October 2, 2007

Patina Copper with Egg

I do a lot of work in copper and I go back and forth between liking it most in its natural shiny state and adding a patina to it so it looks darker and aged. There are examples in the photo to the right of the copper both ways.

A lot of artists use liver of sulphur to add patina, but I don't have a source close by and I really didn't want the odor and fumes in my house. I don't have a separate shop with a ventilation system so I looked into alternative methods. After much research and discussion on various forums I decided to give the egg method a try.

Hard boil and egg and while it is still warm, cut it in a couple of pieces and put it in an airtight container with your item. I have read people stating to not let the egg touch the item, but my egg and item always get jumbled together and I never found it to be a problem. In fact, when I was using the egg method on this bracelet
I squished the egg and mashed it into the bracelet. This bracelet has a very tight weave and just leaving it sitting with the egg wasn't working very well. I use a ziploc bag to do this so I can keep moving and turning the item to get good coverage.

Having never used liver of sulphur, I can't be sure, but I believe that this method takes quite a bit longer. In fact, most of my pieces get left in the egg overnight.

All the copper in my Etsy shop, so far, has been left shiny. I do indicate in the descriptions that it will darken on its own over time, but maybe it would sell better if I added the patina. What do you think? Any opinions on copper bright verus darkened?

8 comments:

tootsiegrace said...

I don't know much about jewelery or jewelery making, but I can tell you that I just LOVE copper! I also prefer the patina to the bright copper. I had no idea you could get a patina with an egg! What an interesting blog :)

Mary Ann said...

Thanks for offering your opinion about the patina. Maybe I'll take the copper things I have and add patina one by one and see if they sell any better.

Sewlutions' World said...

I like the patina you get from the egg and what a wonderful safe way to do it too. I love copper shiny or with a patina. The aged look makes it look like a found treasure - beautiful!

b.inspired boutique said...

I love copper with a patina. I only ever learned the liver of sulfer method. It's great that there's a more natural method using egg. Thanks for the info.!

Jodi said...

I've been wondering about that egg technique for giving silver an oxidized finish. Thanks for sharing your technique - I think I'll try this with a pair of earrings!

MAKUstudio said...

Thanks for sharing the egg method!

Adventures with Millie Making Jewelry said...

I found your post quite interesting! Today I used liver of sulfer for the first time...it does put off an oder I'd rather not have in my house so I'm glad I used it outside. The copper took only a second to react...I may try this egg method to have more control next time! Thanks for the information!

Fickle Fancies said...

I'm about to give your method a try .. I have eggs boiling right now. Does the egg method work on other metals as well as it does on the copper?