What Is Verdigris?

What is Verdigris? A definition of the faux finishing term, Verdigris. The technique of Verdigris has been used by some of the greatest sculptors. It's fairly easy to use. Our expert, Lu Goodwin Mark, owner...

The technique of Verdigris has been used by some of the greatest sculptors. It's fairly easy to use. Our expert, Lu Goodwin Mark, owner and director of Austin School of Faux Finishes at Design Center of Austin, says it makes for an antiquated look.


"Verdigris, in decorative painting, is a faux finish that imitates the natural oxidation process of metallic copper. Faux Verdigris can be achieved by observing real oxidized copper and reproducing the look with paint or plaster. There are many relatively easy products that can create wonderful and fun metallic surfaces," Mark says.




According to the website, finefinishingfurniture.com, Verdigris means "the green of Greece." This is the color that copper and bronze will eventually obtain after receiving any type of moisture. The State of Liberty is a perfect example of Verdigris.

Verdigris works great on latex and acrylic. The technique of creating Verdigris is the same as faux granite, but with these colors: A black or dark brown base color. Raw umber is a good choice to use. Using a blue-green color works nice too. Light blue-green and rust are also good color choices. To achieve a light blue-green color add some white and a touch of yellow to a dark blue-green color. For rust, add a little orange and white to the color burnt sienna brown.

To achieve the look of Verdigris paint your project with a straight paint first, either black or umber. The look of Verdigris has a scaly appearance so you don't have to worry about prepping the surface of your artwork.

Make sure your base paint dry isn't too wet when trying to apply color over it. If it is, you can get a clumpy effect. Use a sponge for faux granite to apply the blue-green. A sponge with fine pores works great. You can use straight paint for all of the colors. Apply the color covering about 70 percent of the base color.

Follow right on top with the lighter version. Squeeze the sponge randomly to get some texture variation. In the end, apply some rust color with a clean sponge.

Verdigris works well on furniture, picture frames, metal tables and chairs, baker's racks, fireplace utensils and screens, and small items like candlesticks. Some good advice is before starting your Verdigris project, buy a book that can show you the step-by-step process. You can obtain this type of resource at your local craft store. It should also have all the materials you need to get started.

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