Easy Faux Copper Finish on Old Tub

2 Materials
In an antique store on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, I spied and swooned over an antique copper wash tub. But I just wasn’t sure I wanted to plunk down $120 for a tub not knowing what treasures awaited as this was the first of 10 days of antique/junk store visiting.
You know what I mean, it was just the first day of our trip and what if….? So, when I discovered a sad little metal tub (complete with painted duck) for all of $10, I was confident that I could jazz it up to look very similar to the authenic copper one and still have spending money for the rest of our travels.
This was a seriously simple project that also fell into the almost ‘immediate gratification’ category as well. A complete win-win, if you ask me. When I went to Amazon to get some paint as I had recently used up what I already had, I discovered a different brand that also had a related primer product, Modern Masters. I opted to go that route to make sure that my faux copper finish efforts weren’t for naught if the paint didn’t adhere to the surface. And while I did not want to go the oxidized route, they do have an oxidizing solution if you want your copper ‘thing’ to have that beautiful verdigris.

What you Need to Put a Faux Copper Finish on a Tub:

This is the link for the exact primer Modern Masters AM203-16 Acid Blocking Primer Red, 16-Ounce . (When I was putting this link in I realized that Amazon’s images/descriptions may be off. The picture for the Red shows the white primer and vice versa. I used the Red)

This is the link for the paint I used Modern Masters ME149-06 Reactive Metallic Copper, 6-Ounce .

Orbital Sander. This just makes every job so much easier, but regular old sand paper will work as well.

Small sponge roller. My go-to tool to avoid brush strokes.

Paint for handles. I used DecoArt Lamp Acrylic Paint and DecoArt Americana Glorious Gold.

How to Put a Faux Copper Finish on a Tub:

Depending on what you are working with, you might need to give your item a good sanding. I definitely wanted to do this as the existing finish was a bit rough and I wanted my copper finish to be much smoother.
After I finished sanding, I wiped the whole thing down well with a damp rag and let it dry.

Now came the fun part. I used my foam roller to apply 2 coats of the primer. The directions instructed that you wait 12 hours between coats, so…being the rule follower , I waited 12 hours…OK…maybe 10!
ust applying the primer made a HUGE difference and I was already feeling very good about my project. But now it was time for the REAL stuff…the copper paint.

I used my same sponge roller, which I had cleaned, and applied 2 coats of the Modern Masters Copper Paint, letting it dry well between each coat. The directions did not specify an amount of time to let it dry, but I went about 8 hours between coats.

Finally, I spiffed up the black metal and wood handles. I used DecoArt Glorious Gold for the metal brackets and DecoArt Lamp Black for the wooden handles.
I gave the entire tub a good spray of Krylon Clear Acrylic Spray.
Suggested materials:
  • Primer and Paint   (Amazon)
  • Deco Art Paint in gold and black   (Michaels)
Lynn @ Nourish and Nestle
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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  2 questions
  • Ann Ann on Sep 17, 2016
    Was it originally a copper tub? If so did you think about just stripping it down to the copper? I like how it looks. Thanks for sharing.

  • Randi Randi on Sep 17, 2016
    Approximate total cost of project? Love it and will be hitting up thrift stores to find a pot.

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  • Maureen Maureen on Oct 05, 2016
    Great job...looks like real copper!!!!

  • Venia5578 Venia5578 on Oct 09, 2016
    LOVE IT !!! I was just trying to think of sumthin to place wood/logs n 4 roasting marshmallows this fall/winter season ( Hurricane stay away , cool air I'm ready 4 ya. lol) Thx 4 the faux copper wash tub idea.