Aluminum sheet and blanks for jewelry making:
- ImpressArt aluminum blanks are perfect for creating detailed metal stamped jewelry. They are thick enough to be durable, yet soft enough for a great stamped impression.
- 30-gauge and 24-gauge aluminum blanks and sheet are easy to stamp, emboss, cut with shears, or use with punches and dies to create your own custom textures and shapes for jewelry.
- Add extra holes to any of these with a drill press, or use hole punch pliers or your favorite hole punch tools.
- Natural silver-colored aluminum can be polished to a high sheen with an ULTRA polishing cloth, or given a satin finish with steel wool.
Aluminum does not rust, nor does it take a patina with the standard chemicals normally used to oxidize (darken) jewelry. It oxidizes the moment it comes into contact with oxygen or water! Fortunately this oxidized layer of aluminum oxide (Al2O3) immediately forms a stable layer that protects aluminum from corrosion or further oxidation (as long as it isn't exposed to chlorine or similar substances that are corrosive to aluminum).
So how do you color aluminum?
- Bright, permanent colors on aluminum are achieved through anodizing. Anodizing is an electrochemical process that converts the metal surface into a durable, corrosion-resistant oxide finish. Although the color is durable, aluminum is a soft metal. When working with anodized aluminum, take care to avoid scratching or buffing through the anodized layer, unless you are intentionally creating a two-tone look.
- Use Ranger alcohol inks, Vintaj faux patinas, or even craft store paints, to add colorful accents to aluminum jewelry.
- Although Sharpie permanent markers are quick and easy to use to accent metal stamped designs, ImpressArt Stamp Enamel is far more durable.
- Avoid traditional jeweler's chemicals, which are intended for other metals. For the most part, they do not work with aluminum, and some even cause a dangerous chemical reaction. (Do not use Win-Ox™ on jewelry that has aluminum components.)
Polishing and/or texturing aluminum jewelry:
- Because aluminum is a soft metal, it's very popular for detailed metal stamped designs. However, this softness also makes it vulnerable to scratches.
- Texturing your piece with a ball peen hammer gives a nice finish that helps mask scratches and often helps your stamped design stand out even better than on a plain background.
- ULTRA polish pads give aluminum an almost mirror-like finish, or you can use steel wool to create a satin finish.
- If you sell your jewelry, you may want to let your customers know that aluminum should be treated with care, or be brought back to you periodically for touch-up polishing.