Forming Green Verdigris Patina on Copper

The DIY Method

With its bright orangey shiny reflective finish, the look of one of our all-metal canopies clad in copper makes a bold statement. Once outside, the exposure to oxygen and different weather conditions will mean the copper will naturally form a patina, initially turning its shiny surface to beautiful russet and chocolate browns. It is also worth noting that our metal frames, which by standard have a black powder coating, can be coated in a specific RAL colour to further enhance the look of the canopy. RAL colour options can be seen on the following website: https://www.ralcolorchart.com/

Copper clad Belgravia door canopy sitting on a bench in the factory.

When customers call to discuss the use of copper, many ask how long it will take to turn green. This is a bit of a “how long is a piece of string” question as the formation of patina on copper goes through a number of stages and this in turn is affected by a number of factors including the weather conditions. This means that the local climate and environment will influence how fast the copper oxidizes (this even includes turning from its new penny look to russet and chocolate browns). Certainly, for patina to form on copper, it needs moisture. Apparently, areas with heavy industrial pollutants or salty marine environments will also quicken this process.

An example that comes to mind is the green of the Statue of Liberty. The New Yorker magazine published an article about the Statue of Liberty saying that when it was unveiled in 1886 it was brown, like a penny, and by 1906 oxidation had covered it with a green patina. This gave a rough timeline of 20 years.

There’s plenty of scientific information about how natural patina is formed on copper on the internet, so I will leave it to the experts to provide you with more detailed information. This blog, however, highlights the efforts taken by one of our customers to induce the formation of verdigris patina on their copper canopy.

I actually have my own example of, in this case, the inadvertent accelerated formation of verdigris on a brass topped table that I use in the garden. I primarily use it to pot and feed my garden plants and had noticed the below patch of patina form after a while. The table is full of different colours and has become a real talking piece in my garden.

Close up of a brass table with green verdigris patina.

Either way, back to our customers’ canopy. When they purchased their copper clad canopy from us in the spring of 2021 it looked as shiny as the canopy pictured at the beginning of this blog. They wanted, however, to accelerate the patina on their canopy to encourage the formation of green verdigris.

We asked our customer to give us a brief idea of the process they followed to help the patina form. They explained that they followed just a few simple steps. Firstly, once the canopy had been installed, they painted a solution all over the canopy and then left it for some time before washing it off with fresh water. They report that the reaction to the copper was quite immediate, but it improved over the following days. Below is a recent photograph taken of the canopy:

An Edwardian style house that has a copper clad canopy with a green verdigris patina.

Our customer reports that “they are very happy with the canopy and it looks like it has been a part of the house for ever”.

Whether you want to induce the natural Verdigris patina or allow nature to take its time and take you initially through the beautiful russet and chocolate browns, I am sure you will agree that copper is a truly amazing product.

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