You can silver-plate small items at home with a rectifier and silver electroplating solution. Most small, nonferrous metal objects or jewellery can be silver-plated. Items that are not metal can be painted with electro-conductive paint to be silver-plated. Silver-plating small items is possible in most homes or studios using proper precautions. Large silver-plating projects require large, expensive equipment that makes it unattractive, if not impossible, for most crafters or small studio owners.
Dip the nonferrous metal item in acetone and rinse it with distilled water. Dry the item.
Attach the positive lead from the rectifier to the metal that supplies the electroplating solution. Use an alligator clip to secure the positive lead.
Attach the negative lead from the rectifier to the metal item you plan to silver plate. Use an alligator clip to secure the negative lead.
Pour the electrolyte solution into a glass container. The glass container must be large enough to submerge the metal item. Add additional solution, if needed. The target item must be suspended in the solution and should not touch the glass container.
Set the rectifier dials and turn on the rectifier as specified by manufacturer. The rectifier creates a low voltage of direct current that will cause metal ions to silver-plate the target item.
Adjust the rectifier settings as needed. Leave the target item in the electroplating solution until it is silver-plated. The time will depend on how thick you want the silver plating. Record the time and voltage for future reference.
Wear gloves to protect your hands, goggles to protect your eyes and a mask to protect your lungs when working with the chemicals used to silver-plate brass. Use caution when working with electrical current.
Things you need
- Distilled water
- Rectifier and leads with alligator clips
- Glass container
- Electroplating solution
- "The Complete Metalsmith: Professional Edition"; Tim McCreight; 2005
- "Metalsmithing"; Robert Ebendorf, Michael Jerry, and Thomas Markusen; 1973
- "Jewellery: Fundamentals of Metalsmithing"; Tim McCreight; 1997
- "Jewellery Concepts and Technology"; Oppi Untracht; 1982
- "The Complete Book of Jewelry Making"; Carles Codina; 2006