Copper is known for its rich metallic sheen, but the problem is, it is highly prone to looking dull and lifeless after some time, due to oxidation. That’s why it’s very important for a copper surface to be sealed, to protect it from losing its luster. Here are some of the steps you need to do to seal copper.
1. Prepare all your materials. For this project, you will need a metal cleaner, xylene and an applicator, a metal or aluminum pan, cloths, a copper sealant, protective eye goggles and mask, gloves, and blow dryer.
2. Conduct this project at a well-ventilated room. Or better yet, do this outdoors. You should also make sure that you protect yourself with goggles, a nose mask and gloves.
3. Clean the surface thoroughly. It is very important that you do this step well; if you miss a spot, the coating that you will apply later on will bead up and won’t be able to be applied evenly. To clean the surface, you could use commercially available metal cleaners or polishers that you could buy in hardware stores. You could also use denatured alcohol (not isopropyl) in place of metal cleaners, and you could even try out natural metal cleaners made of common household items, such as ketchup, vinegar, and lemon juice. Make sure that you completely wipe away the residue left by the polish, using xylene (available at hardware stores) and a soft, clean cloth. Afterwards, dry the surface using a hair dryer.
4. Apply the metal sealant. You can buy metal sealants at hardware stores. One popular brand you could try out is Everbrite Protective Coating. For an easier and more even application, prepare a metal pan where you could squeeze out some of the sealant. Place the applicator onto the pan and wet it completely and evenly. Make sure that it is not dripping, by squeezing out the excess.
Once you’ve got the applicator ready, apply the sealant onto the copper surface. Limit your application to small areas at a time, using soft and even strokes. Watch out for beading and streaking; if this happens, just clean the surface with the metal cleaner and then apply the sealant again.
Make sure that the applicator glides smoothly onto the surface. If it doesn’t seem to be gliding smoothly, you may need to dip the applicator once again onto the pan with the sealant. Make sure that the applicator is completely covered with the sealant, and that it doesn’t drip.
In case any dripping occurs (specially at a vertical surface), simply wipe out the drip with a clean white cloth and reapply the sealant.
5. Apply more than one coat. Make sure that the surface is completely dry before you apply the next coat. Drying time happens from 5 to 15 minutes.
There you have it! These are the necessary steps to seal copper. Once you’ve done this, you could effectively protect your copper surfaces from oxidation, and it will be much easier to clean the surface simply with soap and water. Good luck, and hope this helped you out!