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How to Age Copper

It can take five or more years for atmospheric conditions to produce a copper patina, but you can produce an attractive artificial patina in a much shorter time.


  • : Wear rubber gloves, protective clothing, and eye protection when working with commercial cleaning compounds.
  • Step 1: Clean the surface Remove any dirt, oil, or grease from the surface of the copper object. They will interfere with the chemical action of the aging solution.
  • TIP: Use a commercial chemical metal cleaner such as trisodium phosphate to clean the surface.
  • Step 2: Prepare an ammonium chloride solution Add ammonium chloride crystals to water until no more will dissolve, and brush the solution on the thoroughly cleaned copper surface.
  • TIP: Ammonium chloride crystals are sold commercially as sal ammoniac.
  • Step 3: Prepare a patina solution Make a patina solution using one cup each of lemon juice, table salt, household ammonia, and vinegar
  • Step 4: Apply the patina solution to the copper surface Apply the solution to the clean metal surface and allow it to react.
  • FACT: Did you know? Copper is second only to silver in its ability to conduct electricity, and is an excellent conductor of heat.

You Will Need

  • Protective gear
  • A copper object
  • A commercial metal cleaner
  • Ammonium chloride crystals
  • Water
  • A paintbrush
  • 1 c. lemon juice
  • 1 c. table salt
  • 1 c. household ammonia
  • 1 c. vinegar
  • Trisodium phosphate (TSP) cleaner (optional)

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