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Metal Coloring Using Solvent Dyes


Q. I am looking for a way to stain metal with bright vivid transparent colors. Transparent is the key. I would like to be able to see the metal swirls and marks underneath. I have heard that there is a process using heat and then applying a patina over it to produce the colors... bright pinks, purples, reds, blues, etc.

Metal coloring with translucent dye  Metal coloring with translucent dye 2

I do not want a paint, but rather a stain. I have also heard that a solvent dye is used.

I would really be grateful if someone could provide a product and a process to use.

Thank you.

Diane Bonine
- Avondale, Arizona



A. You can start by browsing the titles from this site: A word of caution, most solvent dyes which contain a lot of blues are not light fast. No matter how much UV inhibiting coatings you apply over them, they won't look quite so nice and vibrant a month down the road.

Have fun.

Jake Koch
G. J. Nikolas & Co., Inc.

Bellwood, Illinois


A. Heat treatment is just done by heating it very slowly, there are clear varnishes you put over it to stop the metal from oxidizing and making the color go away. but it dulls it a bit... it's sucks. The shinier the surface, the more vivid the colors too, and transparent. good luck.

Nell Blu
- Rocklin, California

January 5, 2010

A. Hi. You need to use glass paints or alcohol inks =>
(I use Tim Holtz range) you can also use them together. If you emboss your metal first the colour will highlight the design and create stunning effects.

Clare Alderson
mixed media artist and teacher - Nottingham UK

Glass paint

Alcohol Inks

March 18, 2013

Q. Coloring Zinc: A major portion of our business is Zinc. We carry it in natural colors, but we would like to provide it in "Translucent" colors of Blue, Red, Yellow, so on ... that we can put on our bright roll zinc that has no finish. I want something that will hold up over time under outside conditions. We also provide systems for interiors that we can use a different method on to stay cost effective. Right now we're primarily interested in the most durable and fade resistant way to color zinc for exterior. We do not want to do anodizing. Can some point me in the right direction? What are some of the other methods out there?

Kurt Rubright
Sheet metal fabricator - Peachtree City, Georgia

March 24, 2013

A. Hi, Kurt. Please start with briefly describing the method you are satisfied with for interior parts. Maybe that can be modified, or covered with a lacquer or automotive clearcoat, or something, rather than starting over. Some of the UV or radiation cured topcoats are very hard and durable. Unfortunately I'm not confident that there will be a good solution for outdoor use.


pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey

March 30, 2013

A. Dear friends,
there is a method, old but simple, based on a logical idea.

Can the polyester, acrylic textile be colored with dyes or not?
Yes it can. So if a bright surface (for example silver) is dipped in polyester or acrylic varnish then dried at 40 °C (before curing) then immersed, in days you expect it to colored or not? It is colored with any color, including gold colors, then cured by heating.
We will get a very stable surface with high mar resistance, in my opinion suitable for outdoor applications.

Raafat Albendary
plastic electroplating - Riadh, Saudi Arabia

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