Easy Ways to Add Color to Metals

Apr 24, 2013

With more options than ever for adding metals in your jewelry-making projects, this is a great time to be a jewelry artist! A couple of years ago, I started experimenting with adding colors to metals when I did some experiments with brass metal beads and some Vintaj Patina Inks. Turning those beads into colorful little works of art for my jewelry-making projects was addicting, so I started looking into other ways to add color to metals.

Playing with metals and color is like playing with a fantastic three-dimensional coloring book that you can use to make jewelry. There are so many low-cost options for adding color to metals, and even better, there are lots of great places to find beautiful vintage metal jewelry-making components.

Ready to start adding some color to your own metal beads, pendants, and other components? Try these easy ways to get started!

Vintaj Patina Inks for Coloring Metals

What got me started on coloring metals? Well, I've always loved the look of African brass beads, and when I discovered how easy it is to add color to them with Vintaj Patina Inks, I was hooked.

These inks were made specifically for painting on metals. They're colorfast, easy to use, and easy to clean up. (My favorite part is being easy to clean up.) So far, I've used them on African brass beads, vintage metal components like the ones from A Grain of Sand, and some Vintaj brass blanks, all with great success!

Vintaj Patina Inks can be mixed and layered like other kinds of paints to achieve lots and lots of different colors. You can also buff your finished metal jewelry-making components to remove a layer or two of inks, creating a beautiful antique look.

While these inks cost more than other materials for coloring your metal jewelry-making components, they give a high-quality, permanent color to your favorite metals.

Nail Polish

When I saw Suzanne Branca from A Grain of Sand at last summer's Bead Fest Philadelphia, she told me about another great, low-cost option for adding color to metals: regular nail polish!

Nail polish comes in a huge range of colors, and I found that the inexpensive $2-a-bottle variety from my local beauty supply store worked the best for adding colors to metal. If you want to stay on-trend, try using some of the fabulous neon colors of nail polish available to paint some vintage metal components, then mix them with some of the new neon Super Duos or spike beads for funky jewelry with flair!

Sharpie Markers


Another discovery from last summer's Bead Fest was when I saw the lovely ladies at Lillypilly Designs. I fell completely head over heels for their new anodized aluminum discs, in all sorts of colors and patterns. When I asked about the brightly colored discs that were on display, I was thrilled to discover that they were made with colored Sharpie markers! Of course, I already have a whole slew of colored Sharpies for other craft projects, so I was all set to start coloring these metals as soon as I got home.

To make the colors permanent on the anodized aluminum components, make sure you use a Pro Polish pad to wipe off any excess marker. Then you can shape, dap, or punch holes in your aluminum discs to use them in your favorite jewelry-making designs!

More Ways to Color Metals: Instruction From An Expert

See how easy it is to add color to metals? If you want more instruction from an expert jewelry-maker, you'll love Coloring on Metal for Jewelry Makers with none other than the legendary Gail Crossman Moore! Gail takes you through a wonderful range of techniques for adding colors to metal jewelry-making components. If you're already familiar with some of these easy techniques for adding color, you can really dive in deeper with Gail's expert techniques for things like adding and removing color, blending colors, and fixing mistakes.

Get your copy of Coloring on Metal for Jewelry Makers and brighten up your metal jewelry-making projects! Or, if you just can't wait to get started, you can also download Coloring on Metal for Jewelry Makers instantly onto your favorite desktop or laptop computer and be ready to start adding color in just minutes.

Do you have a preferred method for adding color to metal jewelry-making components? What's your best tip for someone just getting started with the wonderful world of colored metal? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your advice with us!

Bead Happy,

Jennifer


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Comments

kmeador wrote
on Apr 25, 2013 9:37 AM

Torch enameling is my preferred method for coloring metal. I've had a wonderful time using sgrafitto, modified champleve and other techniques for creating abstract art on copper.

Megdg wrote
on Apr 25, 2013 4:43 PM

I love to use nail polish! Its an easy fail safe option for many projects! Plus the colors really last. :)

jess2bead wrote
on Apr 27, 2013 9:02 AM

Love these ideas! The color variety in nail polish is much greater than spray paint which is what I have used in the past. So excited to go paint some filigree pieces now!

on Apr 30, 2013 10:23 AM

I love the nail polish idea - I started using clear nail polish many years ago to coat inexpensive jewelry metal  to keep it from discoloring or corroding from contact with skin. I discovered that chipped enamel can be repaired with the right shade of nail polish, and if you can't find a finding the right color, you can make it!