Colouring Anodised Aluminium is quite a technical process, any deviation from the correct procedure can leave you with a disappointing result. Here is a quick colouring process tip to assist you.
1. Insider Tip...
When applying colour with inks or dyes directly onto the surface of pre-anodised aluminium sheet, makes sure the ink/dye is completely dry before boiling the sheet metal in water to permanently fix the colour.
Once your initial design has been applied to the surface metal, place the sheet on to a small electric catering warming plate. This will speed up the natural drying process gently and without affect.
Boiling your coloured pre-anodised sheet without drying the ink/dye first will cause the ink/dye to be drawn out of the metals pores upon contact with the water. This loose dye will swirl on top of the water and may re-settle and fix itself onto the surface of your metal sheet in an unwanted place, spoiling your carefully thought-out design.
2. Insider Tip...
Always boil the pre-anodised metal sheet in water for a minimum of 20 minutes to ensure the colour is fixed securely within the pores of the sheet metal. Fixing for a shorter time period may result in some loss of colour when the sheet is rinsed in cool water after the boiling process, or the colour could fade in bright light later on.
Who shared this Tip?
This Tip of the Trade was shared by Dawn Meaden-Johnson ( - that's me!) I'm a Silversmith who has been creating and experimenting with anodised aluminium for Jewellery and artwork for the last 8 years.
Thank you also to Samantha Chiltern for her input - Silversmith and Anodised Aluminium Jeweller and tutor.