Salt, vinegar and ammonia fumes

That’s what I used to patina some of my copper pieces recently.  I dipped the metal in vinegar and placed it on a little rack inside a plastic container. I then sprinkled the vinegar-damp pieces with large-crystal sea salt. A shallow layer of ammonia covers the bottom of the container. The rack allows the pieces to sit above the ammonia to be exposed to the fumes.

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The color started to show up within the first hour. I let the pieces sit for 24 hours.

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I took them out, rinsed off the salt and let them dry.  I sprayed the pieces with lacquer, rubbed them with preservation wax and then started to use them in some new earring designs.

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In its final stage the patina ended up more green than blue.

I love seeing my own patina’d pieces mixed with other metals, but it’s one of those techniques I often put off. It’s as though I don’t want to have to go through the extra waiting time to develop the patina, then seal it, then wax it. My procrastination only serves to delay my  gratification further. Oy! I really am my own worst enemy.

11 Comments

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11 responses to “Salt, vinegar and ammonia fumes

  1. Henry Isaacs

    WAY COOL! PATINA IS ME! h

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    • I’ll keep playing with patina just to get your comments!

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    • Barb – you do an awesome job. Last summer I was into this process in a big way but I placed my pieces on glass marbles in a container and they NEVER looked as neat as yours. Did you cut a piece of a lobster trap for the screen they are sitting on? You’ve got me all inspired to do this again. Thanks. You rock. I mean – you patina.

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      • Trish, you’re right. It’s wire from Bruce’s shop. The size of the holes is smaller than lobster trap wire. It was something he had lying around. I think it’s probably used for shrimp traps. Message me you address on FB and Bruce will send you a piece.
        Is your studio set up?
        Patinatize the world! Your work always amazes me.

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  2. Oh, I really like your “in-process photos”. I have onky done this once, and yes it is time consuming..but your color results here are gorgeous! Your peek-a-boo earring designs are fabulous, too!

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  3. Thank you for the great idea. I’ve been toying with crossing over into the world of metal but am a little reluctant to invest. But this is something that I already have on hand. *ideas swirling* This is great! Too bad they didn’t stay blue, though. That would have been even more cool.

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    • Hi Ginger. I think they might have stayed blue if I hadn’t rinsed them. It’s definitely worth experimenting with and without salt. I don’t know if its the combo of vinegar and ammonia that turns them more blue than green.

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  4. Way better than eating potato chips and smelling cat pee, which is what came to mind when I read your title. These are gorgeous Barb! I love the layers and movement of these pieces.

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  5. Barb, they look great! I tried this but did not let them sit long enough! I was frustrated…. thanks for showing that we have to let them sit waaaay longer than I thought!!!

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