I had an idea. What if I took the glass out of the side panels and replaced it with copper? I had to break the perfectly good glass in the right hand side of the cabinet to get it out. It felt wrong but I did it anyway. I cut some leftover roofing copper to fit and went to work. First I annealed the copper with a propane torch. This makes it softer and easier to work with. It's very relaxing and satisfying to watch the metal turn colors as I heat it, at least I think so.
I removed the fire scale (the grey stuff) with vinegar, salt water and a rough sponge. At first I tried coloring the copper with the torch again to color it. I wasn't happy with the look once I sprayed it with lacquer and the color became dull.
Next I began experimenting with chemicals on copper for a different look. I've done very little of this in the past so it was really a lot of trial and error. I had the best luck with ammonia, vinegar and salt water and PH decreaser I found in our closet from when we had a hot tub. I didn't mix these all together. I just tried a little bit of this and that, also laying leaves, flowers, rope, etc on the metal to see how things behaved together. I could never repeat what I did because I layered color over color, removed color, added more, etc. I never knew exactly what would happen until the chemicals were washed off and then the copper oxidized. As it dried it was like magic and different colors slowly appeared. I can't even describe how much fun this was.
The finished product is now in our bedroom and I wouldn't even consider selling it, I love it so much.
You really need to see it in person to see some of the detail. Here are a few leaves imprinted on it.