Anodizing Titanium and Niobium Body Jewelry

Sign up for the workshop with Brian Skellie

APP Conference / Online Anodizing is Awesome!”

Previously Presented at BMXnet, UKAPP, APP, LBP, 2º Congresso Educativo para Perfuradores Corporais da América do Sul – ATPB 2013

1) What is Anodizing?

Anodizing is a process where a coating is built up on the surface of certain metals (titanium, niobium, tantalum, aluminum, magnesium and zinc) by heating, with chemicals, or by electricity. In the case of titanium, the coating that is built up is a layer of titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide, which is also known as titanium oxide, occurs naturally on the surface of titanium. Anodizing the surface of titanium can be done by the use of heat but the results are not easily controlled. The most common method is to form an oxide layer on the surface with the use of electricity. The way that this is done is with a variable power supply in which an electrode is connected to the positive side (anode), and one to the negative side (cathode). Both are then submerged into a mildly conductive solution, thus completing the electrical circuit. The piece that is to be anodized is connected to the positive side, and that is why the process is called “anodizing”.

2) How are the different colors achieved?

Anodizing does not involve any dyes. The color on the surface is apparent because light reflects through the created oxide layer to create a color. Without the presence of light that color wouldn’t be there. Light reflects off of the surface of titanium. When a piece is high polished and not anodized, it reflects its mirror finish. When a piece is anodized, the light has to reflect [refract] off of the surface through the added oxide layer. The oxide layer filters the light waves passing through it and causes interference in the light reflected. This causes the light to reflect in a color. The color that is apparent on an anodized piece of titanium depends on the thickness of the oxide layer that has been applied to it. The thickness of the oxide layer that is formed during the process depends on the voltage of electricity that has been that has been applied to it. If you are anodizing more than one piece and you want them to be the exact same color, it would be a good idea to anodize them all at the same time. You may not get a color match if you do them on separate occasions. Thicker and/or larger pieces to be anodized may take longer and sometimes increased voltage, to achieve a similar color to their thinner, smaller counterparts.

3) What will you need to start anodizing?

  • An anodizer
  • A cathode (A sheet of non-corrosive metal like titanium or stainless steel. A scrap piece of Ti or SS that is larger than the piece being anodized will work, as well)
  • An anode ( The piece being anodized)
  • A submersion tank (This should be made of glass or plastic)
  • An electrolytic solution (TSP or a TSP-PF cleaning solution with water, baking soda with water, cola soft drink)
  • Electrodes

It is possible build your own anodizer. You can find information about this on the internet. It is much easier to buy an anodizer from a company that sells them already built. We get ours from Reactive Metals in Arizona. They come with the anodizer, electrodes, stainless steel cathode sheet, instructions, and a pamphlet with some info about anodizing.

The Anodizer your studio needs! The power to create scintillating colors, run larger baths and precise control. It is the right power supply for both one of a kind and production anodizing of body jewelry. Full digital voltage and amperage meters. 0 to 120 Volts. Extremely fine controls for more color options, and more precision. Anodizing titanium parts such as jewelry before sterilization and wear renders the surface smoother and passive. The anodization process removes microscopic particulate matter that would otherwise be missed by acid or alkaline cleaning, solvents, steam and ultrasonic methods. [*Reference - ASTM F-86 standard method for surface finish and passivation] This anodizer include two sets of color coded leads, one pair of rubber gloves, one stainless steel cathode and full instructions and support. In addition, Brian Skellie's body art specific instruction, tips and tricks gathered over two decades of experience to color and passivate titanium and niobium body jewelry with safe and artistic effects. Come to a presentation, or contact Brian for more information

Get a new anodizer with our training and support!
Full kits of accessories and supplies available for your studio anywhere in the world.

4) Which voltage achieves which color?

The more voltage that is applied during the process, the thicker the oxide layer that is achieved. The voltage range used in this type of anodizing is usually between 15-120V. The colors are in approximate ranges, and will differ slightly for each set up. It is good to start a little lower and turn it up gradually.

ColorCopperDark PurpleDark BlueLight BlueYellowFuchsiaBlurpleTealGreen
Voltage range8 to 10 V15 to 16 V18 to 20 V27 to 30 V48 to 50 V62 to 63 V72 to 75 (up to 79) V81 to 85 (up to 89) V91 to 92 (up to 95) V

This chart represents the voltage ranges that I use. I can usually achieve the color I am after within these ranges, however I always start out lower and work my way up. You can change the color of an anodized piece to another color of a higher voltage. It is possible, for instance, to turn a dark blue anodized piece to light blue, yellow, or to any of the colors of a higher voltage. It is not possible, however, to turn that dark blue piece to a purple or a copper color. If you wanted to do that, the oxide layer would have to be stripped off through polishing/steam cleaning. The quality and consistency of the oxide layer formed, largely depends on the quality of the surface finish. When we anodize a piece of jewelry to be sent out to a customer, we sometimes do not get the result we want on the first try. The piece then gets re-polished and steam cleaned, to be anodized a second time. It might be a really good idea, if you are planning to anodize jewelry yourself, to get a polishing wheel and a steam cleaner.

5) What are the benefits of an anodized surface?

6) Safety

  • NEVER touch the anode to the cathode when the power is on! This may cause your electrical circuit to short out, and may cause you to receive an electric shock. When your anodizer is not being used, shut the power off and put a cover over your submersion tank.
  • It would be a good idea for the anodizing station that you set up to be in a well ventilated area. Although it would be a very small amount, hydrogen gas is a byproduct of anodizing and can be explosive.
  • Because you are dealing with electricity, the use of rubber gloves is recommended.
  • Etching body jewelry is not recommended as it makes the surface rough.

7) Useful Websites

8) Interesting Video

Scientastic demonstration with a strip of Ti about a minute in.

Scienterrific example of a very simple anodizing setup (interesting for one-off projects, not so good or precise for frequent studio use.)

Special thanks to Jonathan Loveless and JD Lorenz of Industrial Strength Body Jewelry for sharing photo and workshop materials.

Industrial Strength Body JewelryImage may contain: Jonathan Loveless

Anodization for body jewelry (Private Training Group)
Facebook Group · 775 members

Join Group


Ideas and support for anodizing body jewelry
Private for colleagues who purchase their equipment through Brian Skellie / /
Contact Brian any time for support…


In stock
Product Details

≤1 Minute Contact Times

OPTIM 1 is proven to deliver superior kill performance; contact times are faster which ensures compliance and provides confidence that disinfection has been achieved.

OPTIM 1 has been proven effective against difficult to kill pathogens such as Norovirus, giving you confidence that your facility is protected against pathogens of concern.

OPTIM 1 – Fast & Effective!

  • 1 Minute Virucidal claim against non-enveloped and enveloped viruses!
  • 1 Minute Tuberculocidal claim!
  • 30 Second Sanitizer – 99.9% broad-spectrum kill (>3 log reduction) of vegetative bacteria!

The Perfect Balance - No compromise between efficacy and being protected.

With a 1 minute broad-spectrum contact time, OPTIM 1 is one of the fastest and most effective cleaner & intermediate level disinfectants. It is listed as a category IV, the EPA’s lowest toxicity category.

OPTIM 1 provides the confidence that you are compliant and protecting your patients, staff, equipment and the environment without compromise; the perfect balance.

Effective One-Step Cleaner

  • Removes organic debris while disinfecting, saving you time and money1

Fast Broad-Spectrum Disinfectant

  • 1 minute contact time ensures compliance, saving you time and money2

Protect yourself and your patients

  • In the lowest EPA toxicity category, category IV
  • No GHS hazard pictograms, signal words or statements required
  • No VOCs (volatile organic compounds)


  • Active ingredient, Hydrogen Peroxide, breaks down into
    water and oxygen
  • No active residues
    reduce environmental impact

Time and Cost Efficient

  • ½ as many wipes as the leading competitor are needed to keep your surface wet long enough to achieve disinfection3


Designed to be compatible with a wide range of materials4

Articles / Studies

The Dental AdvisorOPTIM 1: Editor’s Choice - 92% Overall RatingDownload
The Dental AdvisorEnvironmental Surface Wetness Test: Comparison of Disinfectant WipesDownload
The Dental AdvisorEffect of OPTIM 1 on Tensile Properties of Dental Chair FabricsDownload
The Dental AdvisorOPTIM 1 Environmental Surface Cleaning InvestigationDownload
Disinfection DigestOPTIM 1 Safety Profile OverviewDownload
Disinfection DigestOPTIM 1 Your Ideal DisinfectantDownload
Dental AegisPEER PERSPECTIVE: Ongoing Evolution of Germicides: Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide for Surface DisinfectionDownload eBook

Surface Disinfectant Contact Time*

Product NameAcitve IngredientMycobacteriaNon-enveloped VirusesEnveloped VirusesBacteriaFungicidalCleaning ClaimGHS Warning Pictograms
TBAdenoPolioNoroRotaRSVHIVHBV (Hep.B)HCV (Hep.C)Influenza AMRSAVREE.coliPSA
OPTIM 10.5% Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide130 sec30 sec30 sec30 sec30 sec30 sec30 sec30 sec30 sec111130 secOne-Step CleanerNone
OPTIM 33TB0.5% Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide511111111111110One-Step CleanerNone
Birex SEPhenolics10101010101010One-Step CleanerHarmfulCorrosive
ProSprayPhenolics31333One-Step CleanerHarmful
Caviwipes1Quats-alcohol13111111111One-Step CleanerHarmfulFlammable
CaviwipesQuats-alcohol322232233Two-Step CleanerHarmfulFlammable
Caviwipes AFQuats525555555One-Step CleanerNone
Opticide 3Quats-alcohol2332222222222Two-Step CleanerHarmfulFlammable
Sanicloth AF3Quats333330 sec33333333One-Step CleanerNone
Sanicloth SuperQuats-alcohol1222222222222One-Step CleanerHarmfulFlammable
Sultan VoloQuats-alcohol222222222Two-Step CleanerHarmfulFlammable
Discide UltraQuats-alcohol11111130 sec11111Two-Step CleanerHarmfulFlammable
Lysol IC 111Quats-alcohol6311030 sec30 sec30 sec30 sec30 sec30 sec22222One-Step CleanerFlammable
Clorox HP Wipes1.4% Hydrogen Peroxide53130 sec30 sec30 sec30 sec1130 sec30 sec30 sec5One-Step CleanerNone
HarmfulHarmful CorrosiveCorrosive FlammableFlammable


Sell Sheet: OPTIM 1 One-Step Cleaner & Intermediate DisinfectantDownload
Quick Reference Guide: OPTIM Surface Cleaner & DisinfectantDownload
Safety Data Sheet: OPTIM 1 Liquid (US)Download
Safety Data Sheet: OPTIM 1 Wipes (US)Download
Frequently Asked Questions: OPTIM 1 Wipes (US)Download

1 John Molinari, PhD, Peri Nelson, BS, and Devi J.V. Raghavan, BDS. Optim 1 Cleaning and Disinfection Study. Ann Arbor: Dental Advisor, 2016.
2 John A. Molinari, Ph.D., Peri Nelson, B.S., Antonia Molinari. Environmental Surface Wetness Test: Comparison of Disinfectant Wipes. Ann Arbor: Dental Advisor, 2016.
3 John A. Molinari, Ph.D., Peri Nelson, B.S., Antonia Molinari. Environmental Surface Wetness Test: Comparison of Disinfectant Wipes. Ann Arbor: Dental Advisor, 2016.
4 John Molinari, Ph.D., Peri Nelson, B.S. Effect of Optim 1 on Tensile Properties of Dental Chair Fabrics. Ann Arbor: Dental Advisor, 2016.
* Contact time in minutes. If blank, no published information was available. Information was obtained from publicly available material in September of 2016. Information will be updated if there are changes in claims.

Save this product for later
See you at my next Anodizing workshop!




4 thoughts on “Anodizing Titanium and Niobium Body Jewelry”

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.