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Thanks to recent scientific advances, you can buy conductive inks in the form of pens, paints, and even printer cartridges, but have you ever wondered if you could make your own?

You can, and following a simple process developed by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Materials Research Laboratory, itʼs actually quite easy to produce the conductive ink at home.

The following steps have been adapted from the UIUC paper titled “Reactive Silver Inks for Patterning High-Conductivity Features at Mild Temperatures,” and have been simplified for the amateur chemist.

CAUTION: The chemicals used are strong-smelling, corrosive, and can stain skin and clothes. You must wear chemical-splash safety goggles, neoprene gloves, a long-sleeve shirt, pants, and close-toed shoes. Due to the fumes created, this project must be done outside or in a fume hood.

Preparation

Clean all glassware and tools and lay them out on your work surface. It is important to read through all of the steps, and make sure that you understand them thoroughly before beginning.