Everyday Gardeners

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Make Your Own Faux Copper Obelisk

GI SP 2010-2The current issue of Garden Ideas & Outdoor Living includes an obelisk made out of PVC pipe. Yes, PVC pipe.

While the version in the magazine is painted lavender, we also made one with a faux copper finish (see below). Here are the steps project creator Mark Chervenka suggests for re-creating the effect.

1) Wet sand assembled obelisk with 220 grit wet/dry sandpaper. A perfectly smooth surface is critical to the realism of this effect.

obelisk12) Apply primer listed for use on PVC. Lightly wet sand dried primer with same 220 paper.

3) Apply two coats of a shiny gold-toned bronze acrylic metallic paint to entire surface; follow instructions for appropriate drying time. Wet sand between coats and after second coat with 220 paper.

4) The weathered patina is created with three different colors of matte finish acrylic craft paint: deep blue-green, pale blue and pale green. Prepare a glaze of 1part water to 1 part paint for each color. Set aside.

5) Working in small sections, wipe on deep blue-green color first with a clean, dampened cotton rag or sea sponge, making sure color density varies across surface. Immediately saturate a second rag or sponge with water only and squeeze it randomly over the recently applied paint allowing drops of water to create drips and streaks in fresh paint. Move on to next section and repeat technique for pale blue then pale green. Allow to dry 8 hours between each color; do not sand between coats of patina colors.

obelisk26) The powdery corrosion found on old copper is created with a mixture of equal parts water and white craft glue (PVA). Apply mixture sparingly to some joints and random spots on pipes. Immediately sprinkle whiting (ground white chalk available at paint stores) over mixture. Lightly whisk whiting with small paintbrush or pounce with dry cotton rag. Let mixture dry 36 hours.

7) Protect entire completed faux finish with at least two coats of matte finish UV resistant clear sealer.

4 Responses to “ Make Your Own Faux Copper Obelisk ”

  1. Where are directions for cutting & assembling the thing in the first place?

  2. Where are the detailed directions for putting together this project? Thanks!

  3. I am trying to locate the regular traps and condensate traps that look like the one pictured and I cannot find them. What brand are they and/or where can they be purchased? I work for a plumber and haven’t seen anything like the ones pictured in the magazine.

  4. mary–i have having the same problem! they are not
    supplied by any general home improvement store or plumbers.I have also looked at the internet. where can these be bought or what is an alternative solution to the design?

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