How to: SpecialistFinishes – Painted Brass


Cait is decorative painter working throughout UK and teaching from her studio in Perth, Scotland. You can see her work and connect with her on social media; Twitter and Instagram or Facebook.

Metallics have been a great favourite with Interior Designers for a few years and this year there’s more interest in patinated metallics. These are fun finishes to do and are a great finish over Anaglypta, Lincrusta or other textured surfaces. We’ve also done finishes like this on smooth surfaces, furniture and baths to great effect but textures are more forgiving and do a lot of the work for you.

Verdigris occurs on Brass, Copper and Bronze and is a reaction caused by acids on the metals. Copper is the colour that is most often carried out as a faux finish so I thought it would be nice to show this finish in a different metal.

Depending on the substrate, we would normally start with a coat of tinted primer (tinted grey), then our favourite metallics are Roberson’s Liquid Metals. The Liquid Metals are water based and very quick drying. Over a textured substrate you lose the roller marks you get very easily with metallics, over a flat area then we stipple using “The Woolie” which is shown in the picture but you could use a stippling brush.

Basecoat – Blackened Bronze
Over the Blackened Bronze I sponged on two colours – Renaissance Gold and Brass. The Brass on its own looks too green but the combination of all 3 gives a great aged metallic look, with the blackened bronze adding depth. It’s very hard to photograph the finish on the texture so I have shown it done on a flat sample too so you can see what you are aiming for.

The patina colours are next; you could make them bluer or greener than I have. To create the most realistic patination look you want to have contrast between the patination colours being as matt as possible and have this play off the glitz of the metallic. We use General Finishes Milk Paint because:

  1. it works
  2. they have good colours for patinating
  3. it’s a high adhesion product so will work over any product.

We use Persian Blue for a bluer look or Patina Green for a greener one. In this instance we’ve used Persian Blue. I adulterate this colour to get 2 different tones and thin them to a single cream consistency. If this is to be carried out on a high traffic area, thin with a matt varnish rather than water –

Tone #1 – Persian Blue itself
Tone #2 – Persian Blue and Antique White added to make it very pale.

I use a natural sponge to work these onto the surface, sponging and in this instance dribbling the colours over the surface. I then remove blot with a bit of cheesecloth.

You can get different looks with different metallics and playing with tones of Verdigris type colours. Have fun!

Robersons Liquid Metal and General Finishes Milk Paint are available from
Cheesecloth and “The Woolie” are available at

Reproduced from The Professional Painter and Decorator Summer 2019 issue

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