Cymbal Patinas

DIY Cymbal Patina Solution

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A paintable gel for garnering permanent cymbal coloration:

Visually, cymbal patinas are easy to stencil for custom design.

Sonically, cymbal patinas produce a slightly dryer tone.

Practically, the DIY solution works on any bronze alloy and costs a fraction of a factory-made cymbal patinas.

Easily and safely apply a patina to any bronze cymbal alloy using this revolutionary, patented new solution! Unlike dangerous factory production methods this application process creates no noxious fumes, just a slight foul oder! Unlike traditional patina methods, this process can be done in just moments (as opposed to weeks, months or years)! Made for Bronze Cymbal Alloys. Made in the USA. Patent-Pending.


Brief Explainer:



 Detailed Instructions:

The following is a guide for creating patina finishes on cymbals both safely and quickly. Patinas on cymbals generally produce a dryer (less bright) cymbal tone. The process of ‘pushing’ a patina on a cymbal surface will result in unique and varying rustic visual appearances that will vary from cymbal to cymbal depending on numerous variables including metal alloy blend, manufacturing and finishing processes, and the environmental conditions of your workspace.


  1. Cymbal Selection:
    1. We strongly recommend using a “test” cymbal as your first patina. This could be perhaps a broken cymbal, a cheaper or old cymbal, or perhaps one you care the least for. After this “test” process, you’ll be better informed as to how to achieve desired colorations for future cymbal patinas on more valuable cymbals.
  2. Workspace Selection:
    1. A foul odor is guaranteed. Thus, we recommend working in well-ventilated spaces such as outdoors, open garages, balconies, etc.
    2. Choose a table or working surface that you don’t mind staining, or lay down plastic for run-off liquids.
  3. Safety Preparation:
    1. We recommend gloves for proper handling. Safety equipment such as goggles, face masks, particle filters and the like are not mandatory, but recommended for those with respiratory conditions, children, and smell-sensitive persons. If you plan on doing more than one cymbal at a time, or doing this process regularly, we absolutely recommend additional respiratory protection. Additional safety information can be found on the Patina Solution jar label.



  1. Put on plastic gloves.
  2. Using sandpaper, sand down the cymbal surface to raw metal.
    1. Some cymbals have heavy varnishes that require aggressive sanding to remove.
    2. The amount of metal dust created by this process is minimal, but please be conscious of fan placement or wind direction, so as to not to let it blow into your face.
  3. Fill a spray bottle with a generous amount of ammonia.
  4. Spray ammonia generously on the raw cymbal metal surfaces and use paper towels to remove any additional residue such as finger oils, dust, etc. If the ammonia changes color (often blue/green) when applying, that means the surface isn’t fully clean yet.
  5. The goal is an evenly-sanded, well-cleaned, raw-metal surface for the application process. Repeat steps 2 through 4 as necessary.


  1. Stir the patina solution with the paintbrush until even in color and texture.
  2. Generously coat the cymbal surface in fresh ammonia using the spray bottle.
  3. Quickly apply the patina solution to the cymbal surface while ammonia is still wet.
    1. Be careful not to use too much solution; as a rule of thumb, the paintbrush ought be fully coated, but not dripping. This amount may be enough for the entire cymbal, but additional patina solution may be required to coat the surface.
    2. Stir until the solution has evenly coated the entire surface.
    3. Continually monitor the surface reaction and, if desired, even out any surface bubbles or streaking with the paintbrush.
  4. When the cymbal color has reached a hue/darkness of your liking, prepare the baking soda solution.
    1. This transformation time can be as fast as a minute or as long as a couple of hours, depending on the variables of the particular cymbal (alloy, manufacturing process, etc.).
    2. Mix a reasonable amount of baking soda (1-2 tablespoons) and water in a 2nd spray bottle and shake until dissolved.
  5. Generously and quickly coat the cymbal surface with the baking soda solution using spray bottle.
    1. The goal is for all the patina solution and ammonia mix to drip off of the surface without requiring any physical contact. You may lean or tilt the cymbal to expedite this process.
    2. When run-off liquid appears clear, stop spraying the baking soda solution; you’ve successfully neutralized the surface reaction.
  6. Using paper towels, wipe off any leftover residue.
    1. Do not be alarmed if you wipe off what appears to be a lot of residue; this is likely.
    2. Repeat step 5 if the surface is not completely dry.


  1. Check to make sure the surface reaction has stopped.
    1. This can be tested with a piece of the painter’s tape: If the tape sticks, the surface is ready to stencil, if not, you’ll need to repeat steps 5-6 in the previous section.
  2. Cover the cymbal surface with painter’s tape.
    1. Be cautious to avoid bubbles or ridges in the tape (stenciling will be easier with a flat surface).
  3. Using the exacto knife, cut your desired design out of the painter’s tape.
    1. Be gentle when cutting. Applying too much pressure will dull the blade unnecessarily.
    2. Simple designs are advised for beginners. Sketching the design out first with a marker, pen or pencil is also advised. Tracing stickers, stencil cutouts or other shapes (such as cookie cutters) makes for easy stenciling.
  4. Put on a fresh pair of plastic gloves.
  5. Dip the scour pads into ‘Barkeeper’s Friend’ (or comparable cleaning solution) and apply to the stenciled negative space.
    1. Avoid applying cleaning solution to the tape surrounding the negative space.
  6. After letting the cleaning solution sit for roughly one minute, clean the negative space with the scour pad, being careful not to lift the edges of the painter’s tape.
    1. Try not to push the scour pad into edges, but rather, from edges. This makes for clean lines.
    2. If desired, use the exacto knife to cut the scour pads into smaller pieces.
  7. Using paper towels, remove the soiled cleaning solution and polish the stenciled negative space.
    1. You may need to repeat steps 6-7 to garner a consistent, polished stenciled surface.
  8. Remove the leftover painter’s tape and wipe the entire cymbal surface with paper towel to remove visible tape-lines and any leftover residue.
  9. Voila! Celebrate! You just make your very own custom cymbal patina design! Congrats!


Having trouble getting a patina to develop? Try these quick fixes:

  • The solution is temperature-sensitive. If you're having trouble, try warming up the solution in a warm-water bath (do not boil). Freezing or cold conditions are not ideal.
  • Are you sure your cymbal is bronze? Perhaps you've got another alloy. 
  • Using a coarser grit sandpaper or grinder can garner stronger, faster results.
  • Maybe you're not using enough ammonia and/or it has been fully oxidized. If your ammonia doesn't smell terrible, then it's probably not viable.
  • If you're getting uneven results, be sure to stir the solution extra aggressively.