A paint brush has been my best friend this summer. (when isn’t it, really?) I have painted our entire exterior of our home, twice, by myself. That doesn’t include the furniture pieces I have done as well. I guess that makes me a lean, mean, paintin’ machine…or just plain nuts. ahem.
One of the changes I wanted to do was to fix up an old aluminum awning on our back door with a DIY aged copper patina. Totally 1950’s style, ugly awning. And, while I was at it, I thought I would also dress up an aluminum window box I took off the front of our home and was planning to put on our shed. Nothing goes to waste around here.
Since our home is taking on a more rustic appeal, I wanted to give these metal items an earthy look. In my mind, there was no other way to go than an aged copper look. You know, the lovely copper color with a green cast to it…oooh…perfect patina.
This time, though, a spray paint and a rag are my best friends. Follow along and I’ll show you how to make anything; wood, metal, plastic, into a faux tarnished copper piece.
I have really come to love the newer Rustoleum spray paint products with all the different metals…hammered, aged, and rustic, and it sticks to anything. Right away I knew I wanted to use their Aged Copper spray paint. These cans are great! You can spray in any angle, whether upside down or not, the flow never cuts off (unless it needs shaken).
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Getting all the chippy paint off and giving it a good cleaning was the first step. I had no idea what the top looked like before I took it down. Geesh.
Next I sprayed like none other. (Make sure to do this in a well-ventilated area!!)
Tip: When spraying a surface or object, make sure you begin spraying before you hit the piece and continue until you’re off the piece – working in back-and-forth motions. This will give a nice even look.
Here’s after only the first coat.
After 3 coats (which took 3 full cans to do both awning top & underside + flower box), allowing for drying time in between, I was ready for the next step.
Most aged copper not only has that awesome bluish-green cast to it, but it also gets a dark mottling or splotchy marks. So, in order to achieve that look, I took dark gray paint and thinned it with a little water, then took an old t-shirt rag and dipped it in. I pounced all over and under the awning and window box, making it as random as possible, and darker in some places than others.
Once that coat dried, I dipped my gloved fingers back into the thinned gray paint and flicked splotches all over in a random manner. Tapping it lightly with a rag so the drops didn’t look round. That extra bit really gave it a true aging look.
My end idea was to get an in-process copper aging, not a completely green color. In order to do that, I took a minty green paint and thinned it like the gray paint earlier. This time I did a glazing; wiping it all over and then wiping it off with a cotton cloth leaving a little behind here and there – all the while giving it a that luscious green color cast.
Just simply wipe it on with a generous amount, allowing it to fill in any nooks and crannies.
Then gently wipe off, leaving a washed layer behind.
Because I knew my awning was going to take a lot of weather abuse, I also decided to give it a top coat with a matte sealer to give it a bit more life. (I really didn’t want to have to take it down and redo it any time soon – remember, I’ve been painting for months!!) I did not extra coat the flower box, because it would be out of the weather.
See those specks that create that natural weathered look?
Here they are put back into place and adding a rustic touch to the exterior of our home.
I like the effect the awning gives and it still serves as a functional part of our home.
Here’s the underside that I see all the time.
I love the look and am so glad I have the ability to do these types of treatments myself with just a bit of time and paint.
Our sweet little shed now is ready to be dressed up and the box adds that extra homey touch.
Yes, I realize there are no flowers in the “flower box”, but I haven’t had a lick of time to do anything but paint. tsk. Soon they’ll be some planted.
I also did the same finish to the metal roof on the cupola on our garage and the top of our whole house vent. All this bit of extra effort creates a coordinating blend from the front of the house to the rear where the awning is.
Here’s a little ditty I sang to myself while up there: (didn’t know I sing while I work, did you? tsk.)
“Up on the housetop, Mama paints.
It’s all good until she faints.
Give her a hammer with lots of nails.
She’ll come down when the kiddies wail.”
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Now onto our shutters and window boxes for the rest of the house. sigh. Maybe I’ll show you how to do that too…if you say pretty please! I will share before and after photos of our home when and if we ever get it done, so become a follower to see the progress.
Give this finish a try…I know you’ll LOVE it!!
More makeover project for you: