The Joy of Metal Clay: The final pictures of the Bronze Patina

Last week, I talked about using ammonia to patina bronze.

Here is the final photo after 7 days over the ammonia fumes. I am not very happy with it to be honest. Still, I didn’t achieve the rich turquoise I had hoped for. Perhaps another few days might have worked but I am not sure. In my reading some people suggest using salts to help enhance the colour (perhaps that is a solution, although I have been able to get the blue without the salt on previous attempts, I wonder if the ammonia’s strength decreases over time, the bottle I used is over an year old???).

My approach to life is if you don’t like something change it. So I took my brass brush and some water and brushed the pieces vigorously to remove some of the patina. Voila, a nice antiqued bracelet.

I am satisfied. But have many questions and will try working on the turquoise another time. There are so many things that can be done. Working in metal clay is never dull or boring!!!


One Comment

  1. If it is already painted, you have a few choices. You can try to strip the existing paint off, or you can use an oil based primer. Trying to get a bronze patina is not easy, but it can be done with a little practice.
    Once you have your work piece primed, start with a coat of gold paint. Let this coat dry completely before continuing.
    Next get some Olive Drab Green and put a light coat of this on top of the gold. Before this coat dries, take some paint thinner on a sponge and lightly dab the green pant in some areas. Remember, a natural patina is not at all uniform so the best way to determine where and how much paint to remove it would be a good thing to get a photograph of a bronze sculpture and just look at that finish. There are some examples on the website of
    Once this step is complete, mix a very small amount of gray paint into the green. Again look at your photo or whatever you have as a template, and little by little add and mix until you think it is light enough. Make sure to reserve a small amount of this because you will need it later. Get another sponge and use this to apply this paint. Do not use the one you had the thinner on, but keep it close by.
    Dab this lighter green color around and remember not to be consistent. When this dries, take the sponge you used with the thinner. Get the green paint you reserved and mix a little more gray paint along with a generous amount of paint thinner into this until you get the consistency of ink. Stand your gate up against something and soak the sponge in this paint and squeeze a small amount of this paint onto it and let it run down.
    I know this sounds like a lot to have to go through, but keep in mind that you are doing in days what it takes nature months or years to do. My advice would be to try this technique on something other than your gate as practice. One more hint would be to make the effect more pronounced as you go toward the bottom of the gate, because this is exactly how it works naturally. Don't get discouraged if you don't get it just right the first time.
    Good luck and I hope this works.

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