Conductive paints are a great way to create artistic pieces with electronics. Use a brush or a squeeze bottle to create traces that curve and swirl to connect components. Conductive paints can also be used to ‘glue’ components to a trace. This method can be the most frustrating to use because of the mess factor and dry time. We recommend patience and practice when beginning to work with these materials.
Difficulty: Beginner - Intermediate (depending on complexity). Can be frustrating to get smooth lines. Cost: Varies. Most conductive paints start at ~$10. Mess Level: Moderate
Use it like any other water-based paint.
Can cover with other paint mediums (such as acrylic) after drying to create a seamless piece of art.
Easy to layer more paint on top of an existing trace to troubleshoot or fix an unreliable connection.
Not conductive until fully dry. Depending on the thickness of your painting and the type of paint, may need to dry overnight. A hair dryer or heat gun will speed this along.
May take some practice to get consistent lines/traces.
Copper based paints will oxidize quickly and can have a short shelf life.
Prone to cracking when under strain. Best on flat surfaces. Painted traces over folds or on bendable projects will mostly likely fail with repeated movement.
Step #1: Bare Conductive Electric Paint
Bare Conductive’s Electric Paint is a nontoxic, solvent free and water soluble carbon-based paint. Available in a squeeze tube for finer lines or pot for brush and stencil use.