Tefillin Paint


Is there a matte finish Tefillin paint that is ready to go?

I use the Tefillin paint (thick) mixed with lacquer thinner, however I am asked often if they have a paint that is able to be used and stored in the Tallis bag.


  1. I repainted my Tfillin with דיו לנצח לרפידוגרף.
    First I rubbed the Tfillin with sand paper to remove old loose paint, then I repainted them.

  2. Replies
    1. To make it matte wait for it to dry a little (not too much), then go over the paint with a Q-tip.

  3. The only paints that are marketed to the public for touch ups are the markers and the glossy bottled paint. The markers look best on batim as they aren't glossy.
    Neither option is ideal nor long term.

    The liter bottles of "Benedict" paint (the base is thinner 21 which is not available in the US and perhaps elsewhere) is the best option but can't be sold in small touch up bottles since it regularly needs to be thinned down (with thinner 21 in Israel or acetone where thinner 21 isn't available.)

    Zvi- he's looking for an option to sell to individuals so they can touch up their tefillin. While your ink may work, it's not within the $5-10 price point and it needs to be simple to use.

    Those of you who are at least middle age will likely recall that in yeshiva and elsewhere we commonly used shoe dye, which worked so well, much better than the specially prepared small tefillin paint bottle and markers available today.

    1. is there any reason not to use the shoe dye or creams? they do seem like they would work better

    2. How do we know that shoe dye or shoe paste do not contain non-kosher ingredients?

    3. just wondering if anyone looked into it

  4. I should say liter *cans* of Benedict paint.

  5. It was apparently acceptable for most of the yeshiva world until about 30 years ago. Anyways, the 2 concerns are whether non kosher oils are used and if the black pigment contains any non kosher specie animal bone.

    A lab can check for all this, for a fee of course.

    Years ago I consulted with the chief chemist at likely the largest maker of shoe polish/dye. I did not explain to him why I was asking so he had no reason not to be fully honest. He told me that everything they put in is synthetic and that while they purchase the pigment he was quite confident that it was from synthetic/natural (not animal) sources as well. Perhaps this is what others had been told years ago and why it was widely used.
    Today there are a few individuals who won't even use the Benedict paint that almost all use for batim, out of concern that the pigment many in fact contain some animal bone and they do a rare run of aniline based paint, which has the habit of taking on a purple/brown/reddish hue which Rav Elyashiv was machshir, albeit bedieved, until corrected (a baby wipe or moist cloth should do it), which was discussed in the forum just weeks ago.

  6. I should say that a lab can likely identify if there may be an ingredient from an animal source. They can't differentiate between animal species.

  7. Since we are on the topic, what is the best kosher and longest lasting method for blackening retzuos? The kosher touch up pens are useless..

    1. דיו לנצח לרפידוגרף. First rub the area with sand paper, then paint it. דיו לנצח לרפידוגרף remains flexible forever, so it never cracks.

  8. The touch up paints/markers are nothing more than for small touch ups and are mostly good for a temporary fix.

    How long it will last depends on where the problem is. If it's in a place where the skin, sleeve/hat or batim rubs against it or where the retzuah rubs against itself then it will wear off more quickly.
    It also depends if the spot being painted is a crack, rough or smooth. The paint can more easily soak into a roughened surface, which includes cracks. However, smooth spots, such as along the top edges of the retzuah wear very quickly and those spots should be lightly sanded in order to open the pores to enable the paint to soak in.

    Tzvi- perhaps consider developing an affordable retzuah touch up paint? The small bottle of rapidograph ink at around 90-100NIS, while going a very long way for a rapidograph, is not going to be marketable to the public and isn't an affordable option to sofrim who have to paint a lot of retzuos.
    Eli, your question should be, what *confirmed* kosher options are there as in all likelihood, shoe dye is synthetic and hence kosher (and excellent) option and can be confirmed with research and a lab test, if someone wants to put in the effort and expense.


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