Make Silver Different Colors by Anodizing





Introduction: Make Silver Different Colors by Anodizing

How to Make Silver Different Colors by Electrochemical Anodizing.

Without using paint you can give a silver surface various colors by anodizing it.

WARNING: Anodizing solution is corrosive, so wear gloves at all times when working with it. It is also somewhat toxic, so keep it away from children and pets too.

To make the solution, just mix two tablespoons of sodium hydroxide (lye) and one tablespoon of sulfur with half a cup of water (~100mL). Stir for about ten minutes until the solution turns orange. Then filter the solution to remove excess sulfur.

You can get sulfur from online sources (including ebay) or from some drugstores. Sodium hydroxide is the primary component of some types of drain cleaners. But read the label carefuly, drain cleaners come in many types and alot of them don't have sodium hydroxide. You can also buy sodium hydroxide online, it's sold for making home biodiesel or homemade soap.

After you made your solution, thoroughly clean your silver article and place it into the solution. Attach the positive terminal of a 3V battery to the article and dip the negative wire into the solution. Move the negative wire around the solution to give the silver an even coat, or keep it in a single spot to apply rainbow effects.

What's happening is the electric current is oxidizing the silver and causing it to pick up the sulfur dissolved into the solution. As it does this it thickens and alters the way light reflects off the surface. What color of light is reflected is determined by how thick the sulfide layer is. The thickness of the layer is determined by how long you anodize it. So you can control the color by controlling the time you apply the current.

The process can be used to tint silver items to give them an antique look or simply just to make them exotic colors.

Practice before you do this on something valuable.

If you make a horrible mistake, you can restore the silver by electrochemistry at this link

Always use batteries for this process to keep safe. Also don't use higher voltage batteries, you might end up "burning" a layer of silver off your item and ruining delicate designs.

We've done it with copper, but the color is not as brilliant, silver gives the best effect for the video. We haven't tried it with steel and aluminum just goes dark without getting color.

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    I want also to ask:

    Would it work if I anodize a gold plated silver?

    I mean if I have a silver piece that is gold plated and I want to combine the color of gold plating and anodizing?


    I want to ask pleas:

    1. - If I want to anodize part of a silver jewelry, is that possible? to anodize half and leave half of it?

    2. Is it possible to solder anodized silver? I mean to solder it after anodizing it? If yes, would that affect the color obtained by anodizing?

    will it work with unpure silver

    Can you de-anodize it by putting it into a solution of baking soda and salt in water with the aluminum foil?

    I am having the same issues getting the orange liquid to form. Have used as specified and tried the alternatives as suggested except for the heating in steel bucket. Just wanted to confirm what tool you used to stir the ingredients, and if you heated the misture while stirring? Thanks very much.

    This is a really cool experiment. Sadly; coin counterfeiters practice this to get what is called a "tone" on the coin; something making it worth more.

    He's done video's too about electroplating coins :)

    I would like to know how anyone is getting sulfur to dissolve in water with lye or ammonia. It won't work. I love the results the video show but it's not possible with the components given. There has to be a variable there. You can use shampoo and get similar results but I would truly like to know how the doctor is getting the solution to turn orange. Soft H2O, hard H2O, ionized H2O, hot or cold makes no difference so please let's get to the bottom of the equation. I would pay to see it happen. Thanks for all of you videos. I have used a lot of them but this one does not work. Please help.

    Sulfur comes in various allotropes. In my video i used re sublimed sulfur. Is that the type of sulfur you used?

    One other thing, I have a friend in California and he says he is getting the same toning effect without using any sulfur but says he paid over six grand for the process. I certainly can't afford sixty dollars much less six grand but I have been staying up night and day and reading all I can and trying so many different things and getting a little results but sinch you are a professional I was hoping that you may be able to help me out. It would mean an aweful lot to me and my family. I depend on this process for income and had to give up regular job to take care of my mother and I really need to get this right. Don't mean to give a sob story but letting you know how important this is. Thanks for any and all advice.