Wordie on DDD

Wordle: DebrasDivineDesigns Blessings

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rainbow Patina with your Torch

I have had alot of people messaging me after I posted this copper bracelet on my ETSY site, http://www.etsy.com/shop/DebrasDivineDesigns

Here is the Bracelet.

I used my Bernzomatic portable self igniting propane torch.  I love this torch and found it at Home Depot for $40.  It takes a butane can to fill the torch at the bottom, like a lighter (see photo below) The refill can costs $5.  I have used my torch quite a bit and have only had to refill it twice.  The can still feels full!

With this bracelet, I decided as always to torch it to bring out the natural red patina color that comes out of the copper.  This also removes impurities and cleans up your copper really nice.   This time I took it a bit further and actually let the bracelet cool for about 5 minutes and then went back it and started to torch it more, to see if I could bring out some rainbow patinas.   This was the result!

Depending on your piece of copper, some fire with more color than others.  I found that by lightly sanding my copper piece or using a diamond file on it and then cleaning it with a baking soda wash and then NOT touching it's surface with my bare hands, that the colors are more brilliant.   Some will bring out more silver tin coloring, some will be red or blueish.    It depends I think on how "raw" your copper is.   Go here for everything you ever wanted to know about copper  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper

I find there are a few steps to doing this.   This is of course, what works for me.  You may find your own techniques that work for you.  I thought I would share them, since so many people were asking.  

  • Torch, portable or otherwise with a low flame
  • Firebricks to place your objects on (call around BBQ and Fireplace Retailers)  I paid $2 a brick and bought 2
  •  Ice water bath or cool water, drop of vinegar in it.
  • Copper Tongues (I don't have any yet, so I use an old heat resistant plastic tongue)
  • Fire Extinguiser!
  • Safety Glasses

    Begin Your Torching:

    Step 1. Light your torch and slowly work the flame around the outside and inside of the item you are torching as not to "shock" the item.  After about 30 seconds, quickly work the flame around the item until you start to see it darken.  Let it cool on your brick for about 3-5 minutes

    Step 2. Once cooler light your torch and slowly angle your torch and hit the surfaces you want to see get patina colors.  Keep in mind that once you hit it with your torch and you see the rainbow flashes appear, when you lift your torch, your piece is still mega hot and will continue to color.  Sometimes you loose the flash color that you thought you had and sometimes it grows deeper in color.  The beauty of copper is that you can just keep hitting it with the torch until you are happy

    Step 3:  If you notice your piece turning silver or becoming fire-scaled, dip back into the "pickle" (cold water with a drop of white vinegar).  This will cool your piece instantly and then plop it back onto your firebrick and while wet, go ahead and touch torch to achieve your rainbow patina.  You can't make a mistake.  Copper is so forgiving and you can just re-torch if you don't like the colors.  The best part is...NO CHEMICALS are used and you can boast that to your clients!!!! Fun huh!!!  

    Here are some of the results from the video above.  


    1. Testing as I was told no comments could be left. The videos do not have any voice tutorial. Just the sound of my torch!

    2. I want a torch now. I always use the smelly LOS.

    3. This is Awesome. Makes me want to dust off my torch.

    4. Nice torch job, Debra ;)
      I like being able to fire my metals too... always preferable to any type of chemicals, imo

    5. Great post, I like using fire also, no smell like LOS. Does give a nice aging look to metals!!!