Anodizing Paint Explained: How it Works

Anodizing Paint Explained: How it Works

Anodizing Paint Explained: How it Works

Anodizing paints are a good option if you want the benefits of anodization but don't want to do color anodizing of your product.

Anodizing paints are spray paints that give an anodized-like surface finish to parts. They are usually applied over chrome or silver-coated metals. Unlike an anodized coat which forms an integral layer over the base metal, anodizing paint forms a thin layer over the base coating.

This article talks about anodizing paints and how they differ from usual anodization.

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Anodizing Paint: Why Use it

As the name indicates, anodizing paints offer a deep translucent finish similar to an anodized coating.

But unlike an anodized coating, anodizing paints render faster results and are pocket friendly.

Though anodizing paints can achieve a fine anodized finish, it does not offer properties like corrosion and wear resistance like the anodizing process.

But anodizing paints are much more versatile. You can use them on various surfaces, such as ferrous and non-ferrous materials, as well as steel which cannot be anodized.

Compared to conventional painting techniques, primer anodizing paints are applied over silver or chrome coating to achieve the anodized finish.

It must be noted that anodizing paints are not the same as anodizing dyes.

While anodizing dyes are used during the anodizing process, anodizing paints provide a quick method to achieve a similar finish without anodizing the part.

How to work with Anodizing Paint?

Parts coated with anodized paint
Parts coated with anodized paint

Working with anodizing paint is far easier than the actual process of color anodizing.

As an essential and primary step, the workpiece is smoothened using sandpaper and cleaned with isopropyl alcohol.

This ensures the complete removal of dirt, grease, or oil, allowing for the proper adhesion of coatings.

Once cleaned, two coats of primer are sprayed onto the workpiece. The primer forms the base coat for the further colored coats and helps with strong adhesion. 

Over the primer, a silver metallic coat or a chrome coating is applied before applying the desired color anodizing paint.

Using anodized paint over chrome or silver coats is always preferred to get a deep metallic sheen similar, replicating color anodizing, such as green anodizing, black anodizing, gold anodizing, etc.

When selecting anodized paint, choose one that is heat resistant. This will help you apply the paint on parts exposed to high temperatures.

For added protection and a glossy finish, apply two coats of clear coat over the anodizing paint. This will help extend the life of the paint.

For the best results, it is recommended to have a minimum of two layers of each type of coat. This will give you a strong and rigid finish.

Allow each coat to dry for at least 10 minutes. This will prevent the paint from running and give you an even surface.

Pros and Cons of Anodizing Paint

Easy to applyNot very durable
Pocket-friendlyLess resistant to corrosion and weathering
Anodized-like appealProne to chipping and cracking over time
Pros and cons of using anodizing paint when compared to the actual anodizing process

Ease of Use

Working with anodizing paints is far more accessible and straightforward than other finishes.

It does not involve using power sources, machinery, chemicals, dyes, and sealing agents.

It requires only primary cleaning agents like sandpaper, isopropyl alcohol, and spray cans of adhesion coat.

The process is much easier to perform when compared to the anodizing process, which involves a series of operations like cleaning, rinsing, anodizing, and sealing.


Using anodizing paints is pocket-friendly. It does not involve huge investments like those needed for anodizing or other finishing processes.

A set of anodizing spray paint cans can work on 30 - 50 small to medium-sized parts.

On average, it takes no more than $40 to perform a task using anodizing paint.


Anodizing paints offer a bright metallic finish similar to that of anodization.

In contrast to anodizing, which is time-consuming, the same finish or texture is achieved more simply by using anodizing paints.

It is an excellent choice for hobbyists looking for fast, creative, and artistic solutions.


Anodizing paints do not offer a long-lasting, durable coat compared to colored anodized coatings.

Anodizing forms an integral layer over the base metal, allowing it to withstand harsh environments.

In contrast, the anodizing paints form only a peripheral layer over two or three base coatings which wears or peels off over a while.

Poor corrosion resistance

Anodizing paints do not offer protection against corrosion or weathering. It only provides temporary protection against dirt, oil, or grease.

Anodized colored coatings are preferred over anodizing paints as they form a barrier layer that protects the metal surface from humid corrosive environments.

So anodized coatings are ideal for marine or chemical applications.

Environmental and Health Hazards

Anodizing paints in aerosol sprays has a harmful environmental and health impact as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in anodizing paints are toxic.

Hence, it's mandatory to use protective gear like masks and gloves for complete protection against particulate matter and toxic gases.

The process of anodizing is eco-friendly. It only requires acid, and the water used in the process can be reused.

Applications of Anodizing Paint

Anodizing paints are a great way to give new life to objects used for decorative purposes and in various industrial applications.

You can use them to brighten up automotive parts like wheel rims, calipers, and valve heads.

Even parts that don't have to withstand mechanical movements or heat can look attractive with anodizing paint.

It's an excellent choice for home decor items like wall hangings, light fixtures, and souvenirs since it's easy to apply and makes miniature objects look more vibrant.

Anodizing paints are also a good option for craft and DIY projects. They're affordable and easy to use, making them perfect for the works of a DIY-er.

Best Anodizing Paints

Dupli-Color Anodizing Paint

Dupli-Color anodizing paint
Dupli-Color anodizing paint

Dupli-Color metal cast anodized paints come in various colors, such as red, blue, green, yellow, and purple.

It can also withstand temperatures up to 500oF. This paint will show through any base chrome or silver coatings, enhancing its look.

You can find it in local stores as well as online marketplaces.

Dupli-Color anodizing paint
Multiple color options
It's a spray paint
Provides a metallic finish

VHT Anodizing Paint

VHT anodizing paint
VHT anodizing paint

VHT has a variety of interior and exterior coatings, including an anodized color coat for a translucent color finish.

These paints are resilient and can handle temperatures up to 550oF.

They dry in 30 minutes so that you can apply the next coat quickly, and it works well on chrome surfaces.

VHT SP450 anodizing paint
Four color options
It withstands temperatures up to 550oF
Provides a metallic finish

Final Thoughts

Anodizing paints are essential for hobbyists. Though not as durable as anodized coatings, they offer similar colors and appeal.

You can use anodizing paints on different materials to get creative with your DIY projects.

Make sure to work in a well-ventilated area with a mask and gloves.

Cover the part with a box while drying to prevent dust particles from sticking to the paint.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can anodizing paint be applied to plastic objects?

Yes, unlike the process of anodization, anodizing spray paints can be applied over plastic surfaces. It is recommended to paint over chrome or silver coats to obtain the anodized metal finish.

Can anodizing spray paints be used for covering scratched anodized surfaces?

Yes, a touch-up using anodizing spray paints can be done on small areas of the scratched anodized surface. It is recommended to test beforehand to ensure color compatibility.

Can anodizing paints be removed?

Yes, similar to removing enamel paints, the anodizing paints can be removed using solvents like acetone. Take caution when using acetone since it is very flammable. Ensure you are in a well-ventilated area and avoid any open flames.

About John

Hey I'm John. I write about Manufacturing, Metalworking, CNCs and Lasers at Mellowpine. If you have any questions related to CNCs or Lasers, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at mail@mellowpine.com

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Hey I'm John. I write about Manufacturing, Metalworking, CNCs and Lasers at Mellowpine. If you have any questions related to CNCs or Lasers, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at mail@mellowpine.com

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