Painted Verdigris Patina

Faux Painting Technique to Simulate Aged Copper

A Classy Faux Finish For Any Garden Art Object

Verdigris patina explanation

This easy-to-do simulated aged copper or verdigris faux painting technique only requires a few colors, a paint brush and a little free handed flair.

It is accomplished by layering different colors over one another using the daubing technique discussed in my how-to article: Daubing: Simple Step-by-Step Instructions

For this teaching example I’ll use one of my faux painted plant containers. Let me mention that if you looked at actual verdigris patinas formed on different metal objects, you’d see it can vary quite a bit … from a very light turquoise coloration to a dark green coloration, which I chose to do on my container.

Faux means ‘fake’ so you certainly can play with the coloration, if you like.

I’ve included more verdigris colors for your reference.

Coloration Samples

By the way … my painted verdigris finish has held up quite well. As a matter of fact the planter stays outside 12 months of the year and looks as good as the day I finished painting it. That’s because I always use 2-3 clear coats of protective paint for all my outdoor garden art objects.

Faux Painting Technique Guidelines

All Right … Let’s Learn How To Do This Great Aged Copper Faux Finish

Verdigris Project Colors:

  • Base coat: Paint your garden art object light beige
  • Bottom layer color: Dark green
  • Other layered colors: Medium green & light green
  • Highlights: Copper paint; light bluish-grey paint

**Note: I tend to go around a container a few times as I apply each layer of color. I do this as I’d rather apply the paint more on the sparse side than on the too heavy side. I feel it’s easier to add more paint than it is to paint over areas with all new layers of color.

Apply this faux painting technique to the inside of the container. I normally paint down about 4 inches or so from the rim. This gives a more finished look to a planted container. (The potting soil normally will be filled up 2 inches or less from the top edge of the container.)

Close up of Verdigris painted technique

For visual guidance before you attempt this faux painting technique, click on this photo to view an enlarged image of my verdigris painted container.

**Please understand that when viewing the enlarged image, the verdigris doesn’t look very believable … that’s because it is
way too close up! The enlarged photo is ONLY meant to help you get an idea of how to apply the painted layers.

Faux Verdigris Project Steps

How to Paint a Verdigris Finish

  1. If necessary, paint your object with a light beige base coat. A neutral color is best so as not to interfere with the layered colors.
  2. Using the dark green paint, start at the bottom of the pot and daub upwards, diagonally.
  3. Cover approximately 85% of the surface with this first color-layer, letting some of the base color show through.
  4. After the dark green dries a little, daub on some slightly watered down med. green and light green paints. Alternate between the two colors. Build one color over the other in a few spots; and vice versa. Let it dry a little; stand back and look at the container from all areas. Add more daubs of one or the other color where needed.
  5. You may want to add a few daubs here and there of dark green to tone down the lighter colors.
  6. Let these layers dry a bit and then daub on the copper color, randomly, here and there. You want to simulate the look of “untarnished” copper showing through. This adds realism to the finished planter.
  7. Let this dry. Walk away from this project – give yourself a while before you return and look at it with “fresh” eyes. Review what you’ve painted. Any spots that stand out to you or just don’t look “real”? Maybe the color is too bright/dark for your liking? Touch-up/re-color as needed.
  8. To give this faux verdigris finish a final touch of realism, lightly brush on a watered down light-bluish-grey paint here and there on the object. This gives a look of the “dusty” looking patina that forms on real copper. Again, refer to the enlarged photo of my container. **Hint: Immediately after I brushed on this color, I blotted some off with a crumpled paper towel … it helped soften the effect and made it look even more realistic.
  9. Let your item dry thoroughly. Give it a day or two. Then, apply at least 2-coats of a clear acrylic or urethane finish. I use a spray paint for this step. Allow the clear coats to dry another couple of days.

That’s it. If you follow these steps, I am sure you’ll have a successful outcome to your project.  And remember … it’s only paint! If you don’t like the results, then paint over everything with a neutral color and start over.

I’ve done this more than a few times myself. Honest 🙂
We might not be able to “hit a home run” everytime with our color choices. It’s OK …

Use your imagination. What other objects can you transform with this wonderful faux painting technique?


  1. 48″t, 67″w , 33″d concert outside water fountain
    It has been painted before with Rust-Oleum brown and highlighted with green patina. I painted the bottom a light turquoise color. I want to use a greenstone patina for the whole fountain including the bottom. What do I start with and where do I purchase the patina.

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