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Blackening Engraving


My paint of choice is Rust-Oleum flat black (non-aerosol). This is available at hardware stores everywhere. There are other flat black paints available, and they probably work just as well. Be sure to use flat black and not satin black, as satin black produces small amount of shine which is undesirable. Flat black paint also dries very quickly (about 60-seconds), and is available in 1/2 pint (8 oz.) cans. This method is suitable for all engraved items, and is quite durable. It’s not permanent though, and can be removed by steam or ultrasonic cleaners, frequent wiping, rubbing, etc. It’s also very easy to reapply when necessary. Nearly every engraving on my website has been blackened with this method. It works best on relief engraving where the background has been removed (see tutorial on Relief Engraving).
1.) Shake or stir paint thoroughly.
2.) Degrease engraving with solvent of choice (acetone, lacquer thinner, etc).
3.) Dip a cotton swab into paint and flood engraving.
4.) Use your thumb to wipe paint off surface, leaving paint in engraved lines.
5.) After drying, examine closely and clean where necessary.


* Paint that's too thick can puddle into corner areas of relief engraving. To thin, dab paint onto a piece of paper and add a drop or two of acetone, lacquer thinner, etc, and mix with cotton swab. * It might be messy, but so far I've not found anything better than my thumb or fleshy part of my hand for wiping off paint. A paper towel or rag wipes paint out of engraving which is what you don't want. * Don't expect relief engraving with shallow backgrounds to blacken as well as deeper work. * Stippling backgrounds allows paint to adhere to metal. * Bulino engraving is very shallow and doesn't blacken well. Tutorial end