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Aluminum Metal Blanks
Aluminum is an economical alternative for a silver colored metal.
30-gauge aluminum blanks emboss wonderfully in the Big Kick Embossing machine, with an added shim.
20-gauge aluminum blanks are ideal for metal stamping, soft and easy to get a clear impression.
14-gauge bracelet blanks are excellent for metal stamping, and can easily be bent into a nice cuff shape with the EZ Bender tool. 2021 Update: ImpressArt aluminum bracelet blanks are transitioning to a new look and feel. more info
Aluminum won't patina with chemicals, but you can color it with markers, Vintaj "patina", and paints.
Aluminum does not rust, nor does it take a patina with the standard chemicals normally used to 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.
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.
2021 ImpressArt Bracelet Update: ImpressArt aluminum bracelet blanks are transitioning to a new look and feel. They will be made of the same high quality alloy as ImpressArt's other aluminum blanks, so they will be more malleable, making them easier to stamp and bend. ImpressArt bracelets will also feature new squared ends, providing a more comfortable feel and a sleeker, more timeless look than the current rounded ends. This transition will take some time -- some sizes/shapes will transition sooner than others.