Coloring Titanium Sculptures with a Torch

Changing or adding coloring Titanium sculptures can breathe new life or change the character of a piece. It is also lots of fun to see the color develop and change in front of your very eyes!

The color on the surface of our titanium has a permanent oxide layer that can only be removed with abrasives. The color was originally produced with heat. It starts out silver, then gold, blue, purple, magenta, bronze, green, pink and finally gray. Subtle colors also appear and depending on the natural surface finish you may get different effects. I am always surprised when I find a new shade of blue or pink or a satin lustre when I expected a metallic lustre.

Once the Titanium reaches gray it has run the spectrum of color and the only way to restore the color is by removing it with a Titanium rubber wheel or abrasive and reheating with a torch.

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In the case of Titanium or “Titanium Seconds” the color can be restored on Metallic Titanium or Satin Matte Titanium varieties. It is not recommended to try to restore Crystalline Titanium varieties since once it turns gray it tends to get burnt, yellow or white and becomes brittle making restoring the color virtually impossible. In addition, the Crystalline variety is more flammable and can spark when heated with a torch, so proceed at your own risk.

Removing Unwanted Color

  1. Use a Titanium rubber wheel attachment for a dremel or flex shaft and a dust mask. Work from course to fine abrasives until you see the natural silver color.
  2. Clean the piece with soap and water and dry thoroughly before heating in the torch.

Adding New Color

  1. To begin, you will need a torch, safety glasses, ventilation, and flameproof smock to protect your clothing, flame proof block or surface, and long handled tweezers.
  2. Turn on your torch to get a flame.
  3. Run the torch evenly over the surface of the titanium.
    • A “bushy” flame barely touching the surface will process the color slowly and more evenly.
    • A “sharp” flame held close to the hot part of the flame (just beyond the blue cone of the fire) develops the piece more swiftly.
  4. Cool completely before handling.
  5. No protective surface coatings needed – the color is permanent and can only be removed with an abrasive.

Keep These Tips Mind

  • Some of the “Titanium Seconds” will have color on portions that you do not want to change.  Or you may have a combination piece that has two or more Titanium varieties (Crystalline, Satin-Matte, Metallic). To prevent changing the color, or direct contact, keep the flame away from these areas.
  • Thin areas will heat up quickly developing color more swiftly than the thicker areas. For this reason you may want to hold the heat over the thicker areas a bit longer to compensate for the uneven heating and color the small areas last.
  • Each piece will develop color differently, some moving more quickly through the color spectrum than others.
  • Some pieces will reach a different color palette than others.
  • Be aware that green and pink are colors that appear just before black, so proceed slowly because with the blink of an eye you can miss the color you intended.
  • Be aware that results will vary from torch to torch and heat application.

Caution: Using a flame is dangerous and you can get burnt. Titanium can be flammable and spark, so wear protective gear in a safe environment. Please color the titanium at your own risk. We cannot guarantee results of individual users. Neither Gage Designs nor any of its employees can be held responsible for accidents resulting from the use of this material.

By Holly Gage - © 2009
All rights reserved internationally. Copyright © Holly Gage. Users have permission to download the information and share it as long as no money is made. No commercial use of this information is allowed without permission in writing from Holly Gage.
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