Oh no! What's happening to my copper? Don't freak out! Copper goes through a natural reaction to elements and climate. This chemical reaction is called patina. Don't worry we will give you the inside scoop and more to crack the copper code.
What is this patina nonsense?
Science. Patina is a word used to describe the natural development that happens over time to most metal. We are going to focus on copper patina and what it is. Copper patina is this chemical process where a brown to a blue-green coating of corrosion develops on the surface of your copper. In other words, it's an aging progression where copper exposed to water and climate change causes the copper to discolor.
This isn't necessarily a bad thing! Copper patina can be marvelous and refined. It can also act as a protective layer to your copper. Copper is a rather durable metal and withstand a lot of wear and tear. Allowing the natural progression of patina just adds more strength to the copper. You don't have to worry about the corrosion weakening your copper. Copper can retain its function for up to 90 years or more!
Depending on the purity of the copper also varies on the timeframe the patina will take effect. If you have pure copper the process accelerates and the patina works its magic much faster. A purer copper is already a little discolored due to the fact that it is naturally made that way. Most copper is buffed out to give that shiny orangish color. Let's talk about timeframes!
There are many variables to when and how your copper will patina. Copper exposed to a more dry climate will take a different amount of time than a wet climate. If you live in an area near saltwater your copper will patina much faster as salt is also corrosive. The type of climate and timeline will also decide the color of the patina. We can't 100% tell you what and when your copper will change. Although, I can provide you with some general copper patina facts.
Climate is a big indicator of your copper's patina process. Here are some general climates and the timeframe for the patina process. Keep in mind this is for the process to naturally occur and can vary on other factors.
⦁ Saltwater: 7-9 years
⦁ Industrial: 5-8 years
⦁ Urban: 10-14 years
⦁ Clean (farmland): Up to 30 years
Now let's talk color! Again, this can vary depending on other contributing factors. The coloring of patina also can be affected by the climate, weather, and what you do or don't do to your copper. This is the all-natural way.
⦁ Brown(Different Shades): 4 months-4 years
⦁ Green (Dark to light shades):5 years - 10 years
⦁ Blue-Green: 15 years
⦁ Bright Green: 25-30 years
Ward Off The Patina
The copper patina process isn't for everyone. We get that some of you would prefer to keep that shiny orangish finish to your copper. It is still amazing! Therefore, we want to give you some tips on how to keep your copper from progressing through the patina process.
I. Grease: You can use vaseline or oil to protect your copper from the patina process. All you will need to do is rub a thin layer all over your copper on a weekly basis.
II. Sealer: Seal your copper with a paint sealer or a sealant of any kind in order to keep the moisture out. This will prevent the water from reacting with your copper and avoid the patina process.
III. Cleaning: Cleaning your copper on a regular basis can prevent the patina process. This will ensure that the patina process will not take effect. Here, have a cleaning your copper diagram for how to clean your copper naturally!
As pictured, we provided you with how to clean your copper with natural everyday items. You also have the option to clean your copper with metal cleaners. Metal cleaners clean and prevent the patina process using chemicals. We offer a copper cleaning kit specifically for your copper cleaning as well as a polish cleaner. Weigh all your options and figure out what works best for you!
To patina or not to patina, that is the question
There is a lot to consider when you are now trying to decide if you want to patina or not. Copper is an exquisite metal all on its own so do you really want to let that go? We can't tell you yes or no. But we can most definitely give you an argument for both sides.
Let us start with the opposing side. Those who are against the copper patina find the coloration unappealing, difficult to control, and limited. The copper patina coloration process can take years to achieve if allowed to do so naturally. Even waiting all that time, there may be a color that you desire but cannot achieve and now you find your copper unappealing. There is also the aspect that it is difficult to control as there are tons of variables that are to be considered through the patina process. Lastly, you are limited to the colors through the natural process.
For those who are in favor of the patina process, most feel that it is beautiful, less work, and versatile. Copper is an awesome metal but you can make it more awesome by giving the copper the old-world look. Naturally allowing copper to change all on its own is much less work than trying to avoid the process. The natural process just allows you to leave the copper to the elements and science to make its changes. Lastly, leaving your copper to naturally patina gives you the option to stop the process once you have reached your desired coloring.
In conclusion, your copper, your choice. We can't tell you what to do but we hope to help your decision making going forward. Your copper will look phenomenal no matter what you decide so always keep that in mind!
Beep Beep, What's the speed limit?
The copper patina process can take for-ev-er if done naturally. Nobody wants to wait years upon years to get their desired color. Luckily, we have some great ways to speed up the process of your copper!
There are some easy ways to patina your copper that take anywhere from 24 hours to 3-4 days. Using different chemicals to force your copper to patina faster is the way to go if you don't want to wait anymore. I will list a few for you that work really well!
I. Liver of Sulfur
III. Sea Salt and Ammonia
IV. Propane Torch/Flame
The outcome will vary depending on the method you use with these items as well as temperature and the amount of time you let the chemical stew. Remember once you have achieved your desired patina, spray your copper with a sealant to keep the patina from progressing.
Take A Bow
Viola! You have made it through! You now are loaded with everything patina. Take your copper knowledge and make copper your own style or keep your copper orange and shiny! Copper is awesome sauce and we love that you took the time to be facted with us! Feel free to share your copper with us below or on our social media. We would love to see it!
Is copper patina bad?
- Not at all! The copper patina process is 100% natural. The patina process is a chemical reaction to oxygen in the air mixing with the elements causing the copper to turn a blue-green or brown color. This process is also known as a copper aging process.
How long does it take copper to patina?
- The time it takes for copper to patina varies depending on the climate, elements, and exposure. Prolonged exposure to moisture or living in a saltwater climate can cause the copper to patina quicker. A dry climate without patina acceleration can take up to 20 years naturally.
How do you make copper patina?
- I have a couple of things you can use to make your copper patina. For blue, take one part plant fertilizer and three parts water and either spray or wipe the copper. For green, one part plant fertilizer and three parts red-wine vinegar, the green will form in 30 minutes and become permanent in 24 hours.
How do you oxidize copper quickly?
- You can use white vinegar and salt, bury the copper in sawdust or crushed potato chips then soak in white vinegar. Both will oxidize your copper quickly.