Krylon to finish copper

by Bonnie jo Kyles

Does Krylon matte finish work well to protect copper from tarnishing or do you recommend some other finish? Does it work to spray the coating on an entire piece that has semiprecious gemstones such as sodalite or aventurine? I've made some pendants that I don't want to tarnish.
Thank you!

Stacy's Answer:

Hi Bonnie!

I think the Krylon would work just fine for pendants. I know quite a few people who use it and are happy with the results. I prefer Permalac, but that's just my personal choice. I would not recommend spraying your gemstones, especially with a matte finish. A matte finish on metal gives more of a rustic or brushed look and since most gemstones are highly polished, a matte finish would ruin that. I use both a shiny finish and a matte finish lacquer depending upon the look I want the piece to have. I prefer a matte finish on the colored patinas. To me shiny just doesn't look quite right! :)

If you can't find your lacquer in a liquid form, try spraying some into a plastic bowl with super slick sides. Keep the nozzle close to the plastic bottom so you have more of a solid spray and not the tiny spray mist of lacquer which could dry out quickly. Then, using a soft natural bristle brush, like an eye-makeup brush, apply the lacquer only where you want it. A Q-tip or cotton swab would probably work well also.

I recommend also that you dip your piece in Acetone (fingernail polish remover) first to remove any oils, etc. on the metal's surface that could interfere with the lacquer adhering properly. It will not harm patinas, but could damage porous gemstones like pearls, turquoise and corals. If there's any doubt, simply dab the acetone on the metal using a cotton swab.

Comments for Krylon to finish copper

Click here to add your own comments

Jul 22, 2010
How much lacquer to use
by: Bonnie

How can I reach every bit of the copper surfaces on my pendant, especially the insides of the coils that encase the stones? Should I put more than one layer of lacquer on? What about bracelets and rings? How many layers should I do on those? How long before the lacquer wears off?

Stacy's Answer:

All good questions Bonnie! But there is no easy or pat answer for any of them. You can reach all surfaces by simply dipping the piece in lacquer. If you've got stones incorporated into the wire work too or lots of moving parts, you've got yourself quite the challenge!

You may use a soft natural bristle brush to apply the lac, taking care not to paint or drip the lac where you don't want it like on the gemstones. Sometimes it's possible to lacquer the components then assemble the piece.

How long does it last? That depends upon many things. Like the type of lacquer you use. How many coats and how those coats were applied. Was the surface prepared properly before the lacquer was applied? How often the piece is worn and slid off and on. The wear and tear and constant rubbing. The body chemistry of the wearer and even the weather ? dry, humid, etc. ? can make a difference in how long a protective coating lasts.

For "higher traffic" areas - a lot of friction or rubbing ? I use 2 coats where on a say, "low traffic" earring dangle, one will do nicely. Sometimes I just leave the copper without anything on it! Depends on why I feel it may warrant a coat of lacquer or wax.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Patinas and Protective Finishes Q & A.