Monday, December 10, 2012

My New & Nutty Copper Patina!

I've been spending every spare moment Christmas crafting over here for the past week or two, so brace yourselves for a minor deluge of craft posts doused in glitter, fake greenery and PURE JOY. (Or possibly frustration, if you're like me and not so good with wiring things onto fake greenery. [Why is everything so slippery, and why do I keep poking myself?! ARG!] But that's for another post.)

First up, lots of you suggested that I patina my last nutcracker - the one that looked so terrible after I tried painting it white - so I decided to give that a go. I haven't tried this finish since my seahorse tutorial, so this time I went with a slightly more colorful approach:

I also steampunked him out a bit by adding goggles, a gear emblem, and faux rivets.

The goggles are made from two thin slices of a pencil (I used my Dremel to cut them off) and a thin strip of leather:

I glued these to his hat, and then used a paint product called "Beads In A Bottle" to make the rivets. I think it worked pretty well, and the four-pack with gold, silver, copper, and black was only about $9 at JoAnn's. (Link goes to Amazon, where it's cheaper.) I'm sure I'll be using this stuff a lot more in the future!

This actually isn't a bad look with the white and silver, but my paint job was still beyond salvaging, so on to the copper spray paint!

I didn't take process photos of the patina, but I did everything essentially the same as my seahorse statue, with one major change: after the copper base coat, instead of spraying the statue black and then rubbing it down with mineral spirits, I just used a wine red acrylic paint, painting it on and wiping it off again with a rag - no spirits needed. This gave the statue a more iron-rusted look under the teal patina streaks, and also makes it more colorful and less grungy-looking:

I used less of the teal wash, too, since I wanted more of the red-washed copper to show. I know it's not terrible realistic, but I still think it's a pretty convincing metal illusion. What do you guys think?

Aaand one last beauty shot:

I'm off to take pictures of more of my finished crafts, so stay tuned!

Oh! And while I'm talking nutcrackers, can I just say how fun it is to see all YOUR versions? Here are just a few that you guys have sent in:

Nadia used glitter, star gems, and rhinestones to accent her gold and silver nutcrackers:

And Amanda A. found some extra tiny nutcracker ornaments from Walmart, which she decked out with glitter, keys, and *wings*!

Those wings are brilliant. I wish I had some big ones to stick on my guys!

And finally, my friend Darla of Bakingdom painted her nutcrackers in dreamy pastels, and then turned them into art pieces to hang on her wall!

Go here to see her full tutorial, and also to see the rest of Darla's decorations, which you must - MUST - see. Everything's so bright and sweet and glittery that it makes me despair of ever having decorating chops even half as good. I love/hate you, Darla, seriously. Come decorate my house next year? [Bambi eyes]

Hope you all had a great weekend! And please keep sharing your holiday crafts and decorations over on the Epbot FB page - it really brightens my day, seeing what my geek peeps are up to!


  1. Bring on the Christmas craft ideas! I was going to try this on a bunch of lame wood ornaments for a steamy tree this year, but I've had only mediocre luck with the balls and garland I had planned so I shelved it all for a bit. I will definitely be doing this now though.

  2. I LOVE IT!! He looks so awesome all patina-ed! :)

  3. These.Are.Fabulous! I'm so going to the dollar store now to see what I can find!

  4. Personally, I'm not all that into nutcrackers but I am really digging this patina'ed one! It's got an awesome look to it. :)

  5. I did all my Christmas crafts in November so I wouldn't spend my December so stressed and busy but you make me want to do more! I don't usually like nutcracker, but this is definitely going on my idea list for next year. Next year I plan to have more of a color theme; I think teal and silver (or bronze) nutcracker would look excellent on my mantle.

  6. I like it, but perhaps something could make the goggles stand out more? I didn't even notice they were there until you pointed them out. some sort of green lens maybe?

  7. Jen, whenever you are using a metallic paint, you need a colored undercoat, be it paint or leafing or bronzing pigments. Copper is a deep red, Gold is burnt umber, silver is blue-grey. Ths undercoat adds depth to the top metallic color. Without the undercoat, the metallic looks flat.

  8. Thank you for his Nutcracker inspiration!!! My 19yr old son has collected them since he was 6 , and WOW if I made one like yours he would be floored! I actually would have to make at least 12 one for him, me, and all those in my extended family who love steampunk and make their costumes and such during the year. I am quite sure they would try to steal my sons if I didn't! I love the pantina look, but also Amanda A's winged nut crackers! They remind me of a Doctor Who with these winged metal looking nutcrackers and making them into a twisted unique characters, like they did to the Weeping Angels. I am truly inspired


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