How to Silver-Plate Copper

Written by egon schiele
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How to Silver-Plate Copper
Small copper items can be plated with silver. (copper pendant image by Allyson Ricketts from Fotolia.com)

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.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Cotton swab
  • Cotton cloth
  • Copper dip
  • Immersion-plating silver kit

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Instructions

  1. 1

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

  2. 2

    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.

  3. 3

    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.

Tips and warnings

  • 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.

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