How to Make Patina Paints

A patina is the sheen on the surfaces of wood and metal that comes from age and use. On metal the patina is caused by oxidation and it is especially noticeable on copper and bronze and looks like a green film. On wood, patina is solely the result of age and use. It is usually the most important aspect of antique furniture and cannot be recreated by paint. Once sanded off, the patina on wood will not come back until the amount of time that formed the original patina has passed again. Since you cannot truly replicate the patina on wood, most patina paint is used on metal surfaces to create the illusion of oxidation and age.

No, it's not an green alien's foot, it's just an oxidixed metal statue with a nice patina.

Step 1

Sand the metal surface until all existing paint is gone.  Clean the surface of dust and other particles with a cloth towel and water.

Step 2

Buff the target surface for the primer with industrial cleaner and steel wool.  Apply the primer to the target surface with either a spray can or a paintbrush. If using water-based paint because of the manufacturer's instruction, use clear sealer to seal the paint after application. 

Step 3

Apply metallic surfacer with a paintbrush evenly over the target surface after the primer has dried.  Let the metallic surfacer dry and apply a second coat.

Step 4

Apply the antiquing solution while the second coat of metallic surfacer is still wet.  This allows the antiquing solution to have a chemical reaction with the metal flakes in the metallic surfacer, which creates the patina effect. This reaction will develop over a 10- to 15-minute time span; if the desired effect is reached before the reaction is complete, spray the clear sealer over it to stop the reaction and preserve the appearance. 

Things You Will Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Cloth towels
  • Steel wool
  • Industrial strength cleaner
  • Primer paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Metallic surfacer
  • Antiquing solution
  • Clear sealer
  • Respirator


  • Make sure you choose the proper primer paint for the surface you are painting. Read the manufacture's instructions on the label.
  • If the antiquing solution turns black when reacting with the metal flakes, paint over it with primer and repeat the process in steps 3 and 4 using a diluted antiquing solution. Mix water with the antiquing solution to dilute it.


  • Wear a respirator when working with paints and chemicals to avoid inhaling harmful chemicals.

About the Author

Robert Gomez has experience in the insurance and construction industries. He also designed the website for Unified Health Solutions, as well as other marketing materials such as brochures and business cards. Gomez is pursuing an Associate of Arts in English literature from Cuesta College.

Photo Credits

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