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topic 33956

How to darken aluminum



2002

Q. What acid or other agent do I put on aluminum to give it a rust appearance?

Thank you,

Walter E. Belt, Jr.
Retired - Flatonia, Texas., USA


2002

A. Aluminum doesn't rust and can't be made to rust, Walter. A rust-colored paint or tint may be your best option. I have seen in the home decorating magazines that the paint manufacturers are offering all sorts of rust colored and patina colored paints.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha


2004

Q. I need an inexpensive rust look for aluminum sheet also. Preferably in a powder coat or urethane paint.

Roger Capehart
custom metal fabrication - Powder Springs, Georgia



2005

Q. I am trying to age aluminum. Don't want the white powdery look. Just want to darken it. My husband is building a miniature toy race car and wants it to look older. I will appreciate any help.

Irene Martin
Nostalgic Americana - Hudson, Florida, USA


simultaneous 2005

A. A thin layer of colored resin will give it an antiqued look. I think.

Marc Banks
- Elizabeth City, North Carolina


2005

A. You can oil it very sparingly (olive or Linseed Oil [affil. link to product info at Rockler] or any other edible oil or fat), then you must heat it to 200-400 °C.

If needed, repeat process.

Good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia


2005

? Goran,

I've used this process on bronze before to darken it to a moderate patina, but I've not heard of this being used on aluminum. What sort of colors/finish does this give?

Marc Banks
- Elizabeth City, North Carolina


2005

A. Dear Marc!

This process can be used on any metal (if that metal can be heated to 400 °C). According to old books olive oil is best for aluminum. White of an egg is usable, too. With linseed oil I have coloured a piece of aluminum to bronze brown (bad smelling and tedious!). You can use 20% shellac solution instead of oil.

Good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia



2005

Q. Sorry, I'm afraid I am a lowly consumer, but I thought I'd take a chance that you might help me out. I want to use corrugated sheets of metal (I guess it is aluminium) from "Home Depot" for a ceiling in part of my house. But, I want it to look "Old" or "Aged" not the shiny bright looking stuff they sell.

Any thoughts as to what I can do to change the look, short of leaving it outside for a year or so?

Thank you for your consideration.

Dan Anderson
- New York City


aff. link

A. Hi Dan. When we don't even know what kind of metal we have, people can't tell us what chemical/acid/alkali we can react it with to get a look (it's a bit like finding a bag of some kind of white powder in the cupboard and trying to figure out what you should add to the mystery powder to make a cake). Instead, I'd suggest priming it with a primer made for aluminum and galvanized metal, then applying a metal solution, and a patina solution for that metal.

Luck & Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha



September 28, 2009

Q. Is there a risk of warping thin aluminum material during the heating process? Specifically, I have an antique rifle that was modified with a thin aluminum cap on the nose of the forearm. The fit is nice but the polished look does not conform to the period, would like to darken it. Thanks for the info.
Ken

Kenneth Donaghue
- Bemidji, Minnesota, USA


A. Hi Kenneth. It's hard to fully understand this component from the description, but if that cap is now a permanent part of the rifle, I certainly wouldn't heat a whole antique rifle. Pick a brush-on patina of some sort; if adhesion seems problematical, prime it with a primer for aluminum and galvanized metal first.

Luck & Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey
Striving to live Aloha



Creating 'antique zinc' patina on raw aluminum

antique zinc planter 33956-1
October 24, 2020

Q. Hi. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. This is my first post so thanks in advance for any guidance.

I have a custom metal planter and furniture design and fabrication business. I work mostly with corten / weathering steel and 5052 aluminum sheet.

I'm working on developing an 'antique zinc' look for my aluminum planters but don't have a good solution yet. I know I can get the aluminum a dark gray / black and that is cool but I'd also like to find a way to get a lighter grey finish.

Scott Avidon
- Ocean Ridge Florida

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Ed. note: Lots of additional options, opinions, and instructions on thread 19382, "How to patina aluminum"

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