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topic 15987

Change the color of solder to a copper color

A discussion started in 2002 but continuing through 2018


Q. Years ago I worked at a Architectural metal fabrication company, which we mainly dealt with Fabricated Copper sheet products. I used to use a chemical to change the color of a soldered or silver soldered joint to a "Copper colored finish". A friend of mine just asked me what that "Blue crystal chemical" was and were he could buy some? Well, I do not remember, so can you help? I used to dip a clean acid brush in water and then dab some of this "Blue Crystal Chemical" on the wet acid brush, and then I would brush over the silver soldered or soldered area and the solder color would change to a "Copper" color when it dried. Please help to refresh my memory.

Thank you,

Ron S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Mesa, Arizona, U.S.A.


Sounds like copper sulfate, Ron? Good luck with it.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey


Q. There must be more to this technique. I bought the blue crystal copper sulphate and used a brush to apply it to the solder, but there was no reaction. What steps am I missing? Should I crush the crystals into powder first? Thanks, Tara

Tara W [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Dry Prong, Louisiana


A. I don't know of any chemical that changes silver to copper BUT there is a way that we do "copper plating" and it does work and that's steel wool [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] and what the jewelry ind. calls pickle acid turns anything copper really and is cheap, also use to be and I am having a hard time finding copper colored solder that would stay copper even after you heated it and soldered the project when I first used it tho I found it very hard to melt and didn't hold up like I thought it should. pickle acid is sold any place that sells jewelry equipment and is most of the time in powder form and you just mix it with hot water according to the amount needed steel; bailing wire and steel wool are cheap and work well and afterwards use a spray fix or clear gloss to keep it from chipping off at any time cause its not really a heavy coat that will last to things like patinas it with Liver of Sulphur [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] or any ammonia very well

Evan [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Colorado

Modern Masters Green Patina

March 29, 2011

A. It is copper patina available at any stained glass supply store. It is sold under different names and makers, but is all copper patina. It is a blue crystal-like solution, and is very inexpensive.

Kerri [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Hickory, North Carolina, USA

March 3, 2015

A. To color silver solder a copper color try "Copper B Metal Coating" made by Sculpt Nouveau. They also make a "Copper C Metal Coating" which is applied a bit differently. Check their website for more detailed instructions.

Keith Droste
Cute As A Bug's Ear Custom Jewelry - Anaheim, California USA

January 14, 2018

A. The copper sulphate mixed with a little water can be applied to most solders to turn a solder copper color. When the mixture is still wet you touch the area with a bit of iron or steel and the solder will be covered with a coating of metallic copper. You can use this process several times until the desired color is obtained.

Roy Ringwood
50 years Sheet Metal Worker - Cerritos, California, USA

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