Have a bit of fun playing around with verdigris paint effects and add classical highlights to your summer garden.
Verdigris is the green or greenish-blue patina that naturally occurs over time when bronze, brass or copper is exposed to air or seawater and becomes weathered over time. Typically seen on old metalwork and cast statues, verdigris conjures images of grand European architecture, fabulous old statues and water features in stately gardens by the sea.
The verdigris touches in my garden are on a rather more humble scale – and achieved using a four-step paint effect that I found became easier to apply the more I experimented with it. I was so happy when I recently spied some spare piping and a curly metal bar stool in a kerbside skip.
Our old villa came with an equally old garden – including some truly ancient, misshaped and unruly roses in dire need of training and support to stop them breaking in the wind. My aim is not to kill these lovely old shrubs and my new verdigris arch and four-pronged objet d’art will be just the thing to help prop up one old rose and start training another into a better shape.
Next up, the front gates got a coat of metallic green and a subtle verdigris treatment. I’m on a roll!
What have I discovered along the way? As with any paint effect there’s a certain amount of fakery involved, so for the most convincing look it’s best to limit your projects to outdoor items where verdigris naturally occurs. It also makes sense to only apply the effect to surfaces that are, or could reasonably be, metal.
Ceramics are okay, but resist the temptation to try verdigris techniques on a chunky table or chest of drawers that have obviously been made using wood. That wrought iron garden table and chair set you acquired a few years ago that’s now looking a bit dull or dated? Perfect!
The verdigris effect also works best on textured surfaces with deep indentations, so bear this in mind when choosing your object to paint. Keep an eye out for unwanted plumbing pipes or other scrap metal objects that you can upcycle this way. Let the fun begin!
Step 1 Buff your object with a wire brush or sandpaper. Wash off dust or debris and apply a light coat of Resene Galvo-Prime primer. Allow to dry.
Step 2 Paint with a Resene metallic in your chosen shade of copper, bronze or brass. For small items you can use Resene testpots. Allow to dry. Choose a bright metallic such as Resene Bullion for a sparkly final effect.
Step 3 Dab on blue and a green paint in Resene shades of your choice. Before the surface is fully dry, rub over with a dry (or if necessary a damp cloth), to soften the effect and reveal the metallic undertone.
Step 4 Using a old toothbrush and a little white paint, watered down, flick on a few spots of white. Spray with water to create a drizzled effect. Add more, or rub more off to get the look you want. You need to work quickly at this stage before the paint dries.
Words and styling Sarah Heeringa. 2014
Good magazine projects
Wanting to tackle a project at your place but only have a weekend to spare? Get inspired with these projects from Good magazine. Reclaim and upcycle with paint.