Today I am teaching the riveted heart class at Garden of Beaden. In addition to riveting I am teaching how to stamp/color on aluminum. In preparing for the class this week I learned several things.
First not all anodized aluminum is suitable for stamping/coloring. Several years ago I bought a large supply of colored anodized aluminum sheet in awesome bright colors. Who doesn't love the idea of adding colored metal to your jewelry? But when I used it in my project the ink rubbed off. What's up with that?
And second when in doubt go to the manufacturer. East West Dye Company is the manufacturer of the anodized aluminum I bought and also manufactures a product call Ready For Color Anodized Aluminum. Of course, I thought all anodized aluminum was created equal. In my discussion with the manufacturer I learned that the anodizing process fills in the pore space of the aluminum which makes it corrosion resistant and this filling in of the pore space makes it so inks will not stick to the surface. To allow the aluminum to accept stamping/color they etch the surface after it is anodized. I also learned that East West Dye is temporarily (maybe up to 2 years) not manufacturing any anodized aluminum including the Ready for Color. Oh no! Panic! Then the helpful representative suggested that I could etch the anodized aluminum I have with vinegar. Really?
I had to do a little experimenting to get it to work but it finally did. The tricks are to soak the aluminum in undiluted 5% vinegar for at least one hour, throughly dry the aluminum, stamp it with StazOn permanent ink and finally heat set the ink with a hairdryer on the "High" setting or an embossing gun.