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Patina Options for Bronze Sculpture Awards

One of the more interesting aspects of bronze sculpture awards is the variation that can be achieved by applying different colors of patina to the surface of the awards. All of our bronze custom awards, and most of our bronze stock recognition awards, support the ability to choose a specific patina to color the surface of the award. A single sculpture award design can have a dramatically different look depending on the finish that is applied to it.

In its natural, unfinished form, the color of bronze is a dull gold/brown. Seldom, if ever, do our bronze sculpture awards remain in this natural color, however. In almost all cases, there are three overall ways to finish (color) the surface of bronze sculptures.



High-Polished Finish

In this method, the surface of the bronze sculpture is buffed and polished until it achieves a shiny, glossy golden color. The end-result of this process is a surface so smooth and shiny it is reflective – images and light are reflected in the surface of the sculpture. In many cases, a clear protective finish will be applied to the outside of high-polished bronze sculptures to prevent oxidation and smudging.



Patina Finish

Patination is a process designed to change the color of the bronze sculpture from its natural gold/brown to an entirely different color. Patination uses oxidation to achieve this effect – the color change is a result of a chemical reaction between the cooper in the bronze, chemicals applied to the surface of the bronze, and natural atmospheric elements surrounding the bronze (primarily oxygen).

To create a patina finish, a patina artist first uses a torch to heat the surface of the completed bronze sculpture to a temperature above 200deg F. Using a brush and spray bottle, the patina artist then applies chemical coatings to the surface of the sculpture. A variety of different chemicals and coating techniques are used to achieve a broad spectrum of color and textural variations in the look of the patina. For example, some patinas are a single, one-dimensional color, while others may feature several color variations in a “marbleized” effect. Once the final color effect is achieved, the sculpture is rinsed in cold water to stop the chemical reaction, and then coated in wax to seal the patina.


Combination High-Polished and Patina Finish

In some cases, both a patina and high-polished finish is applied to a bronze sculpture. This option can help to add variation to the award design, and is also used to accentuate certain aspects of the sculpture. The most common approach to patina the broadest surfaces of the sculpture, and then high polish specific edges, planes, or aspects of the sculpture to make them “pop” from the rest of the design.

Available Patina Color Variations

Shown below are some of the color variations that can be applied to your bronze sculpture award using patinas. We will be happy to walk you through the various options to help you select the perfect finish option for your bronze sculpture award!