Saturday, October 11, 2014

Red Patina on Copper

So, I tried my hand at creating a red patina on copper.  I read this blog, found some Borax (thank you Eileen for your help navigating Target!) and went to work.

I have some sheet copper that I obtained a while ago from some very, very nice workmen in Jamaica Plain (MA) - they were working on the roof of an old stone house outside Forest Hill Cemetery - they let me grab as much as I could carry in one load which was SO so nice.  Anyway, I cut a couple of squares out of that copper (not sure what gauge it is - maybe 18 gauge), sanded the copper pieces down and started heating.  I heated the square until it was orange and then quenched it in the borax/water mix.

this is the first square done

It didn't turn red right away, I actually rinsed it off in between heating and quenching.  The above picture is after three heats/quenches/rinses. SO excited.

Of course, the second one (especially since you want them to be the same because they are earrings for goodness sakes) was more difficult.  As a matter of fact, I messed the next square up entirely (and since it had been messed up I played with trying all sorts of fire/quench/no rinse/rinse/salt experiments on it.  Poor thing.

The third square, as you can see from the picture below, was probably not rinsed well enough between quench and reheat - there are bubbles of some sort and the color is not as bright as the first one.
first square on right, see the pitting on the one on the left

All in all though I am excited by the outcome and I will definitely try this again.  I believe once I get the process more refined, I may be able to control the color outcome a little better.
Sterling silver handcrafted earwires

1 comment:

tinthimble said...

Gorgeous. Red patina on copper-what's not to like?