Monday, September 6, 2010


I am loving this new color challenge. It is so right up my color alley! These really are favorite colors of mine. The blue-green patina on copper is something I really love. It has taken me several tries to figure out how to achieve it, but I finally have.

A number of years ago I built this bird feeder and covered the roof with copper sheeting in the hopes that it would develop a lovely green patina. It stands on a copper pipe, high enough that cats can't get to the birds.  I was under the impression that if I put it out in the weather the patina would just happen over time. It didn't. The copper turned dark and just didn't look like much. When we moved it to our new house, I got interested once again in trying to develop the green patina and read that salt water would do the trick. I filled a spray bottle with salt water and doused it good. Nothing. Then someone told me to try a vinegar solution. I refilled my spray bottle with vinegar and water and sprayed it. It began to patinate (did you know that was a word? It is.) almost immediately. Unfortunately the little birds like to sit on the finial and poop onto the copper roof, which has an effect on the patina, but actually I am quite happy with its aged appearance at this point.

I then turned my spray bottle onto this copper salmon. I love how he patinated.

The salmon, by the way, is my design and my brother cut him from copper using a water knife that he used in his business. Unfortunately for me (good for my brother) he sold his business along with the water knife. It was a pretty fun tool that cut metal, guided by computer. I could send him my Illustrator drawings and the machine would cut it perfectly, any size I wanted. We had a small garden art business for a couple of years, selling these.

I think I developed my taste for the patina many years ago when we purchased this bronze duck, which was already patinaed. The color is a little different, which makes me think bronze patinates a little differently than pure copper.

Doesn't he look great with the brick? Lots of inspiration for our new challenge around my house.


Kristin L said...

You've definitely got inspiration here! I love the richness of the color on the salmon.