Instructables

How can I color aluminum wire without annodizing?

I bought a spool of 14 gauge aluminum wire for chain maille. My goal is to have alternating black and natural colored rings used for the maille. In a household metal working book I found from the 80's, they said to,

"Mix 2 tablespoons lye into 1 quart cold water. Add aluminum part for 1-2 minutes. Submerse part into household dye mixed according to manufacturers directions until desired depth of color is achieved. Rinse in cold water".

I tried this method using RIT black household dye; however, it was not successful. I am trying to dye the wire both RED and BLACK.

If no method for the red is found, I can purchase a short length of anodized red wire; however, If there are any chemical reactions for turning the wire black, that would be great. Thanks!!


Here is a great site that give middle school science teachers instructions on how to anodize simply. http://www.creative-chemistry.org.uk/activities/anodising.htm I think it will answer your quesitons.
Don't use sharpie markers, it rubs right off.
Dragoth D5 years ago
I also make chainmail things but I use steel wire. I wanted to get aluminum but my parents said it would bend way to easy,so I was wondering, HOW STRONG IS YOUR WIRE? Also where did you get it from?
frollard5 years ago
Anodizing is best, as it reacts with the metal and really 'sinks in' (more than a surface dye would). I've found a few sets of instructions...all require purchased dyes... hmmm - might just be easier to order anodized rings...
j626no (author)  frollard5 years ago
Well the lye bath is supposed to remove the aluminum oxide coating temporarily and open the pores, allowing the dye to "sink in"...maybe I have the wrong alloy of aluminum. I'm not sure.
PKTraceur5 years ago
Perhaps enamel the wire? Buy enamled wire? Google it. -PKT
Emsaid5 years ago
Use Sharpie markers