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Various Collected Methods for Coloring Various Metals
Article © MAIL User: Drax

Chemical Methods of Coloring Wire

So, you've been working with maille and decided it's time to finally add some new colors to your work. This article will attempt to serve as an ever-expanding resource for various methods on how to change the color of your pre-existing wire. I will only publish information on ways that I myself have tested, so that you can be sure they at least have a chance of working; I will try to include information on problems and successes so that if you do try the methods listed here, you can achieve the results you want in a quick, safe, and accurate manner. I will also include the sources of the information when appropriate.

First, a disclaimer: I am a chemist by training. This means I know how to handle chemicals and work safely with them. I will try to impart some basic safety information: Chemical Safety. Please read this article. The basic idea of the safety info, in case you decided unwisely to skip it, is to wear eye protection at all times, work in a well-ventilated area, be careful of skin contact, and have the number of Poison Control handy just in case. Regardless, nature is chaotic and I cannot foresee every difficulty, so if you choose to attempt some of these instructions, you do so at your own risk. Also, as a chemist, I will also have access to chemicals that might not be readily available to the public. I will do my best in these cases to research sources, or find more accessible alternatives.

Second, if you have any questions concerning the material in these articles or even suggestions on other methods to try, please email me and I will do my best to oblige.

I have put the methods in categories under the metal type. Due to the high copper content of most brasses and bronzes, they fall under the copper category; information here applies to all three, unless otherwise noted. These pages are all a work in progress -- the last update was on March 14, 2003.


Permanganate Coloring of Aluminum (darken, range)

Copper, Brass, Bronze

Rokusho (red-brown)
Bluing Copper with Ammonia (blue)
Greening Copper with Ammonium Chloride (green)
Browning Copper with Ferric Nitrate (brown)


Anodizing Titanium -- Quick Guide

Items on my list to try:
Birchwood Casey's Alumina Black and Steel Gunblue (also the effect on copper items).
Tweak/retry the rokusho.
Heat effects on stainless steel, titanium.
Potassium Sulfide on copper, sterling silver.

Anodizing aluminum (sometime soon).


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