Whats the best way to age copper?

KevC___IrelandFebruary 16, 2005

I built a 20in diameter X 36in high Dovecote last year and put a copper roof on it. My ambition is for the green patina but I want it sooner than later. I have looked around over here for some form of accelerant but it is not readily available in small qtys. I'd have to pay Â100 for a 5gal drum! The dovecote only cost about Â25 to make in the first place!!!

The roof is about the color of an old penny now.

Is there a home made, old world recipe to help the "greening" along or do I have to wait 5 10 yrs for the required effect?

I have noticed though, some traces are turning green but mainly around where bird droppings have been left behind by the occupants. If I made up a soup from nitrogen fertiliser and sprayed it on, I wonder would it do something??

Or would I be better off buffing up the copper to high sheen again and laquer it???

Any ideas/suggestions???


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There is a company called Modern Options that sells a patina solution at crafts/arts stores. They have a website modernoptions.com and they do sell at big stores like Michael's and The Home Depot (California locations, at least.) Anyhow, they have various colors and they do sell the verdigris which I have used. I am an artist and I do copper drawings on huge sheets of copper foil, and have been all around on this subject, finally having some wisdom to share! If you don't want to use that approach (the modern options) you can make a solution of salt dissolved in vinegar. brush or spray the solution on CLEAN copper--clean with a lemon dipped in salt, and then immediately wash with soap and water and do not touch with bare hands. The oils from your hands will make the patina not stick. By the next day there should be a good patina on your surface. You can spray with water to stop the patina process, but make it a gentle spraying. This will also show you what color the roof will be if you decide to spray with lacquer. The lacquer will change/darken the appearance of the patina.
All the best!!!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 4:20PM
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Urine will react with copper. Collect some and brush it on a sample of the copper to judge the results. Cost will be low!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2005 at 10:07PM
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Miracle Grow plant food is supposed to work well. Cheap, but not as cheap as urine.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2005 at 7:26PM
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Thanks Rosemarino, I tried as you suggested with the vinegar and salt solution. Lo and behold, green patinated copper roof on my dovecote.... Great tip, I'm delighted with the result, thanks again,


    Bookmark   February 25, 2005 at 1:52AM
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Rosemarino --
What ratios on the vinegar/salt solution please? I want to age some copper plumbing pipe.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2005 at 10:36PM
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Here's the best info I've found on the web:

Green Patina Formula:
2 parts white vinegar, 1 1/2 parts non-detergent ammonia, 1/2 part non-iodized salt

Here is a link that might be useful: Copper and Brass Finish Treatments

    Bookmark   March 5, 2005 at 11:07PM
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I just had copper snow guards put on my roof and they are so BRIGHT I can't stand it. I saw the instructions on greening the copper, but I just want to darken it... I want it to be the color it would be if I let it age for 4-6month. Will the same solutions work?


    Bookmark   March 18, 2005 at 10:22AM
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Looking for advice on how to age new copper gutters and copper gutter helmet to a silveresh gray patina finish. Trying to keep the blue green effect out. The old copper gutters were patinad years ago to this finish. Any advice?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2011 at 8:19AM
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Any selenium based solution such as gun bluing will work to age copper, brass, and bronze.

Selenium followed by mineral oil CAN help get it more gray. It will not turn silver.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 3:49PM
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LIVER OF SULFUR will turn copper a darker color. Depending on the concentration it can be anywhere from a light gray blue tone to a dark black.

You can get it online at jewelry supply websites. As a jewelry, I use this all the time on copper and sterling silver. It is fairly permanent. It can be sanded off. It can be painted or sprayed on. I would get a scrap piece to test different methods of application.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 12:47AM
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I have copper gutters and roof from six years ago that is now dull copper tone. It should have turned green by now, so it must have been coated. How can I get rid of the coating and get it to green?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 11:36AM
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Ketchup also works

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 1:57PM
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"Ketchup also works"

Acetic acid (vinegar) and salt.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 10:55AM
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I have not used any of these solutions yet, but I plan to try the salt and vinegar mixture Im going to be putting it on a table surface so Im wondering about a good way to seal the table top once its done. Someone said on here to use marine grade polyurethane but Im concerned about that being too strong if I decide to change the finish in the future. Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 12:53AM
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The "Copper and Brass Finish Treatments" link posted above now seems to be Copper and Brass Finish Treatments.

I also ran across this online: Patina Formulas for Brass, Bronze and Copper

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 12:08PM
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