How to Create Patina on Copper Fixtures. An Easy Tutorial.

This is one of the few times when natural aging is a good thing! Such is patina, that process when copper, left to its own devices, transforms itself from a bright, shiny new penny shade, to a burnished brown, and finally to a distinct green color.

This unique characteristic of copper is completely natural and actually preserves the copper and protects it from the outside elements.

Fixtures in natural copper and brass are a living finish and are intended to change color or patina over time. If you want to speed up the patina process, here is a tutorial on how to get the patina  look you want overnight.

** CAUTION – When handling and applying patina solution, wear gloves and safety glasses. Follow safety instructions carefully on the containers.

Spread newspaper under plant material to protect it. It is best to install pathlight fixtures first, then apply solution. Fixtures should be cleaned to remove oil and dirt with Windex®-type cleaner.


2 parts white vinegar
1 1/2 parts non-detergent ammonia
1/2 part non-iodized salt


•  Clean fixture with soft cloth Windex®-type cleaner to remove oil and dirt.
•  Premix patina solution in Windex-type spray bottle
•  Spray Windex® cleaner on fixture to break surface tension, leaving it on when you apply patina solution.
•  Apply patina solution by spraying onto fixture, preferably in the early evening on a high humidity night.
•  Allow to set for 1 hour, then reapply solution observing where you missed applying on the first coat. If there seems to be oil that is repelling the patina solution, clean it off with the Windex® cleaner.
•  Allow to sit overnight.
•  The result will be a bright green powdery patina. Do not rub off. In time (and re-applications) this finish will become permanent. The brightness will fade with time. To reduce green, cut back on the salt content. Color and effect is greatly affected by application ambient temperature and humidity.

** Courtesy of Unique Lighting Systems

Remember to call Harold at 561.204.3000 for all your LED landscape lighting needs.
– By Harold Salkin
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