Graphite powder: experimenting with metallic finishes

What’s the best way to achieve a shiny metallic finish? Airbrush? Spray paints? Lacquers? What about graphite powder and a bit of elbow grease? Whistler joins me in the shop to see what different substrates mean for graphite powder finishes. We try applying different amounts of graphite powder to white, grey, and black surfaces and get very different results!

Watch the full video above to see our process, or check out a quick table of our results below:

Graphite Powder Experiment Results

SatinN/AGalvanized metal
N/ABlack chrome


  • Higher gloss = higher reflection.
  • More applications of graphite = more shine. It took multiple passes and lots of polishing to get the white to look chrome.
  • If there’s a clearcoat, it seems to make it easier for the graphite to adhere to the surface – something for those particles to stick into.
  • Safety first – eye protection, mask, and gloves are all recommended. Gloves also make cleanup much easier – look how dirty our hands got!
  • The finish is pretty durable but can be rubbed off if you try. We brought the finish back just by polishing more graphite into the affected spot.

I don’t think this is nearly the end of our graphite powder experiments – there’s lots more to explore here!

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