Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Patina Recipes

Hello all,

Hope that everyone is having a wonderful week.

First things first.  The uber-talented Tracy of pipnmolly now has a blog!   Tracy's artwork is incredible and now we all can enjoy getting to know the amazing lady behind the treasures.  Not to mention you can see swimming elephants when you pay her a visit!   Great stuff!

Just a few pictures for you to wade through before we get to the reason you're here.  Non-lung-eating-patina-recipes as promised!  Still hoping that one of you may have the know how to explain how to put the recipes on the sidebar with a fancy little button that will open up the page whenever you want to acess them without sorting through an entire old post.
I know how to get html code for photos, is it the same for text?  PLEASE ANYONE?   How about those of you who know blogger coming and going.  C'mon, do a good deed- help out the tech challenged.  Thanks so much in advance.  See, that's positive thinking in action.

This is what I've listed in my etsy shop since my last post.

Dancing by Moonlight beneath the Sparkling Stars Duex- sold

Sunset Turkoman Goes Modern Duex- sold

Romantic Moon Garden's Evening Embrace

I've long dreamed of having a moon garden.  A quiet place to relax and drink in the beauty of the white blossoms that open at twilight filling the night air with their sweet aroma.  In the darkness, also trying to make out the shadows of those blooms that are at their brightest during daylight hours and that fade seamlessly into the night.  That was the inspiration for these earrings.

Raw silk texture brass hole in one bracelet with a champagne colored stick pearl toggle closure.

Rustic oxidized crystal twisted hoop earrings

A few other things got listed but you've seen them before, so I'll spare you.

A few months ago Kim of Flotsam Tide fame and I were discussing alternatives to the usual chemical varieties of patinas.   These are most of the recipes I share with my students in class.  I sent them to her and she suggested that I put them on my blog.   So finally, here they are!  There are many many others, but these are the basics.   Here are my sample photos of pieces that have been colored with common oxidizing agents and also those I've done with the alternate recipes.  This is by no means an exhaustive list, just what I like to use.

Liver of Sulphur on copper sheet

Liver of Sulphur on copper wire

Liver of Sulphur on textured copper and patterned brass (with enameled headpins)

Repetition for emphasis....this is brass that has been torched.  If you're fast with the torch you get colors but if you want it really dark, just let it get to the glowing orange stage.  This is my fav blackening process.  Quick, clean and doesn't irritate my lungs with nasty chemicals.  Course the drawback is that it only works on components not on a finished piece.  Well, I guess you could torch a finished piece if you were so inclined but..........

sealed with a spray metal sealant

Novacan black.  I don't know why I did that thing with the papers.  (Unless it's cuz I was afraid I would be brain dead and not be able to recognize the patina used in the less than fantastic photograghs.)  I do know I'm not going to reshoot all of these photos just cuz it looks ridiculous.  Let's all pretend it's not there.  That's what I'm doing.

Woohoo, you get this photo twice in one post.
The pink ball-head pins that make up the center of the white blossoms, are achieved by making, then immediately quenching copper ball-headpins in hot water.

Some more Jax Pewter Black. 
Which as you can see, works on a variety of metals equally well.

Gilders paste which comes in numerous colors. 
On the window and door of the "We're Not in Kansas Anymore" necklace, I've layered white Gilders paste over the vibrant red and blue colors to soften and age them.

Acrylic paint patina on raw and heat patinated brass.

Alcohol inks on raw brass

Prismacolor colored pencils on copper

bigger but not clearer.  This technique works well on textured metals.

Prismacolor pencils on reticulated copper.


Enamel on copper, pennies and brass.  Enamels are not thought to adhere well to brass, but I haven't had any issues with this brass filigree that I torch fired enamels onto.  All of these pieces were torch fired.  From the delicate copper wire headpins to the thick copper hardware fitting.

Foldformed copper with torch fired enamels

Jax Green on heat patinated copper and brass.

Jax Green on foldformed, heat patinated copper and on brass leaf stampings soldered onto brass.

Flame "painting"- heat patina on copper. Done with a torch.

Fume patina

Sawdust patina

Salt water soak and an oven.

Steel embedded in concrete that has been rusted with repeated salt water applications.

Potato chip patina


That's a pretty good sampling of what you can do to color metal easily.

Well, to be accurate, that's all the pictures. Now come the words you all love so much.

Here's the recipes and safety suggestions.  Nothing fancy and in no particular order.

Please observe safety precautions when working with chemicals.  Here's a very important rule to remember when working with any type of chemicals.....

Do what you oughta, add acid to water.

Never add water to chemicals.  It can bubble or foam up or even do bigger scarier things. 

Atmosphere affects the reaction and results of applied patinas.  It is hard to duplicate results. 

I get the most beautiful irridescent flame painted effects on copper in the autumn when the air is cool and dry.

You must remove lacquer or other protective finishes from the metal prior to applying patinas.

Wear a respirator if you are spraying any chemicals or natural patinas.  If working indoors, which is not recommended, ventilation is very important.


~Basic recipe:
2 cups of white vinegar
1 1/2 cups non sudsy ammonia
1/2 cup kosher or sea salt (more salt=more green.  Less salt=less green)
Mix until salt is completely dissolved.  Can spray or dip metal into the solution.

~Fume patina:
Dip an item in vinegar, sprinkle w/ salt then put it into a container w/ ammonia.  Close and seal the lid.
 I use a plastic deviled egg container.  I put ammonia in the spaces for the eggs then lay the metal pieces on a shelf that I made from thick screen or mesh.  You want the metal to be suspended above the ammonia so that the fumes create the patina, not direct contact.  You can also have a small open container of ammonia sitting inside the larger container that holds the metal pieces.
When happy with the results, (which can take up to 24 hours) rinse the metal and dry. 

~Sawdust patina:
Bury metal item in sawdust or pet bedding that has been dampened or saturated w/ vinegar.  Sprinkle w/ salt.  Cover.  Wait an hour or so and check.  You can also use ammonia in the mix.
Fine sawdust=fine mottling.  For more color add lots of salt.
You can let the pieces dry in the sun preferably before rinsing to let the patina adhere better.
Try coffee grounds or shredded paper instead of sawdust.

~Potato chip patina:
Crush salt and vinegar potato chips into a container.  Bury metal pieces in the chips then spray with water.  Let sit for up to 24 hours.  Rinse and dry.

~Wiping bleach onto copper will remove the shine and dull and age the finish.

~Baking salt water soaked brass in an oven will age it.  The temperature of the oven and length of time you leave it in the oven, will depend on how dark you want the metal to be.   You may have to repeat the process a few times to achieve the desired results.   300 degrees is a good temp to begin with.  Lower or increase as needed.  Experiment!

~You can also get lovely, reddish heat patinas from copper heated in a 300 degree oven.  (no oil involved)

~I like to torch my copper and brass to achieve a dark base color before I apply other patinas.

~When flame painting or heat patinating, the most dramatic colors often develop on the opposite side of the metal that you heat with the torch.  But not always.  These results are extremely dependant upon atmospheric conditions.

~Colored pencil patinas:
I like to use this technique on textured metal.  I also like to preheat it to darken the metal a bit, let it cool, then apply the oily colored pencils.  Oil pastels also work well for this technique.  Apply the colors, heat from the backside, apply more colors.  Repeat, building layers of colors.  An electric mug warmer may work to keep your metal warm enough to melt and blend the colors nicely.

~Liver-of-Sulphur patina:
Add a few drops of ammonia for an irridescent effect.

~Dusty blue-green patina:
Red wine vinegar and Miracle Grow plant food.  Start with a tablespoon of vinegar and stir in as much Miracle Grow as the solution will hold (a teaspoon or more).
The Miracle Grow supplies the ammonia which provides the blue color.
This can also be done with salt instead of Miracle Grow for a nice green patina.
Miracle Grow can be mixed w/ water in stead of red wine vinegar for a bluer patina.

~Oil metal then torch it, outside of course.  It will smoke, create a stinky fume and possibly flame up.

~You can paint on or apply resists to the metal before applying the patinating solutions for specific designs.

~The following are things you can do to rust steel or alter metal.  DO NOT USE OR MIX THEM TOGETHER!  Apply them seperately to different pieces of metal or completely clean the metal between applications of different solutions.  *Use all safety precautions when using chemicals, eye protection, gloves (nitrile), a respirator, etc.
 Degrease your metals first, then apply:

"Off" mosquito spray
Swimming pool acid
Lemon juice
*Pool acid- hydrochloric acid, used weak
*Muriatic acid- (pool acid) will clean then rust steel.  Apply with a cloth.  If you are diluting it, add  acid to water.
Torch metal, cool,  then soak it in toilet bowl cleaner
"The Works" cleaner, sprayed on metal
Brush mustard on metal.  Let it sit a few days, then rub oil onto it or dip it in oil.  Will have a nice reddish brown color.

Never heat metal that has had chemicals applied to it. This can produce fatal fumes.
There are so many fun things to do to apply color to metal.  I would love to see photos if any of you use these suggestions.

Blue Springs, Florida
A little something to clear our heads from all of that serious info.  If that sparkling clear spring water doesn't do it, then.......we've got a bad case of fried brain syndrome.  Only ice-cream cures it btw.

Hey did you all notice, not a single flower photo in this whole post?  Can you believe that the bulbs are almost played out in the middle of April?!  That's a shocker.  Of course having a freeze last night didn't help.

Remember those cool nails that Petra sent me?  I made them into earrings.  Love them!  Wanna see?

These aren't for sale.  Keeping these babies for myself.   In fact I wore them all day yesterday and absolutely love them.

You might be wondering about the results of my roller printing with those cool low relief patterns from rolling mill resource that I shared with you last time.  Didn't have time to work with them yet.  Can you imagine?  Hoping to have some nice patterned metal to show you next time.

Hope you're all having a great week!

Looks like he got a whiff of some of those ammonia fumes.  Poor thing.
You guys have to admit, he's kind of cute.

Hasta La Vista


  1. wow.. awesome pantinas & recipes :)gonna have to try some of of those :D

    As for the menu bar...I have blogger and I have the little bar that I can click and go right to the page.. but I didn't do any html to get it. It's one of the things included the template or layout...

    1. Hey Skye,

      thanks for your helpful info.
      I'll reread it later when hopefully my tired brain re-engages and it will make more sense to me. :)
      speaking of your blogger, where's your little "join this blog button" on your blog? hiding from me, I think!

    2. you mean the 'follow'? top of the page :) there's an rss and email thingy on the left..I think.. but there should be a bar along the top with the follow option... least there is for me lol

  2. Wowwow. Such a helpful post, great info, great pictures--you are amazing, lady.

  3. Thanks for the mention. I want a seat in your peaceful moon garden.
    So much interesting useful info here! The colored pencil is beautiful...going to use that for sure. You come up with these great ideas. The potato chip patina cracks me up. Miracle grow, mustard and mosquito spray! I can see I'm not using my household items to their full potential.
    Love the Petra nail earrings too.

  4. Thanks for all the info and sharing of all your secrets...

    I can’t help you with the sidebar question...wouldn’t it just be a text gadget? I don’t know how to do buttons.
    I suppose if anyone wanted these for future reference they should just bookmark the page, that’s what I’m going to do.

  5. ok, if what you want is a button then go to add gadget and pick 'picture'. you can make any picture clickabe. now, if you want all this stuff but without the intro stuff, you need to write it all out as if it were a post- but then back date it. that way, it'll be in your archives without ever having appeared as a post. you do that by clicking 'post options' under the place where you write the body of your post. there'll be two options- automatic or scheduled. click scheduled and write some date in the past. once you publish it, get the url and make your 'button" which will be a picture you designed, or can just be text of course, link to that url. phew.
    and all this stuff is the tits! although you can add water to novacan and jax cuz they're both water-based. you sure do a lot of torching! I think my fave is the torched brass. tho i do wanna try alcohol inks too now. on the other hand my plain ol' acrylics over oxidized metal have worked fine too. now im thinking about enamels!...

  6. Thank you so much for taking the time to do these recipes, I really want to play with torched enamels, great to know I don't need to go to the expense of an oven. I've got loads of miracle grow so I will be trying that one too. I've used the liquid concentrate of liver of sulphur and I use just a couple of drops in very warm water to blacken copper and brass almost instantly, with very little smell.

  7. Thank you for sharing your patina recipes with us! I can't wait to try some of them. Your pieces are just gorgeous!

    As for the sidebar, I feel like I'm still learning my way around blogging so I'm no help at all. You might try clicking on the post title you want to add to the sidebar and copy the url. Open the design tab on your dashboard (the new dashboard sucks) and click on layout. Click on add a gadget, scroll down and click on picture, paste the url into the 'link' section. Then choose a photo you want to appear, save, and you're done. Crossing my fingers that this works....

  8. What the...mutha...swearing...feckin' heck! Those are AMAZING. CAPS LOCKIN' AMAZING. Dammit now you've got me all worked up over torch-fired enamel. I mean I always wanted to try it cause I'm an Aries and we're greedy about fire, but ohhhhh the colours. And I'm not even looking for colours in my work, but the colours! I want them. Especially those big chunky 'painted' copper pieces. Pants have been peed, I hope you know you're responsible for this. Hey can I use pee to patina? I bet there's some kind of health-n-safety there. Not just in stuffing metal scrap down your pants.

    Fanci helped with tech question. Good Fanci. I used to know that stuff- now I look at it and I'm all 'derpderp?'

  9. Thanks for your generosity in these recipes. I was trying to figure out how to get my hazmat oxidizers back to Alaska when I make the move. I may have someone drive them back for me since I can't have them on the plane but this is nice to have alternatives.
    I was sad to see that the Turkomans were sold. I do think I have to have some anvil artifacts hanging from my ears... I'll wait till I get north.
    xoxo Kim

  10. WOW, WOW, WOW, I keep telling you this, but I love your stuff. And just let me say it is real nice to be able to print out a nice readable version of your "recipes" as the ones I scribbled in my notebook are not the best. And, now I have pictures to go with it. I am a happy camper.

    Haha, I found some cool "nails" at our favorite store the other night!

    Again, you do such very cool work, and as a side note, from all the pictures you have got some stash going on there lady!!

    three cups and counting,

  11. You've got me so excited about Prisma colored pencils and torch-fired enamels that I can't think straight... I think I must have about 150 Prisma pencils in a drawer somewhere, and I also already have Miracle Grow, an old jar of mustard that's just sitting in the fridge. I have some ancient, unused mosquito spray too. It's a good thing I didn't have any plans for today, because if I had, this beautiful post would have de-railed them. Thank you for sharing these with us, Janet, and thank you for sharing the photos of your beautiful new pieces too. You are truly amazing.

    I'm going to dig all those things out of the cupboards and start playing! Thanks again.

  12. Thank you, thank you for putting this post together, it is wonderful to see all of these examples, you are the queen of patina I am convinced. I love the mysterious sounding fume patina, and what great crusty results. Your torch fired copper is amazing.. I am such a fan. Thanks again for sharing... I am bookmarking this post for the future. xo!

  13. How nice of you to share your recipes. I've used LOS & have some Jax patinas, but I really want to try the prisma pencils.

    As always, your creations ROCK! :)

  14. Well this one I need to come back to for a proper good look and read, but for now - W-OW!!!!! Janet, this is SO generous of you!! What a sweetheart you truly are! All these amazing tips, and such gorgeous results - it makes me want to ditch my clay instantly and buy me some metal!!! Yes indeed, you ARE the Queen of Patina!
    Hey, couldn't you just have another page for this post, or just copy and paste all the tips into a separate page. Then you could add more to it if you wanted to (like my members corner type of thing)?? What an amazing place that would be to visit!!!
    Well now, how glad am I that I sent you just the nails on their own? I knew you'd be able to do something much more wonderful with them than I could have - and you did! I'm so glad you're enjoying them.
    Aaaah - what a fabulous post again. This is such a delightful place to visit!

  15. Oh my goodness, I've just enjoyed a proper read and goggle at all these beautiful examples - each one as stunning as the next! Blimey crikey, your college students must absolutely LOVE coming to your class!!! Oh YUM, those alcoholic inks - What fantastic, rich colours - and the enamelling, and the ..... no, I love all of them! What must it be like having that head on your shoulders?!!
    I don't feel brain fried at all - just a bit woozy from having my nose stuck up to the monitor for a proper good look!!
    What a wonderful way to spend a Friday evening!!

  16. The first time I read/looked at this post, it was on my iPhone...may I just say that seeing them on my large monitor blows me away! Thank you, generous of you to share. I'm boiling eggs as I type. :)

  17. Hey ladies,

    THANK YOU ALL for your lovely comments and helpful suggestions. Greatly appreciated!
    I have a crazy busy week so am giving you all a collective hello and thank you this time!
    I really really appreciate the how to's on the blog questions. You guys are great! :D

    And welcome Sparrow! How nice of you to stop by my little old blog. Ok, my little new blog.

  18. Janet, thanks for sharing your secrets wise and talented one! Love the torched and enameled stuff. Plus the earrings you made from Petra's stash are amazing.

  19. Janet,

    As always your jewelry is GORGEOUS. Thank you so much for sharing your secrets with us.....your ever faithful following. I can't wait to start playing with patina. I've been gathering and hoarding ever since Fanci's tute. Still looking for some "science time" soon.

    You seriously need to think about coming back to Florida.......remember how much you love's only 20 minutes away from me. I would be taking all of your classes.

    Bond girl

  20. WOW- I've been sent here by Lela at Gallery 13 and I am CRAZY about your work.
    New folllow!

  21. Really great info for someone like me who wants to experiment with patinas but does not want to spend a ton of cash on something I may not like. Thank you soooo much!

  22. Welcome Cathie and Marla! Thanks so much for stopping by and for your lovely comments. Really appreciate it. :)

  23. Gorgeous patinas and a great introduction to various patinas and faux patinas! I just stumbled over this blog looking for new patina inspiration and now I'm curious to check out the rest of your blog.

  24. Carolyn in ClearwaterOctober 9, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    How long do you have to heat copper to get it to reticulate? I've done it on aluminum, but never copper. I only have one of those torches that you buy a canister of gas at Home Depot or Lowes.


    Carolyn in Clearwater

  25. I have just found you and what a fantastic article on Patina's. I hope to do something like this starting in 2013. Your Pictures are great and for me they inspire! I sell on Etsy also and so going to check out your shop. I am joining your blog today. I found you through Pretty things blog/Bead Soup blog.
    Have a great day,Doris

  26. Love your works!
    Thank you for all of the creative recipes I can't wait to try some!
    Warmly, Cheldena

  27. Vеry good artіcle. I ωill be deаling wіth many οf these issues aѕ well.

    Here is my web page - quick loans for bad credit

  28. Hello!
    Love how you have put together a variety of ways to patina!
    It took me a long time to find good ideas when I first started to oxidize.
    I wish I would have had this information!
    Love your creations!
    Thank you!

  29. Just now found this via Pinterest. Thank you for laying out all the techniques and I can't wait to get started on some of these!

    Peace, Sara


I love to hear what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.