Metallic Dust

Hi everyone, just wondering if anyone can tell me how to apply metallic dust to prints. I have seen it around a fair bit, most people say it is applied by hand - had a customer ask recently.


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Indeed most of the time it’s applied by hand, but in the past Karl Krause did built machines to do the dusting. I don’t know if any of them still exist. I use bronze, silver and gold powders that I buy from a small company here in the Netherlands. The powders are ground between stones in a windmill, ‘De Kat’ close to Amsterdam. They also grind pigments for painters. Depending on what result I want, I print a sheet, dust it with a small dab of cottonwood and the powder. I leave it to dry overnight and next day I remove the surplus with a small brush or a very soft cloth.
Check out their website here:

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I once put bronze powder in a pounce bag made from a loose weave shop rag. Shake the bag over a fresh print and the powder sticks to the wet ink. Next day use a soft bristle brush to remove excess powder. Two years later I’m still finding powder in my shop. WEAR A MASK! You will have powder in your lungs if you don’t. I recommend building an enclosure, like a sandblast cabinet, if you have a long run.

Sharecropper, there is no need for masks when you gently apply the bronze powder in a dabbing motion, the powder will only adhere to the printed areas.

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Use to run “Goes” bronzed certificate borders through small offset presses and you would still have bronze residue in the ink after many wash ups, nasty stuff it goes everywhere, wear a mask.

I triple down on wearing a mask. It only takes the slightest air current to make the metal flakes airborne. It gets everywhere, including eyes. Years ago this work was given to children who would die from lung ailments at early ages.

Compared to bronzing powders, coal dust is beach sand. :o) For those bent on going maskless, well, after using said powder(s) try this: draw a very deep breath then exhale, forcefully, into a fresh Kleenex. See that gunk? That’s powder. Now, imagine that cutting through the lung’s alveolae. It’s either a mask - or how long can you hold your breath? :o)

I’ve got to agree with those who say to wear a mask. Metallic Dust can be rather nasty, not only for it’s potential to damage one’s lungs but also for it’s propensity to be toxic. And as Sharecropper mentioned, it gets everywhere and floats around your shop forever. A friend of mine still has bronze powder in the crevices of his shop from a project we did back in the 1980’s.

However… that is not to say I’m opposed to using it. Used right, it can be quite effective. BUT nowadays I tend to prefer Mica Powder…. it can be absolutely gorgeous sprinkled over a varnish base.