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Where to find Minecraft copper in 1.21 and its uses

Minecraft copper might fill up your inventory quickly, so if you want to know how to use it, here's your guide to copper uses and crafting.

Minecraft copper: a house with a copper ore roof

What is Minecraft copper used for? A fun quirk of this material that veteran players will adore is that Minecraft copper turns green over time when naturally exposed to the elements, making a unique building material. But with more uses than just building, how do you use copper, how does it work, and where can you find it?

The colorful resource arrived in the long-awaited Caves and Cliffs update in 2021. Introduced as part of Mojang’s promise to the community to spruce up caves and mountains in one of the best PC games of all time, the update completely overhauled ore distribution, making it harder to find every material, including Minecraft diamonds. So, whether you want it for building or one of its other uses, here’s where to find Minecraft copper and what to use it for.

Minecraft copper build: A building made of stone bricks, topped with a roof of copper blocks of varying degrees of oxidation.

What is copper used for in Minecraft?

Aside from crafting, one of the main uses for Minecraft copper is for building, thanks to its color-changing oxidization mechanic. You can also use it to make a Creeper farm and gather rare mob heads. 

While you might find your inventory filling up with the lumpy copper ore pretty quickly, there is actually quite a lot you can do with it, and it’s a complex block. You only need a couple of ingots to make a lightning rod and spyglass, so what about the rest?


Copper is an excellent block for industrial-style Minecraft builds like factories due to its clean-cut or oxidized looks. Copper is one of the more unique items in the Minecraft building inventory due to this oxidization mechanic, which results in four different colored variants, ranging from natural orange copper to its Verdigris look.

Minecraft Copper variants

Not only are there four variants of the standard, smooth block of Copper, but the same goes for slabs, stairs, and cut copper, too. In survival mode, crafting Copper blocks will only result in the original variant. Leave it exposed for some time to cause the color change. To keep at any one of the stages of oxidization, you must combine the block with honeycomb in a Crafting Table, resulting in a waxed block that will no longer oxidize.

More copper blocks were added in the 2024 Minecraft 1.21 update rounding it out to a fuller block set, including doors, trapdoors, and grates, all of which still oxidize.

Copper bulb

Copper bulbs are special light blocks that capitalize on this oxidization feature. The more oxidized a bulb’s frame gets, the more the light level it omits is dimmed. If you’ve got an axe handy, though, you can scrape away this oxidization and light your path ahead. You can also wax copper bulbs with honeycomb at any stage in the oxidization process to prevent your surroundings growing dark again.

Copper bulbs can be crafted using three copper blocks, a blaze rod, and a redstone dust, but they can also be found and looted from Minecraft trial chambers.

Lightning Rods

Copper can also be used to craft lightning rods. These semi-defensive objects attract lightning during lightning strikes, redirecting them away from your flammable wooden or wool builds. Place three copper ingots in a straight vertical line down the middle column to make lightning rods.

Minecraft copper: Lightning Rod crafting recipe

Lightning Rods can also be used in Redstone circuits, as the copper item produces a redstone signal when struck by lightning. The unpredictability of lightning strikes can have a randomized effect.

Charged Creeper farm

Another great use for the lightning rod is in a Charged Creeper farm. Charged Creepers do not spawn naturally in vanilla Minecraft and are created when a Creeper is hit by lightning. You already know that when you get too close to a Creeper, it explodes, but get too close to a Charged Creeper, and it deals an even more devastating blow. So why would you want to farm them?

Interestingly, Charged Creepers are the only way to farm a specific decorative item you may not even know is available in vanilla Minecraft: Mob heads. While Skeleton mob heads were the first to be officially added to the survival inventory in 1.18 with Ancient Cities, no other mob head can be obtained in vanilla Minecraft without a Charged Creeper getting involved. If a Charged Creeper kills another mob, that mob may drop its head as an obtainable item. So, create a simple mob farm with a lightning rod to direct thunder strikes, and decorate your base’s walls with your favorite mob’s decapitated heads. Nice.

Spyglass crafting recipe

The other key item you can craft in Minecraft using copper is a spyglass. Crafting a spyglass requires two copper ingots and one Minecraft amethyst shard – another item introduced in the Caves and Cliffs updates. The spyglass can be used to zoom in and focus on a specific point in your field of view. Your walking speed slows down while looking down the lens.

Minecraft brush

The Minecraft brush was added at the same time as the Minecraft archeology feature, and allows players to dust through blocks of suspicious sand or gravel to obtain rarities. Another item made with copper, a Minecraft brush is made using one copper ingot, one feather, and one stick.

Minecraft Copper level 1.18 ore distribution

Where to mine raw copper in Minecraft

Copper is found underground between levels 112 and -16, and requires a stone pickaxe or better to mine. Since you can find Copper below Y-level 0, you might see it as the Deepslate variant, which takes longer to break. When mined without the Silk Touch Minecraft Enchantment, Copper Ore drops Raw Copper in the same way as other ores, which is then smelted in a Furnace or Blast Furnace. With Silk Touch, the Ore block drops itself.

Copper is quite a common ore, so you can find plenty without even trying. However, if you are specifically on a hunt for the orange shiny stuff, your best bet is going to be Y-level 48.

In order to increase your Raw Copper output, you can mine the ore with a Fortune-enchanted Pickaxe, which can drop multiples of the raw mineral from one block.

Now you have all the information to use up your Minecraft Copper, or find more if you run out, why not check out some of the best Minecraft Seeds in which to build your copper masterpieces? And if you love Minecraft, then why not take a look at some of the other building games and sandbox games that might also tickle your fancy.