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My Jewelry teacher is seting up an electroforming station (using
copper) in our stdio at school. I was wondering; are their any
inexspencive ways to make a metalic paint? Also any experiances
others have hade with electroforming would be greatly


Hi Isaac,

Back in the '80s, when I had a chance to play with a little
electroforming, I painted lacquer where I wanted the forming to
occur. While it was still tacky, I dusted it with copper powder.
I seem to recall it was copper powder I generated in sawing some
copper sheet. You could probably get similar results by filing
the edge of a copper sheet with a coarse file.

It seems one advantage of this technique is that all the copper
is on the surface, as opposed to being suspended in the paint.
Many of my recollections of the process are vague… but as I
indicated in my recent post, I’d like to get back into it if I
can build/find an inexpensive rectifier.

Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio
Charlotte, NC


The following is taken from a section on conductivizing in an
electroforming book I am slowly working on:

There are quite a few methods of conductivising available to us.
In all of them perfect cleanliness before beginning is

By mixing very finely ground grease-free copper or silver flakes
or powders into thin lacquers or fast evaporating solvents one
can paint or spray on a conductive coating. For our purposes
spraying is far too wasteful so we usually brush the lacquers on.

Easiest to use (and most expensive) is ‘Silver Print’ or a
similar fine silver powder in a lacquer solution. This is painted
on and let dry. The solvent is often Butyl Acetate (major
ventilation requirement and potential health hazard). What we use
is most often a silver lacquer used for touching up printed
circuits and fine electrical connections. The copper lacquers
often need some thinning prior to use. For almost all
conductivising this method will be the best for us to use.
Nickel Print which is a nickel powder in solution is an
inexpensive alternative that appears to work very well.

"Electro-typers grease free flakes" may be brushed onto the
article, the excess washed off in slow running cold water and
then the article plated. There is also a spray-on graphite
coating (mixed with adhesive already) available which may be of
some use in certain situations. I have used a ‘dry graphite
spray’ from the automotive store, it worked eventually but began
with a spotty plating.

For Plastics
One may mix “electrotypers copper flakes” or powder into the
solvent for the plastic in question and then plate or spray it
on. Bronze powders can be used in a similar manner.

Another method is to immerse the plastic in it’s solvent and
then roll it in a mixture of copper powders and crease-free
graphite flakes. When dry the excess is brushed off.

For Waxes
One may follow the same basic procedures as for plastics, except
that when casting wax into a rubber mold one may dust the mold
heavily with conductive materials prior to casting it. If done
correctly this will conduct electricity well enough for
electro-deposition to take place. The brush on lacquers remain
the easiest and fastest treatment.

There are some conductive waxes and plastics available, but they
are hard to find and are rather expensive compared to the
lacquers. They may fit some particular situation perfectly

It is also possible to shellac the object and dust it or to
place gold or silver foils over it. The foil method dates from a
time when very skilled craftsmen were available and metal powders
could not be as finely ground. It is very expensive and time
consuming but there may be a time when it could be used for its
decorative effect on the inside.

Most industrial methods involve chemical silvering of the
object. This has some advantages but for us it is too
complicated. Using the silvering methods one may electrodeposit
on glass and ceramics. This is the same method as is used for
resilvering mirrors. It is possible to do it on a small scale
but the reasons for doing so would have to be good in order to go
to the trouble. I refer you to Linick, The Jewellers Workshop

Amalgums may also be made up and used but these are again a
rather old-fashioned and a dangerous method.

hope this helps

Brain Press
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada
Tel: 403-263-3955 Fax: 403-283-9053 Email: @Charles_Lewton-Brain

Metals info download web site:
Product descriptions:
Links list hosted at the Metal Web News:

I believe paint is, essentially, pigment suspended in a medium.
oil based paints are suspended in a varnish, with pigments and
whitening, or shalk, added to achieve the desired color. Lots of
leafing sources sell what I think is called bronzing powder–(I
am having to pull a lot of these names out of deep cold storage,
so bear with me), which is essnetially pulverized leaf. If you
mixed that in, you probably would come up with a paint with
metallic glints. Just a theory.

I’ve been prototyping a lot of small waxes that aren’t moldable, and
I’d like to experiment with electroforming over them rather than
casting from them.

Would anyone who’s tried this process be willing to comment on the
suitability it for my work? A typical piece that I’d like to try is

Picture it scaled down to 1".

If it seems possible, would you be willing to try a few pieces for
me? I’m happy to pay: I just don’t want to shell out for a setup
(about $500 from Rio) and then find out some teeth-gratingly obvious
reason that this technique won’t work on my pieces.

Thanks, -Sheba Bathsheba Grossman
(831) 429-8224 Digital sculpture Creative prototyping

Hi I would like to know wich coating is used to electroform non
metallic objects. Does electrodag 18db70x is ever been used by one
of you and what are your comments. Thanks

Guy Audette

Hi Guy: What is electroforming? I’ve seen an Italian pice of
electroformed silver and it was too light. Can you or some one tell
me what equipment do I need a nd where can I learn de process. Thanks

Aurelio de la Parra
Quer=E9taro, M=E9xico.

Hi Aurelio,

You can contact a tool company such as Rio Grande on the Internet,
look at the catalog - then order the book:

Electroplating and Electroforming by Lee Scott Newmann and Jay
Hartley Newman, 110 photographs, 20 color plates, 96 pages,
paperback, Crown Publishers, Inc., One Park Avenue, New York, NY
10016. My particular issue is 1986, ISBN 0517530597.

Also, try contacting Dalmar Manufacturing @

Tambien, si quieres, puedes cominicar conmigo en Espanol:)

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts
2207 Lucile Ave.
Stockton, CA 95209
209-477-0550 Workshop/Studio/Classrooms