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By Jaclyn Hurley

When exposed to the elements for a length of time, various metals take on a beautiful blue and green verdigris patina, which has recently gained popularity in building designs, landscapes and home decorating projects. However, it takes a good bit of time for this process to occur naturally. There are methods to speed up the process, but some projects may benefit from using a faux finish to imitate the desired look.

Verdigris refers to the color and texture that often forms on the surface of metals such as copper, brass or bronze. Its greenish color has rust-colored spots or blue flecks throughout. The Statue of Liberty is probably the most well-known example of this patina. Many visitors to the statue are surprised that its vivid colors have occurred through a natural process and that it has not been painted.

This naturally occurring patina is produced by oxidation or other chemical processes. Most often, this occurs when metal is exposed to air or seawater, becoming weathered over time. The coloring may develop quickly or may take years, depending on whether the environment is urban or industrial and what elements are found in the area.

This patina has varying shades of beautiful rust, blue and green colors, which have become popular with landscapers, building designers and interior decorators. Developing this finish by exposing metals to the elements takes time. However, landscapers and building designers can factor this process into their project planning. Interior decorators may not have this luxury, as they typically use elements not suitable for outdoor exposure. For these applications, other methods to speed up the process or mimic the desired look may be more appropriate.

Incorporating elements that have a verdigris finish has become an increasing trend in interior design. It is a great way to infuse a bit of color while also adding the rustic charm that has become so popular with many homeowners. To add this finish to indoor elements that cannot be exposed to the weather, designers can either use an artificial process or create a faux finish.

Most artificial methods use only simple household ingredients, such as salt, white vinegar and dish soap. However, there are likely many variations that would result in a suitable verdigris finish. Smaller pieces used throughout the home, such as planters, lamp bases and picture frames, would be perfect for this type of treatment.

It may be best to use a faux finish to mimic this look on large areas or on any items that aren't made from metal. Kits that contain all of the supplies required can often be found in craft centers or home improvement stores. However, blue, green and metallic paints can also be used to achieve the desired effect. This treatment is perfect for kitchen cabinets, headboards and even accent walls.

The trend for using metals in home decorating continues to grow. Incorporating this finish into exterior or interior design projects is an easy way to add a bit of color that has a rustic flare. Deciding on which method to use would depend on the application and the size of the piece.

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