Colouring Aluminium

Firstly, we need to Anodize the sheet of Aluminium, it’s an electrical chemical based process that gets the aluminium ready to enable the colour to be placed on top. You can buy pre-anodized aluminium and un-anodized aluminium.

There are many ways to put the colour on the aluminium, we had a beaker of blue dye and a beaker of red to learn how to apply colour to aluminium. The two beakers should be at a warm temperature. They should not be boiling.  During the day, the dyes slowly evaporate, if the level of dye goes down by 2cm, we should top it up. This way it doesn’t dilute the dye as much as if you left the level go down 5cm for example.

First, drill a hole in the anodized aluminium and put a piece of wire through to dangle the aluminium into the dye, this should be left 20 minutes, it can be left for longer, this will turn the complete piece of aluminium blue or red depending on which beaker you placed it in. You can also put acrylic dies onto a palate to create designs. You can create many different patterns using sponges, paint brushes, stamps etc.

When you are happy with the colour and/or pattern you must rinse it under cold water.

Once you’ve ran it under cold water, you need to seal the colour on the aluminium. You do this by plunging it into boiling water for a minimum of 20 minutes. This closes the pores and locks the colour on the sheet. If you leave it less that 20 minutes, the colour will not stay on the aluminium. The quicker you take the aluminium from the dye to rinse it and seal it, the better the result.


If you wish to put an image onto anodized aluminium, you can use acetone to do so, exactly like a transfer tattoo.

 Aluminium must be used quickly after it has been anodized as it doesn’t work if it’s been left too long. If you are to use anodized aluminium, buy it the same day and use it that day to ensure the colour works.