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How to do 'oil rubbed' blackened finish on beaten copper sink?

Q. I have a copper sink and I want to change the color to black copper instead, what products and steps do I take to make this happen?
It's a hammered sink and will used daily.
Thank you

C Wilk
- Whidbey Washington
May 4, 2022

Liver of Sulfur

on eBay or


(affil links)

A. Try liver of sulfur gel ⇨
Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Cerovski vrh

A. Hello C. We appended your inquiry to a thread which answers it. Thread 1198 and thread 23034 also address the same topic. The blackening will come off a sink pretty quickly though unless you clearcoat it. You might look to thread 26821 to learn more about clearcoating.

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. My stone person cut the hole for my kitchen sink in the wrong place. To make this work, we need to buy a sink with a right side drain board. I have found some but they are copper which won't match our kitchen. How can I change the color of a copper sink to black in a way that is safe for food and will withstand kitchen use?



M sunshine
- Austin, texas
May 1, 2022

A. Hi M. Sinks are a terribly tough environment because of both wet corrosion and chipping & wear. If you want real black you will probably not be happy with copper blackening, which is black-ish; and black paint will not hold up. I think you need to find a steel or cast iron sink that has been black porcelain enameled (porcelain enamel is not paint but is more like coating with glass).

Luck & Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

⇩ Closely related postings, oldest first ⇩

Q. How do I put an "oil rubbed" finish or blackened bronze finish on a beaten copper sink?


A. Hi, Jesse.

The easiest way to apply a patina is simply to brush on a patinating solution. You can find patina solution in brown and other colors [affil links], and some may be the tone you seek.

Real oil rubbed bronze is achieved by applying a brown oxidizing solution to copper, then buffing away the patina from the corners and wear points, bringing back the copper look there. A "living" finish will continue to wear to brightness at high points and darken where there is no handling, but most people seem to prefer to clear coat the item when it looks the way they want it to. More about how to do oil rubbed bronze can be found on letter 34482. Achieving the burnished look, with wear points a lighter tone and recessed areas a darker tone, may take some skill and practice. Good luck!

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. Jesse, I am a little confused. Which is it? You can do one or the other. "oil rubbed" is usually brown to dark brown while "blackened" is just that.

My company can provide you the answer to either one in the form of chemical patinas or solvent dyes. Please contact me for more information. See our link below.

Barry Feinman
Barry Feinman
supporting advertiser
Carlsbad, California

Q. I'm trying to achieve an oil rubbed look on black flat painted hardware for kitchen cabinets that were originally brass looking with porcelain center pieces. Now they look too new and I'm trying to get that distressed age look.Any suggestions and do they need to be sealed with a flat polyurethane also to not have a shiny appearance. Thank you, Becky

Becky Fielden
Maryville Tennessee

Hammered Copper Paint

(affil links)

A. Real oil rubbed bronze is achieved by copper plating, then applying a brown patina, then buffing away the patina from the corners and wear points, bringing back the copper look there, Becky. If you are starting with black paint, you can't actually patina it. However, you can apply decorative copper paint, and achieve the burnished look, with wear points a lighter tone and recessed areas a darker tone, by repainting everything but the wear points black. It may take some skill and practice. Once you have close to the look you seek, a polyurethane "matte" topcoat is probably a good idea.

These sinks may (or may not) have had UV-cured or radiation cured topcoats, which are probably not practical for home owners to apply. I say that as preface to saying that the replacement topcoat may not be as hard and durable. You can try a do-it-yourself coating like an epoxy or polyurethane but these may discolor. Maybe a thinner top coat like Everbrite [a supporting advertiser], repeated every few months, might leave a more natural look. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Scalding coffee turned copper sink milky-white

Q. The caterer at my wedding disposed of an urn of scalding coffee in my lovely hammered copper sink. The bottom of the sink now has a milky-whitish appearance. I am assuming that the sink had been treated with something. Hours worth of scrubbing with Brasso [on eBay or Amazon], Barkeepers Friend [on eBay or Amazon], and other products have not removed the milky-white film. Is there anything I can do? This is a recently-purchased historic home and I am heartsick about this. I would be so grateful for your insight. Thank you,

Barbara Willis
Phoenix, Arizona
September 3, 2010

A. Barbara,
I think you are correct in assuming your sink has a protective coating. Apparently the coating could not withstand high temperatures. If you could find out who the mfg. of the sink is you could inquire what type of coating was used, i.e. solvent based, latex based. The next step is to decide how to repair the damage. As you probably figured out by now, the cleaners you used are meant to clean metal, and don't have the ability to penetrate the coating. Metal sculptors are good at restoring copper and brass, perhaps there is a good one in your area.

Mark Baker
Syracuse, New York
September 11, 2010

A. Hi. When wood furniture gets white stains the explanation is usually that the hot water or steam formed a milky emulsion with the lacquer top coat. Almost always it can be completely or substantially removed with dry heat (iron with towel, hair dryer [on eBay or Amazon], hot air gun) which vaporizes the water back out of the emulsion (see Topic 10275 for hundreds of success stories). Whether this has any applicability to your copper sink I can't say ... but please let us know!


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 30, 2021

thumbs up sign Hello, I had a problem similar to the milky whitish copper sink comment that was made above and only find a possible solution in this thread, which was heat, similar to removing water rings in furniture.
We are on the road with our camper van and had poured hot liquid from lentil pasta in the sink (first cold water to cool
It already) and this gave a whitish ring and base of the sink. I have tried heating with a hairdryer, mine is a professional so very powerful and hot, and I put the tip on to be focussing the hot air in smaller areas and it seems to have done the trick!
A. Thank you so much and now you have feedback on whether this possibly works or not
I'm attaching before and after pics:

40020-2a   40020-2b  

- Belgium Europe

Multiple threads were merged: please forgive repetition, chronology errors, or disrespect towards other postings [they weren't on the same page] :-)

Re-Antiquing copper kitchen sink, range hoods, backsplashes

January 17, 2011

Q. My kitchen sink is hammered raw copper, it has a beautiful brown 'antiqued' look finish, like an old penny. However, I have somehow managed to cause the double bowl bottoms of this 'high maintenance' sink to turn shiny copper like a new penny. I understand they will probably return to the brown old penny color, in time, but is there any suggestions on how to speed up this process? I've heard of the Jax Brown product which is hazmat, and also note the comments on Liver of sulfur... but just not sure what to do, without making things worse. Help! Below is a BEFORE photo of this sink.


Leslie Thornton
Sevierville Tennessee

A. Hi, Leslie. Salt and acids like lemon juice or vinegar [in bulk on eBay or Amazon] are bad, as well as all abrasive cleansers like Ajax [on eBay or Amazon] or Comet. So I fear that normal occasional scrubbing will frequently be removing the patina.

Maybe you should consider your sink as much an art product as a utility item, and practice reapplying a patina, as opposed to searching for a one-time solution that you can do "without making things worse". Any form of sulfur, whether it be eggs, liver of sulfur, or whatever, should help it turn brown quicker. Some readers claim that dandruff shampoos with selenium sulfide will cause copper to brown up; I personally don't know if that's true, but if it is, that would be a good "soap" to clean it with.

Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Leslie, our company sells a kit called Copper Patina Repair Kit just for this problem. It also comes with brown wax for maintenance. Good luck

Barry Feinman
Barry Feinman
supporting advertiser
Carlsbad, California
January 30, 2011

Refinishing antique "rubbed" solid brass bathroom sinks

Q. After removing the finish, what will the sink look like and how and what finish can I use to not only restore the rubbed, antique look but what epoxy can I use to protect the finish?


Ricardo Lugo
Stockton, California
January 18, 2010

Q. I have a copper sink from Mexico which I love. It is hammered as an "aged copper finish". The hammer dents are darker that the surrounding areas. I also have hard water and the neutralizer was low when the sink was installed. I have some hard water formations and some of the darker spots have come off the sink bottom. How can I get that darkness back into the dents and how can I preserve the finish especially since I have now had the water neutralized and the hard water spots are no longer happening.

Kathy Gant
flanders, New Jersey
January 19, 2010

Q. I made a kitchen table with legs and stretchers out of 1" dia. copper pipe. Is there an oil type finish I can put on matte finished / brushed copper?
I don't want a hard finish and I want to be able to easily touch it up. A little uneven wear pattern is OK.

Becky Davis
Carmel, California
November 26, 2011

A. Hi, Becky.

Oil rubbed bronze is a "living" finish that meets your requirement. If you want to preserve a bright appearance instead, you could try sodium benzotriazole [on eBay or Amazon] which is a copper preservative. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Q. HELP! I have an oil rubbed bronze hammered sink that I used copper cleaner on it and it took the oil rubbed finish off! Is there something I can buy to restore the color?!

Doris Bertsch
Minot, North Dakota
September 24, 2012

A. Hi Doris. If you read through the previous discussion you will see that there are patina solutions available to restore the color; and you can apply an automotive clearcoat over them to protect the color from easily wearing off. But while simply putting color back on a sink is fairly easy, getting it to look aesthetically pleasing may not be. So you might see if there is a local artist or craftsperson experienced in this. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

Jax Brown

(affil links)

Brass Darkening Solution

(affil links)

Q. I have an antiqued copper range hood and back splash for the range, I think it was done on about 1963. Anyway, we put on a new granite countertop and had to take the backsplash down. I've cleaned it, but really needs to be re-antiqued. Any suggestions?

56537-2a  56537-2b

Bonnie Tarasek
Turin, New York
April 27, 2016

October 25, 2016

A. Bonnie,

Birchwood Technologies [a supporting advertiser] and Jax as well as a few others make specific patina finishing compounds that may meet your needs. They do take some skill and experience to use correctly, but used properly and with proper prep before application should do just what you need.


Rama Shunn
Woodinville, Washington

Ed. note: That overall site still exists, but not the suggested page.

A. For all applications I recommend using wax to protect color and prevent from stains.

Nora James
Los Angeles, California
March 11, 2017

Q. Purchased a beautiful hammered copper kitchen sink. I love the dark patina and I know that wiping it dry helps the inadvertent bright spots dark again, however, I would like to figure out how I could force this action to occur. We have a spot that is very dark - which was the result of 'something' left in the sink - but I cannot determine what it was and have been unable to recreate the reaction.


I love our 'live finish' but sometimes being able to correct a bright spot would be a great benefit!

Tj iannello
Litchfield Park Arizona
September 26, 2019

thumbs down signScanning through this thread explains why copper is a totally unsuitable material for a working sink.
Any patination is a thin weak layer and easily worn away. A bright polished finish is even worse and rapidly develops dark spots.
The problem seems to be confined to the US; the rest of the world uses ceramic or stainless steel (not the fashionable clear glass that shows every minuscule mark).

PS. If you must have a metal sink, don't omit to connect it to electrical ground.

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England

thumbs up sign  In order to not mislead, we should note that copper sinks remain a rarity in the US, though. Stainless steel and ceramic are the most common here, too. Many are also 'solid surface' such as Corian, which, being the same material as the countertops, allows for one piece construction.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
September 2019

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