Red patina


Can anyone tell me how to get a bright red patina on copper. Copperjoe mentioned he heat treated the copper for his rose, but I haven't been able to get that to work. When I heat treat the copper turns red but is very dark and mottled.

Cynthia Eid's picture

red patina

Here is what I have been told: Heat to red hot, and immediately quench in boiling water.
Cynthia Eid

dan t's picture

Thanks Cindy. I've tried

Thanks Cindy. I've tried that and still didn't get the vibrant red color. Maybe I'm not heating it enough.

warren's picture

Where's the torch

There are a few things to consider when trying to get the red patina from heat. First off if you are heating on one side the red will show up on the other side. Second is that if you get oxygen to the surface it will turn a different red.

Here is a couple of things to try if you want to use the heat method. I prefer though to just use some red patina instead and much easier and controllable (search forums here).

Get some regular brazing flux. Mix it in some water, how much depends, but in a small peanut butter jar about three big tablespoons. Wet the copper with the flux mixture. Turn the copper to orange heat (remember to heat the other side) then just quench in water.

If it is a flat piece you want to turn red, sprinkle some of the flux on your firebricks. Support the copper so not resting on the bricks. Heat up to orange red and then quench.
With heat patinas it is a trial and see what happens. O/A torch over propane or acetylene air all give various colors of red. Remember though the copper has now been annealed and very soft.

www Metalrecipes -- heat and beat to the desired shape, repeat as necessary.

lin's picture

red copper

Warren is right, you can get a bright red on copper by using flux. I haven't done it, but have seen it demonstrated. Lin

Jamie Santellano's picture

I have used Ron Young's

I have used Ron Young's "Sculpt Nouveau" patinas. I went to a seminar to see how the patinas worked, and loved them. Ron studied in Italy under a Master, and has worked in with patinas for quite some time. He has formulated his own product. I decided to try them and found the product to work really well.

There is a red patina that you can will cover your copper, but you can burnish to reveal it in some areas. Most of his products work this way. There are several types of finishes, sealers, and waxes etc.

Here is the link:


Jamie Santellano

P.S. Below are some examples of the red patina I used from Sculpt Nouveau
 Copper flames hammered with a red patina finish.Copper Flame Candle Holder: Copper flames hammered with a red patina finish.
 A commissioned piece for a friend of mine.  I entered it in the Santa Clarita's Artists' Association Art Classic in 2005, and won second place silver medal for the People's Choice awards.Hammered Steel Mask: A commissioned piece for a friend of mine. I entered it in the Santa Clarita's Artists' Association Art Classic in 2005, and won second place silver medal for the People's Choice awards.

dan t's picture

hey everyone Thanks for all

hey everyone

Thanks for all the info; lots of new stuff to learn. I'm new to metal sculpture and hope to become proficient enough to start combining it in with my wood and stone sculptures. Maybe someday I'll be brave enough to post some pictures, but in the mean time I'm sure to have lots of questions.

copperjoe's picture

red patina

Hi Dan T,

I don't know if I went into details when I told you how to make your copper red so here they are.

The FIRST thing that you have to do is to heat the copper just BEFORE it turns orange then let it cool some then dip it into the borax and water solution. Next you heat the piece back up pointing the flame at the same side (I use MAPP gas)and heat until bright orange then quickly dip into solution. The first step is very critical, it took me a long time before I ever figured that part out but it is the key step. (Also,don't know why but, start your heat at the bottom of the piece and work it up until you get the whole piece Bright Orange then quickly quinch)
You then need to rinse in water to remove the white borax residue then dry, I use an air compressor to blow my piece off. Put on your favorite finish and you should have a bright red piece on one side and pink on the other.
Hope this helps!


Can't never could do Nothing!

visitor's picture

Copper Heat Patinas

Hello copperjoe , I'm a bit late into this discussion , but let me just say that the possibilities of heat patinas are vast! I've invented a whole new medium of "fire painting" around it . Red patinas are a simple matter of a propane torch in open air . See this picture for an example Please let me know what you think , I could really use your expert advice . Thank you , Colin Alexander

dan t's picture

Jamie – you do beautiful

Jamie – you do beautiful work. Gives me something to aspire to.

Copperjoe – the borax worked very well. I’ve been having a blast trying trying different things and seeing what colors I end up with. I need to start keeping notes.

Colin - I tried the propane torch, but couldn't get the right color of red, it was just sort of dull, and sometimes I ended up with only black.

copperjoe's picture

Glad to hear it worked for

Glad to hear it worked for you. Can't wait to see some photos!

The propane torch works fine for what Colin does, but it would not work for what you were wanting or at least not as well.


Can't never could do Nothing!

copperjoe's picture


Wow!! You do excellent work!! I am very impressed to say the least. So you do all of that detailed work with just a propane torch? How often do you have to stop? Because I know that the metal will heat up and start turning colors that you do not want it too. I would love to learn your technique, not to copy you because I can't draw, but because I have been tinkering with flame painting on my lilly flowers that I make for my fountains. I flame paint using a jewelers torch but am having a hard time keeping my colors because I always seem to go beyond the temp. that I need. Any of your Expertise help would be greatly appreciated. Another thing I would like to ask is, Do you clearcoat any of your finished pieces? I know the color changes especially the purples and blues when you coat them so I was just wondering how you keep the colors and piece from tarnishing over the years.

I really love your work, keep it up!!


Can't never could do Nothing!

Moti Lalwani's picture

When I saw your copper

When I saw your copper roses, I got Curiosity and I asked but could not get the answer because Practically I was Un able to do the process.
Thank you Daniel Thoman, I have understood whole of the process, though I dont have any pc to work upon now at the time. I will experiment by my self soon.
Thank you every body for such a nice information sharing.
Moti Lalwani

visitor's picture


I may be hard to believe . . .

But not everyone has a facebook account to log into to see their images.

mr ed's picture

Copper heat patinas

You seem knowledgeable about this subject so please tell me how to get other colors such as blue? I can get some blue but when i apply a clear coat I lose it.

In God We Trust

visitor's picture


I just want to thank you for the post. Your Copper Flame Candle Holder is brilliant. I've been looking for red, green and white patinas. So I will give Sculpt Nouveau a try.


peggy's picture

Red Patina

Hi dan t,

You might want to try quenching in mineral oil instead of water. I've only used this process a few times & it worked well.


Stephen Fitz-Gerald's picture

quenching in mineral oil.

Stephen Fitz-Gerald
Dear Peggy,
What exactly do you mean by mineral oil.
Like for your skin? Baby oil?

visitor's picture

surface finish

I flame color stainless and find that the smoother the surface the better control I have over the colors.
A matte surface tends to turns brown.

Does that matter for copper?

mikecopper's picture

Does anyone know how to

Does anyone know how to replicate the below copper patina?  They call it red wine: