Ready to Color Metal
Ready-To-Color Metal® - Handling Instructions and Helpful Tips
Aluminum anodizing electrochemically builds a pore structure on the surface of the metal, which is sometimes referred to as an oxide or anodic layer. Under a microscope this pore structure resembles a honeycomb, having one million pores per square inch. Ready-To-Color Metal®
is aluminum that has been taken through the anodizing process but not dyed or sealed. The pore structure is open and is ready to accept dye, ink, and paint.
You must handle the Ready-To-Color Metal®
material with cotton gloves. Touching with bare hands allows the oil from your skin to transfer to the pores, making it impossible for the dye to penetrate the surface to deposit color.
Handle the Ready-To-Color Metal®
material carefully so that it will not become scratched. If it gets scratched, that scratch may go below the pore structure into the raw aluminum. This will create uncolored areas, once you begin your coloring process. Keep material away from any sharp tools.
Coloring with Dyes, Ink and Paint
Applying color to the Ready-To-Color Metal®
surface is easy and fun. Organic dyes are generally the most lightfast and permanent. Inks, paints and magic markers can also open other creative avenues for coloring expressions.
Dyes should be mixed and heated prior to submerging. Don’t forget to test and adjust the pH. The temperature should never go above 140F. Overlaying can be done with dyes to make custom colors.
Inks are simply another coloring vehicle. The color is deposited into the pore through the solvent in the ink. Drying is necessary prior to sealing when using this medium. Paints also work and are extremely durable.
The Final Step: Sealing
Sealing the Ready-To-Color Metal®
closes the pores and is the final step in completing your project. Choose a sealing method that best suits your coloring choice. Boiling in de-ionized water (20-30 minutes), Nickel acetate sealing salts (10 minutes) or seal by painting or spraying a clear coat. A clear coat will lock down the ink or paint and close any open pores.
Tips & Ideas
Permanent magic markers act as a resist to the dyes.
Marbling and screen printing can be done on a sheet
Inks can be airbrushed, painted, sponged, stamped or stenciled
Raw edges can be colored with a paint marker
Patterns can be pressed into the surface of the Ready-To-Color Metal® with a rolling mill. Try transferring lace, screen, or leaves – the possibilities are limitless!