- The craft metal
we ship has a bright brushed metal/satin finish.
- The soft brushed
finish of raw copper & brass will gain a rich natural patina
- They also can
be cleaned occasionally and coated with paste wax or clear lacquers
to preserve the original finish.
- With weathering, the copper will first turn
a rich red bronze color and eventually progress to a green or
blue green/turquoise color.
- Brass is slower
to change into its mellow greenish brown bronze color with flecks
- This coloration is called 'patina' which
is actually a thin layer of oxidation on the surface or the metal. The distinctive green color of
aged copper is called 'verdigris'.
most famous example of this is the Statue of Liberty. Natural
patinas acquired over time are deeper, richer and more durable
color. Copper roofs may last many hundreds of years.
- It is possible
to speed up the natural patina process somewhat by exposing the
item to a coastal salt air environment or placing the item near
a swimming pool where it will be exposed to the chlorine in the
- A faster method
of obtaining different colored patinas is to apply a commercial
- Patina solutions
are available in the paint departments of most craft and hardware
stores. Caution should be used as these chemicals are corrosive
and must be used in a well ventilated area. Never allow children
to handle these.
- It is best to
patina an item after it has been crafted. Pre -patinated
metal will show shiny areas every where the metal is bent, hammered,
or stretched. In addition soldering will be impossible and the
patina will discolor where heated.
green patina induced on our sailfish using commercially available
prepared patina solution
- The first step
obtaining a successful patina or finish on copper and brass is
to thoroughly clean the item to be patinated. The surface must
be free of any grease or oil (including that from fingerprints)
and in a bare metal state. Grease and oil can be removed with
dish washing detergent and a brush or rag. The metal should then
be cleaned with an abrasive pad, or a small brush (such as a
tooth brush) and an abrasive metal cleanser such as Bar Keeper's
Friend. Metal cleansers contain a mild powdered acid that is
activated by water and removes surface oxidation. Metal cleansers
can be found where other house hold cleaning supplied are sold.
Once the metal has been prepared, follow the directions that
come with the commercial patina solution.
- Paste wax or Lacquer can be
applied to the cleaned bare metal once it has been thoroughly
dried. If moisture is trapped under the finish coating it will
tarnish. Coppersmiths in the 1800s used to pack the cleaned piece
in hot saw dust to remove the moisture. Today lighting fixture
and faucet manufacturers go to great lengths to prepare, clean
and dry their brass fixtures for the lacquer coating that keeps
them looking bright as long as possible. It is our experience
that a permanent clear coating for brass and copper is very difficult
if not impossible to obtain. Periodic cleaning and re-coating
is always necessary.
- There are specific
brass and copper lacquers commercially available that are purported
to last longer. Incralac is used by many sculptors use. One maker:
CAP industries 543 Staunton St, Piqua OH 45356 They may have
to be removed and reapplied if the metal tarnishes under the
- For colored metal many dip or
paint our craft metal with their choice colors. This way there
are there are thousands of color choices with different spray
paints and liquid paints. Check the label to see which ones coat
metal best. Cleaning the metal with a solvent will improve results.
A quick primer may help.
- We like "Rustoleum" brand for metal.
Also auto body paint colors offer many colors and special effects.