Creating a Copper Penny Look

Find a table, pick it up,

[Give it a beautiful copper penny makeover with American Paint Company products]

All day long, have good luck!

* * *

pumpkin stand_before

I lit up when I found this vintage smoking stand on a recent weekend getaway. The ashtray on top was long gone, but that’s OK since I don’t smoke and planned to re-purpose the table into a cute plant stand.

Then I got a better idea to paint it in harvest colors and use it as a pumpkin stand.

I added American Paint Company’s Copper Mica to the mix and—what luck!—created this pretty penny finish.

pumpkin stand_after1

Here’s what I did to get this look:

I started with a pallet of fall colors from American Paint Company all-natural clay chalk and mineral paints. From left to right: Leather Boots, Amber Waves of Grain, Orange Grove and Saddle.

APC fall pallet

I painted all of the colors onto the table using the same brush. My plan was to layer the colors on top of each other like a big pile of freshly raked leaves. However, I didn’t think the table looked vibrant enough at this point so I totally deviated from my harvest theme and opened a can of turquoise Beach Glass for a little contrast.

beach glass

Then I added more Orange Grove

… followed by just a touch more Amber Waves of Grain.

Now the table was vibrant all right …


… but (yikes!) it still wasn’t the look I was going for!

I decided to tone down the crazy with a wash of Leather Boots. I added a few scoops of Leather Boots to my little yogurt cup and squirted it with a bunch of water.

(I don’t have an exact formula to share with you. This part is just trial and error. If your paint is too thick to spread around easily with your brush, add more water. If the mixture is too watery, add more paint.)

The next five steps are easy-peasy:

1. Swipe


 2. Squirt


3. Spread


Here you can really see the difference the color wash makes in toning down the brightness of the crazy colors.

4. Rub


5. Repeat

That’s it! Again, there’s no magic scientific formula here. I just kept swiping on more Leather Boots, squirting it with water, spreading it around and then rubbing it away to reveal the colors underneath. This toned down the brightness of the orange and turquoise and gave the piece a nice patina.

When I was finally happy with the overall look, I let the table dry overnight.

pumpkin stand_progress photo

pumpkin stand_progress closeup

Since I envisioned this piece decorated with pumpkins on somebody’s front porch, I used a polycrylic to finish it instead of wax. The table won’t last outside forever—no wood furniture does—but the poly offers a bit more protection.

While the first coat of poly was still sticky, I used a dry paintbrush to dust on some American Paint Company Copper Mica, working it into the poly. Then I sealed in the mica with a second coat of poly.

I must confess … The whole time I was painting this table, part of me was regretting adding the turquoise Beach Glass instead of a green color that would have kept with my original harvest theme. After the Copper Mica went on, I was so glad I chose turquoise!

The copper mica over the bits of turquoise blended in with the orange and browns gave the whole piece a cool oxidized look.

Here are more photos of the Pretty Penny Finish.

pumpkin stand_after2

pumpkin stand_closeup redo

pumpkin stand_closeup2

Post courtesy of Courtney


  1. Brenda Sedlar says

    Great FB page but most of us cannot afford to experiment with 4 or 5 colors at once. The paint is a little pricey. I can only do one color at a time and hope that is successful. Maybe if the prices were a little lower experimenting would be more fun?

    • mm American Paint Company says

      A project like this works perfectly using sample sizes! The price is much lower and this will give you the freedom to experiment with some of our amazing colors!

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