Patina and Polish

For A Sparkling Finish

This stained glass tutorial shares expert tips on polishing and applying patina to copper foiled projects. This is the last thing to do before hanging your finished panel up for everyone to admire. It takes a fair bit of effort, but - as always - is worth spending time on to get a sparkling even finish.

Stained glass patina comes in black and copper, with each needing a slightly different process. These instructions concentrate on copper, with additional notes about what to do if using black patina.

What You Need

materials for patina and polishing stained glass

Materials for patina and polishing stained glass

Green scrubby, Q-tips, copper patina, wax polish, soft cloth, toothbrush, all purpose cleaner and paper towels. Access to water.

N.B. Make sure you've got the correct patina. There's different black patina for zinc and solder. Patina doesn't work on lead free solder.

Stained Glass Tutorial - Patina and Polish

1. Cleaning tutorial

It's very important to do this thoroughly to remove any acids from the flux. Baking soda in the water can help reduce the white 'crusting' that sometimes forms. Some people swear by copper sulphate for cleaning.

washing stained glass panel

Scrub stained glass solder clean

- Clean all the flux off the solder with all purpose cleaner. You can buy flux remover for this, but all purpose cleaner works just as well
- Put lots of cleaning fluid one and make sure it froths up
- Go over every solder seam thoroughly. You can use a toothbrush if it helps
- Dry it off with a paper towel
- Your solder should now be silver

2. Polishing tutorial

Next you have to polish the solder. This might seem a bit back-to-front, but I've found the copper patina to take better over polish. It gets rid of any unseen dirt and grime. I use a standard car polish.
If you are using black patina, you don't need to polish at this stage, go straight to 3. below.

polishing stained glass tutorial

Remove dirt and grime with first polish

- Put some polish on a soft rag and rub over the panel
- Keep buffing it up until the black residue all but disappears (where does all that black come from?!)
- If you want your panel silver, you're done!

3. Patina tutorial

Some people have trouble with patina being dull or not 'taking'. This could be down to minerals in the water where you are. If this is the case, try buying distilled water and using it for the final rinse.

stained glass patina on solder

Brushing stained glass patina on to solder

- With a Q-tip or cheap brush, apply the copper patina to the solder seams.
- Don't be mean with the patina, and make sure that you cover every last bit of the solder
- Dry thoroughly with paper towel
- Let the panel air dry before the final polish. I leave mine on my easel so that both sides can dry

4. Final polish

final stained glass patina polish

Final polish of stained glass patina

- Repeat 2. above, but this time let the polish dry before buffing
- Your glasswork will suffer from oxidation in time, sadly there's nothing to be done about that. When this happens, simply repeat these Final Polish instructions to make it as good as new.

finished stain glass panel with copper patina

Finished stained glass panel

Helpful Resources

At 9 minutes, this stained glass tutorial is a bit long, but if you come in at 2mins 30secs you'll hit the most useful bit. It's definitely worth watching.

Stained glass tutorial on patina

You're done! You now have a bright shiny copper masterpiece ready to hang. Congratulations :)

If you'd like to show it off, you can upload it to this site for free. I'd love to see it.




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