DIY Projects

Shining up the Copper….How to Remove Patina from Old Copper!

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All ya’lls are gonna get so sick of seeing our kitchen, I’m so sorry. haha  Seriously though I had to share the latest project we did last weekend because it’s SO worth it!

Let’s back up a half a sec.  Remember this pic?

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See the hood above the stove?  Yeah I don’t either.  Hence the problem.  It’s a reclaimed solid copper hood that came out of a pub in NY.  I actually bought it for $300 from a guy on Ebay.  Crazy right?!  I REALLY wanted a copper hood but new for this style is $5000+ and who’s got that kind of budget?  Alas, I took a chance and it totes paid off.  I got my dream copper hood and with the age came the loads of patina.  I was absolutely ok with that BUT it doesn’t really show up in pics and the kitchen felt really dark.  My hubs has been trying to get me to attempt to strip it for years (since we installed it really) and I was always the hold out.  What if the strip process (patina not clothing peeps) went horribly awry and it looks terrible?!  I would rather be safe than sorry.  So we left it.

shining up the copper, how to remove patina from old copper, copper range hood, reclaimed copper, home decor, interior design, kitchen inspiration, kitchen design, copper hood

Until I got a wild hair the other day and said “let’s give it a go and cross every finger and toe it looks good.”  The mere moment I uttered those words my husband immediately set to work making a paste to test the underside.  (He had clearly already researched this.) And it came out ok.

Then came the weekend and we went full in.  If you are looking to clean up anything solid copper I highly recommend this process, it takes a few steps but it’s definitely the way to go.

Here’s what we used:

shining up the copper, how to remove patina from old copper, copper range hood, reclaimed copper, home decor, interior design, kitchen inspiration, kitchen design, copper hood

-Vinegar

-Salt

-Flour

All household items that were FREEE because I had everything on hand already. And bonus points for being non-toxic! Mix 1 cup of vinegar to 1 tablespoon of salt then add enough flour to make a runny-ish paste.

Then you start applying to the copper.  We started with the bottom trim piece just to test the mixture and timing to let it sit.

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We left it to soak for an hour at which point it looked like this.

shining up the copper, how to remove patina from old copper, copper range hood, reclaimed copper, home decor, interior design, kitchen inspiration, kitchen design, copper hood

The longer it sits the more you can see the patina lift onto the paste.  It turns a green/blue color. We opted to try a buffer on it, which worked well but made a mess.

shining up the copper, how to remove patina from old copper, copper range hood, reclaimed copper, home decor, interior design, kitchen inspiration, kitchen design, copper hood

So we continued washing the paste off with a cloth soaked in water.  Here is how it looked after sitting 60 minutes and washing off. We weren’t happy with the amount of copper showing through so we reapplied some paste on the darker spots and let it sit again.  We also applied paste to the upper portion.

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Here it is freshly pasted.  We just brushed it on everywhere and focused heavier on the most dark spots.  Another 60ish minutes later…

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You can see the patina lifting at the top and the trim piece at the bottom is noticeably lighter.  We proceeded to clean it all off and see where we were with the patina.

shining up the copper, how to remove patina from old copper, copper range hood, reclaimed copper, home decor, interior design, kitchen inspiration, kitchen design, copper hood

We buffed and washed and it was still darker on the lower half so we reapplied the paste and let it sit longer.  We repeated that step a few times in order to get an even-ish patina without stripping it all away yet lightening up the copper enough to see it.  And at the end of the process we were left with this!

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A noticeably lighter copper hood with some life still showing. We are both so happy with the way it came out, I wish I had done it years earlier.  Ok babes, you were right, she said begrudgingly.  ; )  My biggest fear was stripping all of the life away and instead we enhanced the life it had.  Now it’s bright enough to highlight the copper material but it’s got enough patina that it is definitely not brand new.

shining up the copper, how to remove patina from old copper, copper range hood, reclaimed copper, home decor, interior design, kitchen inspiration, kitchen design, copper hood

If you are looking to lift some patina, I highly recommend using the paste and playing with the timing it sits, depending on the level of patina your piece has.  Our hood was VERY dark so we let it sit an hour plus and repeated these steps several times to reach the desired result.  And you can’t beat free! This whole project only cost us our time as we had all of the items on hand already.

Just as a reminder here’s the before….

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So dark right?!  You can’t even tell it’s copper.  Now bam, it’s bright and shiny and stands on it’s own.

shining up the copper, how to remove patina from old copper, copper range hood, reclaimed copper, home decor, interior design, kitchen inspiration, kitchen design, copper hood

Have you ever stripped anything copper before?  What method did you use and how did it go? I always love to hear from ya so hit me up in the comments below!

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https://blog.eclectictwist.com/shining-up-the-copper-how-to-remove-patina-from-old-copper/
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2 thoughts on “Shining up the Copper….How to Remove Patina from Old Copper!

    1. Hi Vicki! That was another option we had in the line up to try! We just happened to try the paste first and really liked the way we could control the amount of patina we stripped based on the amount of time it sat so we never got to that one. Thanks for the tip and I will be sure to try the lemon and salt method next time around!

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