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Blue/green/verdigris patinas for zinc Q&A

Current question and answers:

May 5, 2021

Q. Did the question asked fairly consistently on this thread ever get an adequate answer?
The last question was to produce a light blue and grey (near enough) patina on a zinc table top.

Does anyone know if this request was answered? Copper Nitrate was suggested but what concentration and with any other chemical mixed or would they be applied separately?

I would preferably like a mottled effect so a chemical solution would be sprayed from a medium sized garden spray bottle.
However - flicking the solution from a tooth brush, brush or applied with a sponge (lightly) should achieve a good patina.
I'm happy to apply two solutions seperately to obtain the light blue/light grey that would suit our zinc topped table.

It seems no one can give a complete answer?
Dilutions?
I have found that zinc solutions will activate zinc very quickly -- so I guess a fairly diluted solution is required?
Thank you - yours enquiringly - friends in the UK

Man Garnier
- Tunbridge Wells Kent UK


May 2021

A. Hi Man...

Goran Budija suggested 60 grams of nickel sulphate plus 60 grams of ammonium chloride per liter of water.

Rick Varnum says a spray bottle of blackening solution made for steel will work fine on zinc and, for countertops, should be followed by butcher's wax.

When asked for a formula that did not use ammonia, Goran then suggested 300 gram of copper nitrate per litre of water.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


May 10, 2021

A. Try my download free booklet on metals coloring and plating (https://www.finishing.com/library/budija/budija.pdf) ,there you can find small chapter about zinc coloring. Copper nitrate based solution can be used only on copper plated zinc objects (or any other copper coloring solution). Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh




Previous closely related Q&A's starting in:

2000

Q. Can anyone tell me how I can speed up the process of verdigris on zinc to achieve the green patina one sees on aged zinc clad rooftops. Best regards,

james Fox
- london england


2000

A. James, verdigris green patina occurs on copper roofs, not on zinc ones, because the green color is a copper salt. Zinc roofs never turn verdigris color. Sorry.

For interior, lighter exposure, you can probably apply a copper-based patina solution, but on an actual roof the color would never hold up.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey



2002

Q. Patination of zinc sheet. I'd like to hear any recipes or techniques to color zinc.

Ken V [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Scottsdale, Arizona, USA


2002
Black for zinc:
Cu(NO3)2......6,25 gm
NH4Cl.........6,25 gm
CuCl2.........6,25 gm
HCl..........6,25 ml
H2O...........1 lit.
Bronze brown for zinc:
iron sulphate......50 gm
copper sulphate....50 gm
H2O..........1 lit.
Blue for zinc:
nickel sulphate.......60 gm
ammonium chloride......60 gm
H2O............1 lit.
Lustre colors for zinc:
NaOH........83 gm
copper tartrate..62 gm
H2O........ 1 lit.
At 10 °C temp., 2 min. violet, 3 min. blue, 4-5 min. green, 6-7 min. yellow, 8-9 min.very dark red, without lacquering or waxing!
Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia


2002

thumbs up sign Thank you, Goran Budija, for those recipes. I am anxious to try them.

Ken V [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Scottsdale, Arizona, USA


thumbs up sign  Hi, Ken. Goran is a metals conservator and seems to always have the answers I don't expect! Thanks as usual, Goran.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey



To minimize search efforts and to offer multiple viewpoints, we combined previously separate threads onto this page. Please forgive any resultant repetition, failures of chronological order, or what may look like readers disrespecting previous responses -- those other responses may not have been on the page at the time :-)



2002

Q. I designed a zinc sheet metal ceiling for a powder room at my client's residence. The metalworker who installed it did not patina it before installation, now is struggling with trying to add the patina in a finished room. I wanted a "bluing" finish, and I know there are patinas available that can do this. Can it be used on zinc? Can it be done after installation? It seems that most patinas recommend immersion in the chemical, which is not possible in this situation.

The metalworker wants to faux paint it - I hate the idea - why would I use metal to do this? What do I tell him to do? He obviously has no experience in this kind of work. Help!

Kathryn Scott
design studio - Brooklyn, New York, USA


2002

A. I am maybe a bit confused, Kathryn. It's possible to get blue (verdigris?) patinas on copper, brass, and bronze because copper salts are blue-green, but zinc salts are not. You can probably wipe on a copper-based patina solution with enough effort if that's the look you seek ... but only practice makes perfect.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


2002

A. The term "bluing" is a generic term used in metal finishing of "steel" parts - most common in the firearms industry. The "blue" actually comes from the light reflection of an oil that is applied to protect the black oxide-type finish. That said, you may want to try a tinted lacquer to achieve the proper color, because an oxidizing process to color your zinc sheet will require immersion to achieve color uniformity. Also, a lacquer will help preserve the color and resist further natural oxidation. I would apologize to the metalworker, and then find an acceptable color/finish and tell your customer that they now have a one-of-a-kind ceiling.

Dan Brewer
chemical process supplier - Gurnee, Illinois


2003

A. You can put a antique Patina finish easily on your Zinc ceiling using the right chemicals in a spray bottle. I purchased an acid made for bluing steel that works great on Zinc.
We make Zinc counter tops all the time and I antique them then add a butchers wax finish.

Rick Varnum
- Bethel, Connecticut USA


Roof of Bancroft Hall

A. Now I'm more confused than before :-)

I assumed, maybe wrongly, that when Kathryn said 'blue patina for sheet metal' she was looking for the mottled verdigris blue we may see on old roofs and gutters.
Dan seems to think she wants a black oxide finish (gun bluing), which on a highly polished surface looks a very dark jewel blue.
Rick is apparently very experienced, and can achieve a successful patina with a spray bottle, but describes it as 'antique Patina finish', which I assume is paler and less saturated than what I envisioned or Dan envisioned.
Can we get a better idea what Kathryn means by 'blue'?   :-)

Luck & Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


affil. link
Birchwood-Casey Gun Bluing

2006

Q. I read with interest the answers to the questions on bluing zinc -- I would like to understand better what bluing does and further finishing steps for zinc applied as a panel on a kitchen island.

Susan Phillips-Hungerford
architect - Peterborough, New Hampshire


2006

Q. I would like to have a galvanized metal picnic table top and would like to darken it with a stain. Do you have any product recommendations?

Paul Micallef
vineyard - Healdsburg, California


April 16, 2008

Q. Question for Rick V.

Rick,
Could you please be more specific about the products you used to patina your counter top?
I am making cafe tables with a zinc top and am interested in your process.

Jean Devlin
hobbyist - Paonia, Colorado, USA


April 18, 2008

A. Hello, Jean. While new people read the threads every day and may be able to help you, Rick's reply is from 5 years ago, and it's unlikely that he visits this thread often if at all :-)

Jax Patina [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] may not be exactly what Rick uses, but should get you a blue-green patina. If, again, that's the look you're hunting for. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


August 22, 2008

Q. My question is directed to the gentleman w/ the blue patina - Rickie?
I have this O ring that is brown. I was wondering if you might be able to assist me by coloring my brown O ring a blue patina. I know that it will be a very attractive look, and feel this could be the start of a huge movement. I mean the market is untapped. We need to make this dream a blue patina'd reality.

Alonso Mosley
sheet metal fetishist - Reno, Nevada

----
Ed. note: Hi Alonso. What is this "brown O ring"? What kind of sheet metal is it made of? Can you send a photo to mooney@finishing.com for posting here?



2004

I am looking for a safe formula for applying a verdigris patina to the solder lines and zinc framing on an assembled stained glass panel. I have seen many formulas calling for the use of ammonia solutions, which I cannot use for health reasons. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Justin Hannington
stained glass artist - Burlington, Vermont, USA


affil. link
Modern Masters Green Patina

A. Hi Justin. Verdigris patinas are possible (and can even occur naturally) on copper, brass, and bronze because copper salts are that color. But to get verdigris color on solder and zinc, you need to put copper on them; the easiest way is with a commercial patina solution.

You can probably check the MSDS to make sure they don't have ammonia.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Aloha -- an idea worth spreading
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


2004

A. You can use copper nitrate [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] based patina: 300 gms copper nitrate/1 lit water only for grease and oxide free surfaces!

Good luck!

Goran Budija
conservator - Zagreb, Croatia


July 21, 2008

A. Have you thought about faking it, with a thin layer of acrylic paint? I suppose you make lamp shades, so they would never be submersed in water?

Milli Denney
- Leicester, Vermont, Addison



Patinas for zamak cast sculpture

2005

Q. I am an sculptor searching to use ZAMAK to cast small and medium sized sculpture. I need information regarding formulas, manuals, white papers, pdf, how-to, downloadable file on methods and formulas to apply permanent patinas of different color (including brass) to ZAMAK.

Thanks very much,

Reinaldo Martínez
Sculpture - San Antonio de los Altos, Miranda, VENEZUELA


2005

A. You can try next website (download free): http://www.thelitterbox.org/librum/i-sacof/433.gif !

black for zinc:
200 gm iron chloride
1 lit water

Good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

----
Ed. note: Goran's link is broken, and we could not easily find the new location (if any) of the particular article in question ... but librum (www.librum.us) is without doubt one of the most fascinating sites you'll find!



affil. link
Jax Green Patina

2005 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Hi,

Please help! I would like to find out how I can add green patina onto Pewter or Copper? Want to give it an antique look?

Can you buy green patina, if so, where can you buy it? or do you use some kind of chemical reaction to react with it, if so, what chemical?

Please reply...

Thank you in advance...

Regards,

Jonathan Beh
pewter art - London, England



2005 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. How pewter can be aged in a fast and environmental friendly way.

Ben Groenewoud
- Hradistko pod Mednikem, Czech Republic


affil. link
"Contemporary Patination"
from Abe Books

or

May 29, 2009

Hi, Ben. Please see such books as "Color on Metal" [affil. link to book on Amazon], "Colouring, Bronzing & Patination of Metals" [affil. link to book on Amazon], Contemporary Patination =>

and "Patinas for Silicon Bronze" [affil. link to book on Amazon].

Yes, you can buy patina kits and chemicals such as Green Patina from Sophisticated Finishes [affil. link to info/product on Amazon].

It may also be possible to get some simple patinas on certain metals by repeated application of household chemicals like vinegar and salt; that subject has been covered many times on these pages, so use the search engine or see the FAQ on that subject. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey



To minimize search efforts and to offer multiple viewpoints, we combined previously separate threads onto this page. Please forgive any resultant repetition, failures of chronological order, or what may look like readers disrespecting previous responses -- those other responses may not have been on the page at the time :-)



Patinas on Hot Dipped Galvanized Steel

2005

Q. I am manufacturing a line of steel garden furniture that I have Hot Dip Galvanized. I am looking for a patina solution that will give me a reasonably permanent coating resistant to rubbing off on someones clothing. A bluish color with a white overcast would be fine as well as a blue-green or black-purple tone. Any ideas? I have tried numerous acid solutions but still have not come up with a satisfactory patina. Ammonia and salt give a great look but only a temporary powdery finish. Help!

Ross Yedinak
Garden Furniture and sculpture - Pontiac, Michigan


2005

thumbs up signHi Ross. I've personally not heard of a good patina for galvanized steel, but there's always a first time.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey


2005

A. If your objects are zinc plated You can use any solution for colouring zinc. If you want verdigris type colour You must first copper plate your objects, then you can colour them like copper. And one formula for blue/violet blue patina for zinc:
60 gm nickel sulphate
60 gm ammonium chloride
1 lit water

Immerse object in solution,. If you use ammonium nickel sulphate You can obtain violet blue colour.
Hope it helps!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia



2006

Q. I am looking for the formula/technique that includes a combination of copper sulfate and ammonium chloride. Either in combined solutions (with water) or to be used separately as a wipe-on process for creating a weathered patina on galvanized metal roofing and hot dipped gutters.

Kim Lazare
exhibits painter at Woodland Park Zoo - Seattle, Washington, USA



sidebar April 28, 2008

RFQ: In reference to zinc finishing, I was interested in finding zinc sheets in Arizona do you have info?

b callaway
- phx, Arizona usa


April 28, 2008

A. Hello B. I can't suggest a source in Arizona specifically, but our readers did suggest a few sources in letter 24550. Hopefully one of them will work out for you!

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey



Blue Patina on Zinc Sheet Metal

June 28, 2016

Q. Hello Professionals,

I have a job for a 2' x 13' zinc table top. The designer is asking for a blue/gray/antique finish on the zinc top. I have been searching online all day about patinas and making calls to find out if there is such a finish for Zinc. I am thinking not, but it's worth a shot asking here as I keep pulling up threads with excellent and highly resourceful responses by individuals.

So far I have found only a handful of colors that can be attained. Black/grays/browns/rust tones. I have been reading and many people seem to refer to the natural zinc color as a blue/gray. I am looking for a definite light and dark blue finish with grays.

I found a website that sells metal stains and after speaking with the rep, they seemed convinced that their product could put color into the zinc so long as it was degreased and scuffed with a scotchbrite pad. I figured I would ask here first before dropping the money just to do samples and testing. That stuff adds up in dollars pretty quickly.

I will also be applying multiple clear coats over the surface to hopefully protect the metal from oxidation and wear. An important thing to note is this is going to be in a house that is surrounded on 3 sides by ocean! I am unsure of how this will affect the zinc top over time.

Yusuke Heller
Job Shop Owner - Pine Island, New Jersey

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