John @ AZ DIY Guy
John @ AZ DIY Guy
  • Hometalker
  • Phoenix, AZ

Easy Patina Copper Cactus With Kitchen Ingredients

11 Materials
$40
1 Hour
Medium

This fun project is a homage to my adoptive state of Arizona, also known as the Copper State. One of our most recognizable symbols is the mighty saguaro cactus. I created this decorative project with soldered copper plumbing parts and and made it patina overnight into beautiful turquoise and brown shades
easy patina copper cactus with kitchen ingredients, crafts, gardening, home decor, kitchen design, painting, thanksgiving decorations
I started by cutting and dry-fitting copper tubing into the various T fittings and elbows I'd need to create the cactus. One was 1/2" pipe, the other was 3/4". I cleaned the joints with a wire brush and applied a thin layer of plumbers flux on the mating surfaces.
easy patina copper cactus with kitchen ingredients, crafts, gardening, home decor, kitchen design, painting, thanksgiving decorations
I carefully heated the fittings until the flux began to sizzle.
easy patina copper cactus with kitchen ingredients, crafts, gardening, home decor, kitchen design, painting, thanksgiving decorations
Touching the seams with an extended piece of solder at the right heat melts the silvery metal and draws it into the joint.
easy patina copper cactus with kitchen ingredients, crafts, gardening, home decor, kitchen design, painting, thanksgiving decorations
After a few back-to-back soldered joints, I'd cool and clean the piece with a damp rag. I continued the process with the larger, 3/4" cactus.
easy patina copper cactus with kitchen ingredients, crafts, gardening, home decor, kitchen design, painting, thanksgiving decorations
Now it's magic time. I made a concoction of vinegar and salt, close to a 50 / 50 mix.
easy patina copper cactus with kitchen ingredients, crafts, gardening, home decor, kitchen design, painting, thanksgiving decorations
That delightful potion got poured over the work pieces and soaked into a good wrapping of damp paper towels.
easy patina copper cactus with kitchen ingredients, crafts, gardening, home decor, kitchen design, painting, thanksgiving decorations
While the soaking pieces sat outside for a while, I cut and toasted a scrap piece of butcher block with my torch to make a base.
easy patina copper cactus with kitchen ingredients, crafts, gardening, home decor, kitchen design, painting, thanksgiving decorations
I drilled some planting holes and gave the wood a coat of spray lacquer.
easy patina copper cactus with kitchen ingredients, crafts, gardening, home decor, kitchen design, painting, thanksgiving decorations
With the based masked off, I painted the surface with wood glue and dumped on some desert dirt, from our obliging front yard,
easy patina copper cactus with kitchen ingredients, crafts, gardening, home decor, kitchen design, painting, thanksgiving decorations
After the copper had soaked for a while, it started to gray a little. While it was still wet I gave it a coating of salt before leaving it overnight in the garage.
easy patina copper cactus with kitchen ingredients, crafts, gardening, home decor, kitchen design, painting, thanksgiving decorations
The next morning was magical. The colors continued to deepen throughout the day.
easy patina copper cactus with kitchen ingredients, crafts, gardening, home decor, kitchen design, painting, thanksgiving decorations
I finally locked the colors in with a coat of spray urethane and planted the beasts in the base with a good dose of hot glue.
easy patina copper cactus with kitchen ingredients, crafts, gardening, home decor, kitchen design, painting, thanksgiving decorations
The colors turned out incredible. It was a super easy project and only took about an hour of actual work time to build. It took a couple days to complete due to the drying time and the time for the magical elixir to do its work.
easy patina copper cactus with kitchen ingredients, crafts, gardening, home decor, kitchen design, painting, thanksgiving decorations
Check out the whole story with a whole lot more detail and pictures in the blog post. I'd love to hear what you think. I wonder, what other copper creations can we give this salty, overnight aging treatment to?
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John @ AZ DIY Guy

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 7 questions
  • Lyn
    4 hours ago

    What’s the size of it?

  • Harriette
    3 hours ago

    Love these. Look authentic. Can this mixture do the same thing to tin cans? I've saved some to make rusty and just think it might work.

  • Kate Webster
    31 minutes ago

    Thought this was to make marble effect ? .

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