Creating Patinas for Copper

I'm definitely not a chemist and on top of that, I'm very clumsy.  Thus, I'm always a bit reluctant to work with chemical solutions of any kind.  Who knows what kind of toxic smoke cloud I could accidentally create!?!?  But when came across a pin on Pinterest about colorizing copper using a solution of ammonia and salt, I thought "Sheez, even I can do that!"

I've played around with the solution and few times now.  There is no way to control the colors or patterns that develop, however, I'm loving the randomness of the results. 

I made this copper cuff and decided to see what sort of magic potion I could create for it.

I placed the bracelet in a plastic, airtight container, layering the bottom with paper towels, a small amount of ammonia to moisten the towels and a layer of salt.

Then, I put the bracelet on top of the towels/salt/ammonia and again, layered it with salt and a layer of towels -- moistening it with the ammonia.  Not so much ammonia that the salt would get rinsed away - just enough to moisten it.

I covered the container and let it do it's thing for a short while. 


There isn't a specific time that the magic happens, I just had to keep checking back until the piece looked "done".  After about and hour I checked it to see how things were developing.

I wanted there to be a bit more coloration on the front so I relayered and resalted it and put it back for about another 45 minutes. After that, I felt it looked pretty good so I rinsed it with water and applied a coat of Renaissance Wax to help deter oxidization and seal the patina.

This was the end result.

I love the turquoise!

Here are a few other pieces I've experimented with.

Supposedly the solution works on brass as well.  That'll be my next adventure.

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