In this article, we will find the answer to the question to the question How Is Electroforming Done For Beginners?
When I was looking around on the Internet one day for some ideas to add to my fused glass and metal art I discovered the art of electroforming.
I loved the idea that you could add Metal/ copper to almost any object and it brought out a whole new dimension to the peace.
One of the questions I had at that time was exactly how was electroforming done.
So I spent some time looking into the hobby of electroforming and this is what I found out.
The Answer To The Question How Is Electroforming Done?
Electroforming is a technique of building layers of metal on objects by applying an electrochemistry process.
It results in an object, either with a thin or thick coating of metal/copper that is called an electroformed object.
You can electroform many kinds of metal but copper is the most widely used.
Yes, you can reuse the electroforming solution many times, though you will have to filter it after a few uses.
The durability of the piece is determined by how long the piece is in the electroforming bath.
How To Copper Electroform A Crystal Ring at Home
How Do You Start Electroforming?
- Step 1: Glue – Take superglue and glue the crystal, gemstone, etc. to the ring shank or pendant.
- Step 2: Epoxy – Use liquid latex to seal gemstones, etc.
- Step 3: Painting – Paint the object with conductive paint and let dry overnight.
- Step 4: Connect the piece to the rectifier.
- Step 5: Prepare the electroforming bath.
- Step 6: Connect the wires to the piece and rectifier.
- Step 7: Do the Electroforming process!
- Step 8: Shut off the rectifier, then remove the pieces.
What Metals Can You Electroform?
The answer to this question might seem easy but there is more than one type of metal you can electroform. You see, most beginner hobbyists are focused on a single metal that they want to work with.
This, however, limits your creativity and will make it hard to expand into other metals in the future.
Nearly any metal can be electroformed (silver, gold, nickel, copper, etc.).
Let’s use copper as an example, you need to purchase the proper electroforming solution, that contains copper metal particles that will be suspended in the solution.
It is the particles that are attached to your work in the electroforming process.
While it is possible to electroform copper, gold, and other “precious metals” copper is the most commonly used metal in this process for the hobbyist because of its beautiful look and lower cost than gold or silver.
Copper has its own characteristics, making it ideal for designing beautiful jewelry.
Can You Reuse The Electroforming Solution?
If proper maintenance is performed, the solution can be reused indefinitely, and the pH balance is controlled and restored.
Tips on the maintenance of solutions:
- You can replenish the solution by filling the evaporated water of the solution with distilled water regularly, returning to the original solution content line.
- This will help maintain the acid level of copper in the solution.
- Supersaturation of copper ions in the solution can cause the surface to become dull or textured.
- Every time you electroform a piece you might need to add some brightener into the solution.
- Use commercially available brighteners (I use Midas brightener) to help restore gloss and obtain a smooth and shiny surface.
- If necessary, apply 2 to 3 drops per 1000 mL of solution, don’t use too much.
- To avoid contaminating the solution, always seal organic materials, soft stones (things with a Mohs hardness rating of less than 7) or porous surfaces, rinse off baking soda residues, and avoid mixing other types of alloys.
- If the solution is contaminated, pass the solution through a carbon or charcoal filter (activated aquarium carbon or Brita filter).
- Please note that when using a carbon/charcoal filter, all brightener additives may be stripped off and maybe added again before electroforming your next batch.
- Filter the solution when necessary or between uses.
- How do you dispose of the electroforming solution?
If you do not wish to maintain the solution for any reason, do not pour it down the drain. Neutralize it with baking soda, and evaporate out the water to condense the volume then bring it to your local hazardous waste disposal service.
Does electroforming Last?
Depending on how dense a copper layer you like, the electroforming process can take anywhere from several hours to several days the more layers of copper the peace has the more durable it will be.
Depending on how long the piece is in the copper solution and the settings on your rectifier will determine the thickness of the final product.
What Does Electroforming Mean?
Electroforming is a method of depositing multiple layers of copper on the piece while it’s submerged in an electroforming solution.
Electroforming is designed to create a large amount of metal on the object and, in some situations, completely surround the object, leaving a solid piece of copper on the object.
How To Care For Electroformed Jewelry?
Some pieces of crystal jewelry need a little more attention when wearing them (especially bigger, heavier, or more fragile pieces).
It would be best to take off electroformed jewelry before bathing, showering, swimming, washing hands, etc.
Some crystals and gemstones may not be suitable to be submerged in water and may start to show wear due to repeated exposure.
One good way to protect electroformed jewelry is to dip it in a product called Protectaclear.
After you dip your jewelry in Protectaclear it will harden in a short amount of time and protect your peace against corrosion saltwater, acid rain, pollution, mildew, etc.
Your jewelry will be protected against tarnishing, corrosion, rust, oxidation, and many other dangerous elements.
Just to recap on what we just learned in this article How Is Electroforming Done For Beginners?
- Q-What metals can you electroform?
- A-All kinds of metal but copper is electroformed the most.
- Q-How do you start electroforming?
- A-We follow the many steps described above to complete a finished piece.
- Q-Can you reuse the electroforming solution?
- A-Yes you can reuse it many times though you will have to filter it after a few uses.
- Q-How do you dispose of the electroforming solution?
- A-The best way to dispose of the solution is to neutralize the solution with baking soda, then take it to your local hazardous waste disposal service.
- Q-Does electroforming last?
- A-Depending on how long the piece is in the copper solution and rectifier will determine the thickness of the final product and therefore how long it will last.
- Q-What does electroforming mean?
- A-Electroforming is a method of depositing multiple layers of metal on the piece while it’s submerged in an electroforming solution.
- Q-How to care for electroformed jewelry
- A-The best way to protect your jewelry is to apply a protective coating that will protect the piece against tarnishing, corrosion, rust, oxidation and many other dangerous elements.
ELECTROFORMING | FUSED GLASS | METAL ARTIST
I’m documenting my electroforming journey step by step. I wish I had this information when I started my electroforming journey.