. Sanding through the soot revealed beautiful warm reds, yellows, and orange tones.

This patina was achieved by applying salt to a sanded and cleaned copper surface. I then propped them up on soft kiln bricks, and torched the metal from below with MAP gas. As the salt bubbles and dissolves I continue to add more until the entire surface has a sooty, black look. Sanding through the soot revealed beautiful warm reds, yellows, and orange tones.