Saturday, February 16, 2013

Preparing Raw Die Cut Copper

Even if you are using pre-formed copper or brass shapes to treat with patina, chances are you are not going to be able to jump right in and start coloring like a kindergartner with a new box of crayons.
Cutting your shapes from sheet metal is very fulfilling in that the shape is uniquely yours: sketched ahead of time, scribed onto the metal, sawed or snipped out, filed, filed, filed, planished, textured, domed or what have you.
But if you have a for sure seller, like the weathered cross, you can save time and work on your hands by using a die cut copper shape in 18 gauge which will make it more affordable to your buyer.
But please let me share with you that you will not receive a ready to go piece and there are a few steps to take before the metal is patina ready.

They arrive heavily oiled and often stuck together.

So place the stuck together metal back into the bag.

And use something flat to wedge in between the copper shapes. I am using a broken file cause that's what was in reach. The plastic baggie is helping me not carve up the surface of the metal so badly that it shows up under any texturing or patina work.

For the cleaning, I use baking soda and vinegar. This is how I clean my pipes and it doesn't leave spots on the raw copper like the industrial metal cleaner from a head shop that I was using.   

I fill a glass jar with distilled white vinegar and add some baking soda until it foams and bubbles up like the volcanoes Christian and I made when we were homeschooling. (I throw in whatever else metal-y that needs cleaning.)  

This can also be used for "The Black Plague of Tumblers" that happens every once in awhile. 

The time spent in the baking soda and vinegar solution seems to depend on the amount of oil and dirt that was present on the copper. I check on my erupting jar every 10 minutes or so, pulling out the foamy metal to check and see if the copper surface is clean. Once I see no more dirt or slick oil spots, I rinse, pat the metal dry with a paper towel and brush over it with fine steel wool.
Now where's my colors!?!

 has all sorts of die cut copper shapes for sale and even some brass pieces that take the patinas really well.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tips as they are much appreciated!