Metal­lic inks are now sup­plied ready mixed, but you might like to exper­i­ment with old­er types of inks.  The basic premise is that the var­nish (a clear vehi­cle for the colour) is mixed with a pow­der (typ­i­cal­ly made of ground up met­al) to cre­ate an ink.  This approach was need­ed in the past because the two had a ten­den­cy to sep­a­rate.  Sil­ver ink was first to be sup­plied ready mixed because alu­mini­um is light and so did not sep­a­rate.  Gold­en inks relied on heav­ier met­als that had a ten­den­cy to fall to the bot­tom of the con­tain­er and so ruin the over­all ink.

The process is to set the pow­er out with­in the rec­om­mend­ed pro­por­tions by weight, typically —

  • 3 Var­nish: 1 Gold
  • 2 Var­nish: 1 Silver

But man­u­fac­tur­er’s advice would over-rule these sug­ges­tions.  The pow­er should have a lit­tle well made in it and the var­nish should be added to this.  A test for readi­ness is to use an ink knife to scoop up the ink and make sure that you can cre­ate a three inch strand of con­tin­u­ous ink flowing.

Too much pow­der will leave too lit­tle var­nish to car­ry the ink and this will leave the pow­der on the sur­face of the fin­ished job which will be prone to rub­bing off.

Final­ly, whether using ready-mixed or tra­di­tion­al metal­lic inks, you could exper­i­ment by adding a lit­tle colour to see if you can achieve a metal­lic coloured effect on your work.