Aged Copper Kitchen Backsplash

I decided to try to get some finish work done in the kitchen. We brought in the piece of copper I bought from a craigslist ad ($65) from storage and I didn’t want it to get it beat up and moved from place to place. I wanted to get the stove hood installed and out of the way too.

The copper had some staining on it that I couldn’t get off and it seemed a bit too shiny so I decided I’d like to age it. I found some good information on aging copper and decided the easiest would be heat from a propane torch and plain vinegar.

First vinegar coat

First vinegar coat

It took several coats of vinegar, and because I didn’t want the green color, I washed that off after each coat. I used a scrubbie sponge and dishwashing soap in water. I gave up using the torch after the first coat as I couldn’t tell it was doing anything. But I do have a nice pinkish streak in the copper that was probably the result of the heat.

After several coats of vinegar and scrubbing off the surface it was time to mount the sheet as a backsplach. I thought I might glue the copper sheet to the drywall, maybe with liquid nails but didn’t really have a way to hold it in place while it was drying. Then I discovered that I could use contact cement and glue the copper to a thin piece of plywood (I used underlayment) that was cut to the same size. The copper is 26 guage, so a bit too thick to bend over the edges, but of all the ways to mount the backspash, it seemed like using a thin board and just screwing it to the drywall seemed like the best and easiest.

Copper glued to thin plywood

Copper glued to thin plywood

I wasn’t sure whether to mount the backsplash just behind the stove and put the hood up really high or to mount the board horizontally.

Vertical

Vertical

Horizontal

Horizontal

I posed the question on Facebook and the votes were for horizontal. That meant I had to measure and cut out a hole for the outlet. I was worried about doing that to the copper but it worked out OK. My brother suggested the Dremel tool and that was perfect.

Cutting the outlet hole

Cutting the outlet hole

I had drilled the holes for the corners and put in a screw to hold the board to find the corner of the outlet. I went ahead and put in the plastic anchors, but when I did get the hole drilled, the plastic anchors were about an inch off horizontally. So I just drilled new holes with the outlet lined up. I don’t understand how it happened, but it doesn’t look bad an inch further over.

Backsplash with hood

Backsplash with hood

I never had any control over the coloration of the copper. The vinegar tended to pool on the surface and make the curvy lines. I had a hard time getting the edges colored and eventually turned the sheet over and poured vinegar underneath the edges. At some point the aging in the middle turned bright again, now sure how that happened but I left it that way. It is random art.

The outlet cover is also a copper finish. I picked up a bunch of them on clearance a while back so had enough for the kitchen and dining room and a few more. It is exciting to finally get to the finish work.

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