Try making your own custom Electric Paint!
We are frequently asked how our Electric Paint works and whether it's possible to make it at home. While we can't give away our secret recipe, we're excited that you might want to try your hand at a bit of materials science. The tutorial that we've put together here should give you a good idea of the basic components and formulations of conductive inks and paints in general.
There are many use cases for conductive paint and conductive ink, such as repairing circuits, creating antennas, or designing sensors. There are also different variants of conductive paints, using different materials, such as silver, copper, or carbon as their conductive particles. Our Electric Paint uses different types of carbon to achieve our electrical and mechanical performance aims. Why not try and make your own conductive paint and see how it compares? The easiest way to start is using graphite powder, which you can purchase online or extract from a pencil.
We love it when you share your projects! Post your project on Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter, and make sure to tag @bareconductive or use #bareconductive. You can also send your videos and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can post them on our site for the world to see.
You will need:
- Acrylic paint
- Graphite powder
- Sundry painting tools
Step 1 Mix graphite with paint
First, mix your graphite with black acrylic paint. You can buy graphite either online or gather it by sharpening a pencil. We used a mixture of 2:1 of graphite and paint. Give it a good stir and add a bit of water to it at the end. Graphite is quite a fine powder, so you might want to wear a mask during this process.
Step 2 Apply the paint and measure
Apply the graphite paint and let it dry at room temperature. With your potentiometer, you can then measure your results and see what resistance you get. If you can't see any results, apply another coating.
Step 3 Next steps
Making your own conductive paint and getting a good conductivity is tricky. We were unable to get an even result when applying the paint and there was only conductivity at certain parts of the DIY paint. If you require large and consistent amounts, we sell our conductive carbon paint Electric Paint in our shop.
You can use the conductive paint you made in combination with a capacitive sensor to paint a sensor or create a larger electrical circuit. However, conductive paint made with carbon is fairly resistive compared to using a different metal, so if you need paint with a higher conductivity, we recommend trying out silver paint.
You can also mix carbon with other paints, such as water-based paint, to create the paint that you need for your project. Using glue instead of water allows you to create conductive glue that you can use to connect one conductive material with another one, such as copper tape.