Baldwin’s Patina: Yet Another Way to Add Interest to Copper

We are probably all familiar with LoS, Black Max, and other patinas that simply darken. These can certainly be used on copper. Last post, I talked about using heat to add interest to copper. However, there are still other ways to deal with copper. Have you ever seen (or seen a picture of) the Statue of Liberty? The statue is made of copper. Sea breeze, with its salt, oxygen in the air, and pollutants in the air have turned it a quite attractive shade of blue-green. We can achieve this color on copper jewelry without leaving our work out for months by the sea! 😉

Baldwin’s Patina is a patina that only works on copper. The packaging says that it also works on bronze, but that has never worked out for me. Therefore, I limit myself to copper. Baldwin’s Patina is different from other patinas in two key manners: (1) you need to heat the copper jewelry before applying and (2) the patina develops over time (although the hotter the piece, the quicker the patina develops). Before applying Baldwin’s Patina, I place copper jewelry on a cup warmer. When it grows hot enough so that touching it is uncomfortable (not at the level of burning, just hot enough to say ‘ouch’), transfer the jewelry to a working surface. I use a paper plate for this purpose; since it is disposable, I don’t have to worry about the patina injuring it. Baldwin’s Patina, as it comes from the bottle, is a blue liquid. I apply it with a cotton swab. Then I replace the jewelry on the cup warmer. In about a half hour, the jewelry is the color of the Statue of Liberty. Like any patina, you can wipe off the patina from parts of the jewelry, giving it an aged appearance. Like any copper piece, a fixative should be applied to prevent the patina from changing further.  I use the same spray that brass instrument players use to preserve their instruments. If you don’t have this, hair spray or clear nail polish will work.

Some examples appear below. As always, a coin is included for scale.

A pair of steampunk earrings:


Another pair of steampunk earrings:


A pair of bigfoot-themed earrings:


A Northwest Pacific inspired pendant:


Finally, I want to show you how I combined Baldwin’s Patina and a heat patina. I made a bigfoot-themed pendant by placing one texture on a copper disk, putting another texture on another copper disk, cutting a bigfoot outline of the upper disk, and joining them. The lower piece was colored by a heat patina, using a directed torch until it turned red. The upper piece was patinaed using a very light hand with Baldwin’s Patina (e.g. a few spots of color, not covered). The effect is a ghostly figure slipping through the woods.



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