Creating Faux Aged Copper

I found a beautiful, vintage mirror on Facebook Marketplace and it's sat in storage for months waiting to be added to our guest bath which I've been putting off for far too long. A couple days ago, I decided to complete the full bathroom makeover in one weekend so that meant it was time to bring out the mirror!



I want to give this bathroom the feel of a vintage conservatory and I think it would be so cool to create an aged copper look for the frame of the mirror.


Full disclosure, this project was total trial and error and I just kept trying different techniques and colors until I got what I was looking for. There was no plan, only an end goal. But I'll walk you through the steps I took and the technique I used to achieve my final results.

Before we go further, here's a mini mood board for my conservatory bathroom so you can see what we're going for:


The frame was painted a nice metallic gold when I got it so I started by spraying it with a Rust-oleum copper spray paint and then lightly going over that after it was dry with a Rust-oleum hammered copper spray paint. I honestly don't feel like there was a big difference between the hammered and non-hammered paints so if I was doing this again, I'd skip one of those.




Next, I used a little Rub n Buff in Gold Leaf to bring some shine back to the mirror. I wasn't super happy with how the copper paint turned out and felt it made the mirror look flat and cheap, but I knew I wasn't done with it so I trusted the process.




My favorite part of aged copper is that deteriorating blue/green. I happened to find a pair of peacock bookends on Facebook Marketplace earlier that week that had a perfect blue aging effect I wanted to recreate. The peacocks definitely had a more gold base rather than copper which had me wishing I'd skipped the copper paint and left it gold, but it was too late at this point.



I basically needed an almost toothpaste-blue so I mixed a little up with different blue and green paints I already had on hand and added water to make my mixture very thin.



I went section by section and started by blotting my dipped brush on some paper towel. Then I lightly brushed/dabbed my paint over the frame and immediately rubbed/blotted away my paint leaving only a small amount in the details. I tried to vary the intensity of the blue on different areas to create a more realistic and natural look of age.






Once that was dry, I added a little more green to my paint mixture and repeated the process, but more sparingly just to create a little color variation.




To tone it all down and give an overall weathered look, I lightly glazed the entire piece. This wasn't a drastic change so I don't know if this step was entirely necessary. After the glaze I went back in with the Gold Leaf Rub n Buff, but only used a small amount here and there because I wanted the piece to stay pretty dark.



I was getting close at this point, but it wasn't quite what I wanted so I headed to Pinterest and looked up more pictures of aged copper statues. One thing that stuck out to me on the photos I liked most was a mossy effect so I looked through my paint stash again and mixed up a dark, gray-green color (again with a little water) and pretty much did a wash of that over the entire frame (going section by section and wiping/blotting away as I went).



This made a big difference and I loved how it blended into the toothpaste-blue. I even warmed up to the copper paint at this point and was very happy with the overall result.




It was so satisfying to peel back the paper on my mirror and see the finished look! It's totally giving "forgotten antique discovered in an abandoned victorian greenhouse" and I love it for my vintage conservatory bathroom.


You can check out the full bathroom makeover here.