Hammered copper is one of my all time favorite metal finishes. Something about the color of copper and rustic qualities of a hammered finish just seems to add warmth to any setting. Funny though, I don’t come across many pieces when I’m out thrifting. Hmmm? Is it because there just weren’t a lot of hammered copper decor items made? Or is it that all of the copper items are being bought up and sold to the recycling facilities before anyone who actually likes copper can buy them and take then home to enjoy?
Easy faux hammered copper paint technique
I’m going to have to investigate this copper quandary some more, but in the mean time, I wanted to try out an idea for a faux hammered copper paint technique, so while I was out thrifting for a hiking wardrobe (more on that soon), I picked up a few random metal pieces, so that I could try out the paint technique.
Mind you, I was looking for old stock pots, because I thought they would be fitting, but they were plum out, so I found an old aluminum cake pan, a flour sifter, and what I believe to be a chrome dog bowl, though I can’t be sure.
Materials used to create hammered faux copper
The two main paint products I used are listed as option A (but I have since found another product that I like even more and I have listed it as option B):
This post contains affiliate links. Read full disclosure, here.
A can of red oxide primer
And a can of Rustoleum Reflective Finish Copper Specialty Metallic Spray Paint
This foil metallic copper spray paint that gives an even more natural copper metal appearance, as shown here. If you use this foil metallic paint, you won’t need to use the primer.
Note: Because this was an experiment, the picture also shows some crafts paints, but I found that the final pieces looked better without the use of the craft paints.
I also used:
a spray bottle of a vinegar/ water mixture,
some paper towels for dabbing,
and some 400 grit sand paper for sanding.
Paint technique steps for making a hammered copper look
Step 1: I cleaned the pieces really good with a degreasing detergent.
Step 2: I sprayed the pieces with the primer and let dry. Or alternatively, apply the copper foil paint, like this one listed in option B in the materials list, above.
Step 3: I spritzed the pieces with the vinegar water mixture.
Step 4: I sprayed the pieces with the copper spray paint, if I used materials in option A.
Step 5: I dabbed the pieces just a bit with the paper towel and then let dry over night. If you don’t have enough coverage, or just want more coverage, you can repeat this process.
Tip: experiment on an object other than your project piece to get the hang of the process.
This is how it looked the next day before sanding.
Step 6: I sanded the pieces down with the 400 grit sand paper (but not too much) and then wiped with a damp cloth.
I tried to add some patina and age to the pieces with the craft paint, but that just didn’t look right, so I ended up repeating the spray paint and sanding steps.
Notice how the color and sheen look different at different times of the day.
Some of these were taken near sundown.
I really like how the technique turned out, but I wouldn’t say that it could fool anyone at close range. Update, although I will say the “foil metallic” paint (listed as option B in the materials list above) has an even more realistic copper look. I used it on my faux copper painted plastic planters and I found it really had a more realistic metal plated appearance.
However, if you are looking to add a touch of a hammered copper look to some old pots and pans, or perhaps an old lamp, I think this technique would work well.
Having experimented with this technique, I think that I am going to test and try a few more scenarios like perhaps using a antique copper metallic rub over the finished surface, for example.
Does anyone have any ideas on what else might improve this technique? Make it look more realistic? I would love to hear them.
Fools Copper Spray Painted Plastic Planters, read more
Thanks for checking this out and remember that old saying…
Find a penny pick it up, all day long you’ll have good luck ~ Amy
omigosh! I would not have believed you could get such a realistic looking finish with a spray paint! Great job Amy!
Cheryl in Wisconsin says
I like this look and it’s perfectly timed. Think of all the fall & winter vignettes that copper pieces would lend some interest to!
Sherry@Thrift My House says
Looks realistic to me. How do you come up with this stuff!! Great job Amy!
Feral Turtle says
What a great idea….especially with Christmas on its way. I picture sprigs of evergreens and red bows in your flour sifter and dog dish.
chris aka monkey says
they look good amy..may i ask why you didn’t use the hammered copper spray paint? or maybe they don’t have that…i do like what you did with these and like someone said will look fabulous at christmas xx
Tuula @ The Thrifty Rebel says
I love copper, and I think they look fabulous.
Wow! I think that looks pretty awesome! I collected copper for years and finally got rid of most of it….only to find out that Sam took many of the pieces from my garage sale and put them in the shed because he thought I was making a mistake by selling it. Guess he loves copper too! You are the queen of faux lady!!
I know its been some time since you posted this but am trying to DIY some wedding pieces and wondered what the ratio of water:vinegar was!
These are fantastic!
For the mixture, you can go with various ratios and it should still work.
Half water/ half vinegar is what I used. I always like to make a test one to get the feel of how to do it.
Good luck. I’d love to see how it turns out.
Let me know if you have any other questions.
I absolutely love how these turned out! I was googling this specific rustoleum metallic copper spray paint to see what others had done with it. I’m going to do a faux finish on two brass nautical lantern sconces in my family room. Just fyi, I am going to start with a black spray base, and then vinegar, and then the copper, and as soon as I spray the copper over the vinegar, I am going to lightly sponge it all over randomly, to let a small amt of black show through. It looks amazing, and really looks like copper. Thanks for sharing!
Your lantern project sounds intriguing. I wanted to tell you that since this post, I have tried another copper spray paint, and I love it. It has a true metallic look, so I wanted to let you know about it. It’s called Krylon Foil Metallic Copper Spray Paint. Keyword “foil”. If you haven’t shopped for your paint, yet, see if you can find this one. The label will say something like “look of real metal”. I tried it on some planters in this post: https://stowandtellu.com/copper-paint-dipped-planters/, if you want to check it out. This paint should work with fine with the faux hammered technique, as well. Just a suggestion. Good luck on your project. ps: I would love to see a pic when you’re done, but not pressure 😉 Have a great rest of your week. Amy
I like the copper look. I will need to try this technique, your pieces look fabulous.
It looks great – would never had thought to do that with paint!
Would love to invite you to share at Reader Tip Tuesday http://www.jodiefitz.com/2017/10/17/reader-tip-tuesday-weeks-craft-recipe-party-8/
Have a GREAT day & hope to see you at the party (it’s open all week long…_
Donna @ Modern on Monticello says
The final project is gorgeous. I recently have been crushing on copper colored paints and finishes too. Thanks for sharing at #HomeMattersParty
I know im really late to the party but hope you will answer. I’m trying to create some interesting coffee tables for my lounge with two white metal cages I found for a resonable price but they look boring and doesn’t go with our colour scheme. They weren’t that cheap but they worth the money I spent.
So I see there hammered tables in designer stores that I love and goes really well with our decor but we’re really tight on budget. Then I saw this rustoleam hammered copper spray paint on bunnings warehouse shelves and I thought I should may be give it a go. I have never ever done DIY before. So when i was doing more research I found your post and they look so realistic and exactly the look im after. Is there any specific reason why you didn’t the special hammered look paint?
Your project sounds very cool and creative, and I’m sure you want to get it just right, so I’m glad you are doing your homework
The reason I didn’t use the faux hammered copper spray paint that you can buy at the store (that is ready to spray) is that to me, it just doesn’t look like real copper (metal).
The spray paint I used in this project was the Rustoleium Reflective Finish Copper Specialty Metallic (which in my opinion looked more like metal).
The method I was mimicking in this project is similar to a diy mercury glass, like this post: http://www.17apart.com/2012/05/how-to-diy-antiqued-mercury-mirror.html
Check out how she gets a mottled look by using water, vinegar, and paper towels.
Now having said all that, since I did this project, I actually came across a spray paint that looks even more like real metal/ copper and that is the “foil metallic copper spray paint”(affiliate) http://amzn.to/2xBoFod
The keyword being “foil”. This paint looks the most like copper that I have seen and the label even says “plated metal appearance.”
So to sum it up. The pre-mixed “hammered copper” spray paint did not look real, in my opinion. But using the “diy mercury glass” method with a copper FOIL spray paint that looks way more like plated metal (real copper) ended up looking much more realistic.
If I could suggest anything, I would say: Practice or sample the spray paint on something else to see if you like the way the paint looks before you use it on your project. I always try to do a test sample so that I don’t screw up the real project.
Also, I think I found the copper FOIL paint at Michaels or Hobby Lobby. If you test it and don’t like it, bring it back to the store (and hold your head high, lol). Just tell them it didn’t look real enough, or it just didn’t work out. It’s extra work to go back to the store, but hopefully that will keep you on budget
I hoped I explained this correctly. Let me know if you have more questions or need clarification.
Thanks so much and if you have time, email me a picture when you are done. I’d love to see it.
Good luck Maureen!!!
Thank you for this! Great advice! Love your results! I’m going to try the red primer and rustoleum copper paint.
You can also try Krylon Foil Metallic (used in this post: https://stowandtellu.com/copper-paint-dipped-planters/) which I found to be very realistic looking. Good luck and have fun.
David McGuirk says
Looks nice ! Have you ever done something like a larger flat surface ??, such as a door? My wife and I are thinking about doing the doors to our house with a “copper” colored paint and covering it with shiny polyurethane.
I’ve never used this technique on a larger surface. I would suggest doing various tests on smaller pieces of wood to make sure you like the results. Additionally, you can use a faux copper hammered spray paint.