How to Silver-Plate Copper

Plating copper items with a thin silver wash can give them a distinctive look characterised by a brilliant shine. Plating copper items with silver most often requires cleaning of the underlying copper object and then using an immersion product that actually adds silver to the surface. The result is a delicate silver finish.

Clean the object to remove dirt. Use a gentle cloth and water to clean the surface, using a cotton swab for the protected areas.

Remove tarnish with a copper dip. A copper dip removes the very top layer of the surface and can easily restore a finish. If your finish is uneven, a dip will make it more even. If the item is small, place it into the dip for several seconds and then rinse it completely. For larger items, put the solution on a cloth and gently apply to the item's surface, taking care to rinse completely and dry thoroughly.

Place a thin layer of silver onto the surface with the immersion-plating kit. Immersion plating can also restore silver that has worn through on an object, or put a thin layer of silver on the surface. It works by placing an item in an immersion solution with silver particles, which adhere to the copper and brass that has been exposed. This can have satisfactory, though temporary, results.


Generally, silver plating that is more extensive than what can be accomplished with an immersion technique requires the help of a professional.


Use chemicals in a well-ventilated area. Don't use toothpaste as a cleaning agent for metals because it is highly abrasive.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton swab
  • Cotton cloth
  • Copper dip
  • Immersion-plating silver kit
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About the Author

Egon Schiele is an art connoisseur who has been writing professionally for more than a decade. He works as a practicing attorney, and enjoys writing on many different topics for online publications such as eHow, Trails, and various contributions to blogs as well as print publications aimed at collectors of antiques.