Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Sealer for heat-colored copper

Can anyone suggest a sealer for copper that has been colored with
heat (polished copper gets a really lovely purple-blue-orange
case-coloring-like patina when introduced to bushy flame). I had
read that wax works, but when I tried that with a carnuba, it took
the color off. Spray varnish does not appeal to me but am open to
suggestions. These pieces have stones (such as opal and rainbow
hematite) and silver accents.

Thank you!

Dear Roseann, For the longest time we used Incralac a great lacquer
for copper, brass and sterling. The company is located in Piqua, OH
(try this number 800-237-6765 or google search). The lacquer comes
in spray or paint can size. If you get the spray, do not shake the
can as directed, we found it created too many air bubbles. Good
luck… Andrea

You are right that heat-treating copper gives it lovely colors. I
have worked with this as a main design element for several years. I
use a hardwood floor wax containing carnuba, and these are available
at any hardware store. My trick is to warm the wax by scooping a
piece on my fingers before applying and rubbing them together to
make the wax pliable, and then apply only a thin coat. I allow the
wax to set up, buff lightly with a soft brush, reapply at least one
more time, and buff again. Three coats is my preference. I have
pieces that are 8 years old still holding their color and wax.
Another way to apply the wax is to lightly heat the piece (not enough
to change the color you’ve worked so hard to get, of course) and drop
a small chunk of wax on it or dip the piece in the wax itself. This
technique has the advantage of not using a rubbing action, so it
can be helpful if you feel the patina will flake off the piece. This
can apply a little too much wax, however, so for smaller pieces I
tend to use my fingers and dab the wax lightly. I have found that
the color will tend to flake if I have not given it anything to hold
on to, so if you’re having consistent trouble in this area, you may
need to lightly sand or scotch brite the piece to give it some

Orchid rocks!
Donna Blow

Donna, Thanks for this advice! My father and brother have been
making a variety of lamps and heat colored copper has been an
integral and frustrating part of their designs. They love the color
but have been losing it to various coatings. I will definitely pass
this along. Mike