How to Age and Patina Copper and Brass?

When you buy new metal fittings, they can often look too shiny and garish but there is a very simple way to age and Patina Copper / Brass. Priory polishes has developed a cold patination, antiquing fluid ideal for this and it is extremely simple to use. It is used for ageing Copper and ageing Brass whilst leaving a Patina, so is perfect when dealing with metals that you want to achieve that ‘antique look’.

Below is a simple guide on how to create that perfect Brass and Copper Patina.

1. The first thing you need to check, is ensure is there is nothing on the metal. Remove any lacquer or finish using paint stripper or abrasive solvents. Ensure there is no grease, dirt, oil, including fingerprints on the metal as this can affect the final finish. To be 100% sure, once the metal is cleaned, dry using a paper towel and be careful not to handle them with your fingers, it is always best to wear gloves.

Copper untreated

Copper untreatedbrass untreated
2. Once the Brass or Copper is cleaned and prepared for ageing, you will need to use some Metal Colouring, Antiquing Fluid. If you want a very dark shade you can apply directly onto the metal. For best results, you dilute the fluid with ten parts water or if you want a lighter shade, you can dilute with even more water.

metal antiquing fluid

metal antiquing fluid immerse the copper or brass in the fluid
3. Immerse the Brass or Copper fully into the mixed fluid and apply some agitation to prevent high spots caused by tiny air bubbles. Always try to treat all the metal items at the same time in the same mixture to ensure you get a consistent colour change.
4. Now you will start to see the Brass or Copper surface quickly change colour. You can leave in the fluid until your desired colour is achieved.
Once you are happy with the colour, rinse immediately with clean water and pat dry with a cotton cloth or paper towel.

Copper treated

Copper treated Brass treated
5. You will now see the colour has aged, but it will look quite dry, so to add a patina I would usually use a dark wax finish. Simply apply the wax, wait around five minutes and then buff off to a nice sheen. You can also use Oil or Metal Lacquer but the wax will give you more of an aged patina.

buff off wax

buff off wax apply wax

When you buff off the wax, it will produce a smooth, even finish with a mellow sheen. This is ideal for fittings on antique furniture.

Copper with Aged Patina finish

Copper with Aged Patina finish Brass with Aged Patina finish

We offer two variations of antiquing fluid.
Black is the strongest colour and will work on Copper, Brass and some mild Steel. It also works on Zinc to some degree as it leaves a darker grey colour.
Brown is ideal for Copper, Brass and Silver.
The fluids are not recommended on Stainless Steel, Aluminium or Chrome as they do not really work on these metals.
As with all restoration materials, it is always recommended to test a small area first.

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