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Aluminum to look like copper, patina aluminum


Q. Hello,

I have an aluminum sheet which I engraved and I want to oxidize the engraved surface in Black or Dark Grey colour. I was wondering if anyone could recommend any additives I can use to get such an effect. I would prefer to use some do it yourself method. If you know any good books on the subject I would appreciate it if you could give me the titles.

Thanks in Advance

Achilleas Pitsillides
- Charlottesville, Virginia, USA


A. Rub it with olive or Linseed Oil [linked by editor to product info at Rockler] (very sparingly),then heat it to max. 400 °C! Good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

Patination ART on Aluminium


Q. I'm looking for (books) procedures to patina (patination) aluminium. Basically for outdoor resistance 100% of the time (UV and waterproof) for sculptures. The patina on the aluminium must keep its finish but it could be reasonable to apply a coat of wax or clear Teflon or whatever 1 time per year. I find a book for patinas on bronze, copper or stainless but nothing about aluminium.

Andre C [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Riverdale, North Dakota USA

Artists Anodizing Aluminum: The Sulfuric Acid Process
from Abe Books



A. Hi Andre. Aluminum can be anodized, dyed, and sealed. It should exhibit extraordinary outdoor resistance as entire skyscrapers are built with anodized aluminum.

But whether this offers you the option for the art you envision is a question I can't answer.

Good luck.

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


A. You can colour aluminum directly, without anodizing!

Black for aluminum:
10 gm potassium permanganate
25 gm copper nitrate
4 cc nitric acid
1 lit water

Hot immersion / 80-100 °C)
5 min. = brown
15 min. = dark brown
30 min. = black

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

Aluminum (copper patina finish)


Is there a way to paint a copper patina color over aluminum that results in that weathered copper look?

David Hicks
Signal Signs of GA - Mableton, Georgia, USA


A. Hi, David.

I have seen a roofing and gutter materials with such paints applied but I don't know who makes them and whether that striated look can be applied in a single coat or if it needs multiple coats. If anyone would know though, it would probably be Southern Aluminum Finishing.

Good luck.

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

Want aluminum to look like copper with blue patina



Juan Potes
- Miami, Florida


Q. I have a similar inquiry. I have looked at electroplating but that seems to expensive. I have a large order of louvers where the blades need to appear as oxidised copper.

Chris Paffett
- Milton, Pennsylvania USA

January 2007

Most expensive is solid real copper. Less expensive, but looking exactly like real copper (because that's exactly what the surface is) would be copper plating. Depending on how close it needs to look, anodized aluminum with an "oxidized copper" colored dye or paint/powder will do it. You can post an RFQ what what you are seeking at

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

I have brushed aluminum tube to patina in earth tone



I am building some wind chimes out of aluminum tubing. So far I have been turning them on a lath while holding sandpaper on them to give them a brushed stainless steel look.Then I spray them with a coat of silicone oil to preserve the look.

I would like to add color with out painting or anodizing. Ideally some chemical I could put on them and heat to produce some earth tone color or colors. A bronze, copper, yellow, red, green, olive, black, brown or combination of colors would work.

I would like the chime finish to be durable and to look good in the garden.

What suggestion do you have.


Ron Barnett
- Santa Rosa, California, USA


A. Try old burnt oil process-simply oil it very sparingly with some edible oil or fat(olive oil is best),then heat it slowly to max 400 °C. Repeat if needs. Hot air gun is best tool for that task,or kiln if you have it. Good luck and hope it helps!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

Paint aluminum pick-up topper

May 19, 2008

It's old and dented. I actually don't want it to look perfect, but I want to paint it something other than the silver color it is now. If it looks a little rough, that's actually good. I'm proficient wood finisher, giving my stuff an antique look, and want to do the same with my topper. Any help is appreciated.

Brooks Boliek
cabinet maker, decorative painter, historical restorer - Silver Spring, Maryland

May 21, 2008

A. Simple and effective solution-oil it very very slightly with any edible oil(according to old books olive oil is best),then heat it to 300-400 °C (use hot air gun). Instead of oil you can use 2-20% shellac solution too. Yellowish-brown or black finish. Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

July 3, 2008

A. Brooks,

this is old school way of coloring aluminum man. try this, just make sure your wearing neoprene protective gloves [linked by editor to product info at Amazon].

solution a: sodium hydroxide and zinc oxide

reaction to aluminum: turns the aluminum gray.

solution b: copper sulfate

reaction: turn the gray stuff to black and a little bit of red shade. Depends on how you apply the stuff.

hint: make the copper sulfate very diluted.

old school but works!

Barry M. Umacob
- Philippines

March 10, 2009

Q. Hi Barry,

The old recipe does work well. I have a project in which an aluminum piece will be outside. Will this patina hold up to the elements?

Jim Johnson
- folly beach, South Carolina

June 2, 2009

Q. Could anybody tell me if there is a coating one can apply to stop brushed aluminium anodising outside and keep up it's sheen.


Claire Richmond
- Tasmania, Australia

A. Hi Claire. Aluminum can be clearcoated; lots of people polish their aluminum car wheels then clearcoat them. Also, the right alloys of aluminum can be anodized without losing substantial shine -- most dentists' lights and outdoor lighting reflectors, and many telescope mirrors are anodized aluminum.


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

June 4, 2015

A. Wattyl has a product called Aluclear.

Aaron Anderson - Melbourne Australia

Give our Aluminum Table a Copper Patina

May 18, 2011

Q. I recently saw a TV "how to" show about finishing copper with Ferric Chloride (etchant) mixed with water and another mixture of cupric nitrate (oxidizer) plus zinc chloride and water. The metal was heated to 300 degrees and the oxidation process checked by spraying water. Question: is there a similar process that might work to give aluminum a copper patina finish. I'm trying to give an expensive aluminum table a better appearance.

Jasper Lewis
Hobbyist - Magnolia, Arkansas, USA

Reactive Metal Paint-Copper

Jax Green Patina

May 18, 2011

A. Hi, Jasper.

In a way, it is the copper itself that is responsible for the color, not the chemicals it was treated with. Aluminum doesn't form those colors; it can't.

But you can probably "paint" on a cupric solution. Commercial copper-based "metallic surfacer solutions" like Copper Topper are available.

You can use these as is, or go on to use a patina solution =>
on the new "copper" surface. I would expect, though, that metal surfacing an aluminum table and patinating it to an attractive artistic look is a job for someone with some arts and crafts experience and aptitude rather than just home handyman experience. That leaves me out :-)


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

April 19, 2018

Q. I purchased an antique head board for $10 at my local Faith Farms. I am a photographer, and looking to gain green patina overnight. I am sure, due to its' weight, it is aluminum, has anyone used copper paint, followed by the salt and vinegar solution? Can this be done?

alyse crandell
photography- ft. lauderdale, Florida

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