Copper and Silver Electroforming


I have never done this before so I hope I’m doing it right. I can’t
tell you how important the Ganoskin is. I can’t start my work day
with out it. I have been reading it for over a year now and finally
have the guts to ask my first question or should I say questions.

My senior year in college I was really into electroforming. However,
I wasn’t able to really explore the full capabilities that
eletroforming offers. I have worked out a series of art that I need
to explore, but to do this I either need a tank or access to one. My
old adviser and director of the program isn’t the type of person who
will let me pay for time to use his tank ,( I would have to pay for
a 3 hour course that I have already passed, and I can’t afford), and
he isn’t the type of person who will share n building
one. He likes to keep his competition at his feet. I have tried to go
to him and ask, but he is unwilling like he was when I was “his
student”. great craftsman, horrible teacher.

So my question is this my dear friends, where can I find more
on how to build a tank. I’m not looking for a tank to
mass produce jewelry, but it needs to be a larger bath.

I need on both copper and silver electroforming. I know
the basic safety issues but I would like more a more in-depth
I’ve seen rectifiers on e-bay but are there other places
to get supplies? Is there a book out there? I found one book at the
library that gives the very basics, which I already have. Thank you
for listening and I look forward to hearing back form everyone! Any
is good )

in Ohio you can almost taste the Spring in the air!

Here is an article by Kate Fowle that explains how to do a small set
up, should be of some help.

Here’s her intro:

  "In this article, I hope to present a very simple description
  of electroforming. In his book, Jewelry: Concepts and
  Technology (New York, NY: 1982, Doubleday), Oppi Untract
  defines electroforming as the "process of synthesizing a metal
  object by controlling the electrodeposition of metal passing
  through an electrolytic solution onto a metal or metallized
  form." Very simply, a metal skin can be built up on a metal
  surface, or any surface that has been rendered
  electroconductive through the application of a paint that
  contains metal particles. This differs from electroplating
  basically because the skin is much thicker and can exist as a
  self-supporting structure if the original matrix is removed." 

So you should probably also check out Oppi’s book, which you simply
must have anyway.


which refers you to:

where you can buy:

  "The fourth book in Jim Kervin's new series, The Enamel and
  Electroform Decorated Beads of Kate Fowle Meleney, is 34 pages
  devoted to the methods I use to create my sculptural beads and
  my enameled and electroformed surfaces. Great photographs and
  detailed instructions are included. Price: $15 for an
  autographed copy." 

and which lists the source for the conductive paint:

Safer Solutions Inc. 215-232-5459


Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


Back in the late 60’s or 70’s, Rock and Gem had several serial
articles on electroforming. I saw one of them not too long ago when I
was going over some of the old magazines. One article was all about
how to build your own electroforming system. If I find it I will
notify…but you could go to them and see what they can tell you.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where simple elegance
IS fine jewelry! @coralnut2


I Googled and found this site which should help you to set up a
tank. It also includes books which are available on the subject, and
Rio is said to have a basic setup for electroforming. I also ran
across a lady to has several research projects on electroforming for
UC San Jose in CA.

Remember, your activities for the last four years have taught you
the basics of your subject, how to research, and how to communicate.
Now is the time to research and communicate. Don’t be to hard on your
instructor, sometimes the last lesson is frustration (motivation) for
the will to move on.

Good luck to ya.

There is a British book:

‘Electroforming’ by Leslie Curtis published by A&C Black at UKP13.99.

I thought is was up to date and comprehensive. The suppliers are all
in the UK though.


Hi Amanda,

And one more book to check out is “The Penland Book of Jewelry”

It’s another Lark book filled with amazing artists describing in
detail their techniques. Maria Phillips does the electroforming

For anyone else into books, a rundown of chapters includes:

  • Nontraditional color on metal by Marilyn da Silva
  • Forging by John Cogswell
  • Alloying by Jaime Pelissier
  • Fabricating with Steel by Rob Jackson
  • Casting by Heather White van Stolk
  • Die forming by Jan Baum
  • Alternative stone setting by Tom McCarthy
  • Electroforming by Maria Phillips
  • Etching by Mary Ann Scherr
  • Granulation by Douglas Harling

no affiliation, just a bookaholic who really likes this one (someone
else on Orchid, Karen, I think, recommended it awhile back, thanks!)


Hi Amanda,

You can improvise a tank of any size which will be quite long
lasting by simply draping a sheet of polythene sheeting into a box
which could be cardboard, wood, metal or whatever and hold the
sheeting firmly in place with a few bulldog clips. An alternative
would be one of the cheap plastic stacking storage boxes which, over
here, are available in all the ‘five and dime’ type shops. I bought a
couple yesterday which are about 1 foot square and 9 inches deep with
a snap on lid for 1UKP each (about $1.75US or $2CDN). You can heat
these with a fish tank-type heater and thermostat.

Best wishes, Ian
Ian W. Wright

Just in case my post about the Penland book confused anyone, I want
to clarify that the list of techniques are in the Penland book as
master classes. They are not separate books by those artists.