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How can I color aluminum wire without annodizing? Answered

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!!

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tomnardone206 (author)2010-07-15

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.

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RoosterSocks (author)2009-09-02

Don't use sharpie markers, it rubs right off.

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Dragoth D (author)2009-06-13

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?

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frollard (author)2009-06-02

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...

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j626no (author)frollard2009-06-02

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.

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PKTraceur (author)2009-06-01

Perhaps enamel the wire? Buy enamled wire? Google it. -PKT

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Emsaid (author)2009-06-01