red copper patina

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Hi all, it's been awhile. Am working with some copper to try to create a decent red patina. Have occasionally done this by accident but not sure how to duplicate it. May experiment with some flame painting, but would like to know if anyone knows of a chemical that would bring out the red in the copper with some heat added? Greens and teals are not so tough, but red escapes me. Although red paint and laquer is an option, I would prefer to do this chemically if at all possible. I appreciate any thoughts! Pictures will follow later. thanks, Cassandra

B.J. Severtson's picture


I get my red on copper by heat treating. I have an electric
burnout oven which limits my scale but most of the time that doesn't bother me. Red comes at 700 -1000 degrees, I soak at temp for ten minutes, then quench in new pickle. 300 degrees is a lot of range but I experiment within that range until I get what I like. Best of luck. Hope this helps. Brad

warren's picture


Couple of different ways. You can buy red patina from Ron Young and done correctly works well.
Or you can use heat. Usually the red will be on the opposite side of the metal that you heat with a torch.
I like to use a little bit of brazing flux mixed with water and kind of paint on the side I want red. Then using the torch on the other side heat up the copper until low red color, then quench in water. You should have a nice red.


visitor's picture

Red Patina

Sometimes this works: dissolve cream of tartar in water (as much as the water will hold) and then bring to a boil. Immerse the copper into the boiling cream of tartar/water, let boil for 5 to 10 minutes. Take the copper out of the water and then heat it with a bushy propane flame until you get a brilliant scarlet red.


Cassandra's picture


Thanks so much BJ, Warren and Mark,
All very helpful suggestions. Will try some of these and see what happens. Will let you know, thanks again! Cassandra

mistyannemarold's picture

red patina

Hi Cassanda,

A clothes iron is a good method. You just put your copper on safe surface (I use a white pine board covered in paper), then the copper, then paper again, then the iron. This yields a stable light brick-red color uniformly over the surface. I've "cooked" my copper from anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. You get pretty much the same color. I've waxed and lacquered pieces and the red remains, so far. If you pickle or sand, the color does go away, so this is really a surface only effect!


visitor's picture

red copper

I am a coppersmith in the UP of Michigan and one of my most popular products is a red maple leaf. I know the frustration of getting a consistant 'Red" patina from copper. After three years of trying everything from dipping in salt water the sticking the piece in the oven I finally discovered the secret. A "Liquid flux Pot" is the secret. If you use an acceteline torch this "pressure pot" hooks up to the gas line and mixes vaporized flux in with the acceteline gas giving you a green flame. When you heat the copper with this you will get the most beautiful deep red that you can imagine. It cost a little to get the equipment but the results are fantastic. Try
Good luck

NELSON's picture

Jeremy I`ve started to

Jeremy I`ve started to tinker with stainless and copper and one of the most inetersting aspects of Cu work is the amazing colores one can get. The trick is finding out the procedure to replicate at wish what sometimes happens by chance. For starters like me,I find your tips unvaluable! One thing that seems difficult is keeping those beautyful irisdecent colors. What kind of product could avoid fading of such colors? THANKS for your tips! Nelson.

visitor's picture

is your red copper sucdessful?

Cassandra; I was so pleased to view your question, and the answers you got, as I too have been trying/wishing to get the same result. Given my limitations, I tried the flux idea and was successful, but I don't believe it's the kind of patina I want. The examples I saw were in the 12/07 "Lapidary Journal". Have you seen it? The article recommends websites: and . In the article, it basically says heat and quenching, in the artesanocopper site it says polishing, then baking. I've got lots of copper,(free!!), and would love to put it to good use, but feel for jewelry it's integrity would be enhanced by a patina that doesn't oxidize. Have you had any luck in the last year? Please let me know one way or the other. Thank you; Cheryl

paisleymermaid's picture

Patina Recipe Site

Here are 2 sites I have in my favs for links to recipes. I haven't tried any of them yet.
1. Sculptnouveau


Here is a site with recipes and supplies.
They have every possible color listed.


paisleymermaid's picture

One more link

Ready made patinas.

Use the quick links dropdown on the left for various types.

workhorse's picture

Chemical Reds

I haven't tried any of the other tricks posted so thanks for opening up a great thread. My experience with copper by itself is limited but I have worked quite a bit with bronze which is over 90% copper. Basically the reds found in bronze statuary is the result of a chemical called Ferric Nitrate which is usually laid over a base color of Liver of Sulphur or Birchwood Casey (modified gun bluing). Your reds have a decent range but are a tad on the earthy side. I have seen a growing popularity for brightly colored sculpture patinas that use pigments(dry) to achieve a wider range of color. One still uses the Ferric Nitrate but you can then (sparingly) apply layers of pigments in between the chemical layers. Or you can dip your patina brush in the chemical and just touch the brush to the dry pigment and apply. The Nitrate family acts as a binder to the metal so you must apply the ferric over the pigment. One last thing, ferric is a tricky partner, and can turn on you fast if the metal is to hot, the mix is to strong etc... There are a lot of great books on Patinas and you should do some reading if you go chemical. I hope this was helpful in some way.

visitor's picture

red copper natural

Hi. Great info ya'll. I was recently in Mexico where I purchased some natural (or so they said)copper pieces. Is there a natural red copper? It is like a rich brick red color.And... does it have the same medicinal properties? 2... Do you think heating, baking.. any of the processes mentioned may erase the medicinal benefits? I am a guitar player and the copper braclets I've started wearing have eliminated any arthritic pain I had after 40 years of playing. Any way... I love the stuff and hope someday I can get into doing what you all do.....Sounds fascinating, and i've got so many ideas... Thank you, Josie

Rich Waugh's picture

Copper naturally oxidizes to

Copper naturally oxidizes to a reddish hue on its way to brown and black, so yes there is a natural red copper. I can't say anything about the medicinal qualities of it or any other copper; it is the same thing, chemically, so you make your own decisions on that. If it works for you, that is all that matters.

visitor's picture

medical properties

Not sure where the medical benefits come from in copper but if it's from the trace amounts of the metal leaching into your skin a patina may stop that from happening if it is coated to protect/maintain the patina. Usually a wax or a clear coat is used to hold the vibrant red. I think traditionally exposed copper is used for medical since it always leaves the green stain on your flesh.

visitor's picture

red patina

Hello Cassandra,if you would like an alternate formula using off the shelf chemicals and the technique involved,I would ask you to go to an old gallery site and look at the copper wall art.If any of this inspires you,contact me and i'll explain red while you take notes or record.My apologies in advance for the amature photography and my abject dislike of typing.My name is Steve and I have been doing metal restoration-preservation-patination and finishing,for over 25 years.Best of luck,Steve

visitor's picture

red patina

Cass,sorry, I guess we lost power.The gallery site is