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Silver Plating organic matter/Fresh flowers


I posted my quieries on conductive paints and electroplating
earlier. Thanks to the many leads I picked up and specific
suggestions from friends out there, I think I’ve a good procedure
now.It works.

I am currently attempting to silverpalte fresh flowers. To be
specific ’ Roses’ and ’ Orchids '. Both have typical problems.
The rose center it difficult to handle as the plating seems
weak.Even after plating I think I can faintly smell their
fragrance Orchids on stems are fragile and do not stand up to
agitation of the silver bath.The plating seems to develop cracks
at certain random points.

Can some one please suggest solutions to my current problem? Do
I need to seal the flowers with some precoat? How do I harden the
weak points?Or do I seal/precoat-harden the whole flower?

Will / should I antitarnish the plated flowers?

Will the flowers deform on standing if small microscopic pores
remain? or simple burst out with the exiting moisture?

Wishing you all a happy new year.



Hello Rajah, thanks very much for your excellent description on
how to plate organic matter…

You’re quite right - I have no experience with plating but I
find this so interesting that I will certainly try this out. I
just have to arrange up a plating set-up.

Is there any ideas out there to how one easiest (low cost
interesting) can get a good working plating (silver) system?

Again, thank you Rajah.

R G D S Lars Dahlberg/Sweden

I am looking to replicate orchid species in a durable substance
and color them in enamel or lacquer. This would entail whole
plants and flowers in life scale. Lost wax was the process
under investigation for doing this, but concerns as to accurate
fine detail and high lost wax high defect rate is prompting the
investigation of other techniques. I wonder if organic plating
may have potential for my purposes. Achieving accurate, lifelike
detail in a durable material with a lifelike coloration applied
is my ultimate goal for the finished work. Lars, Rajah, any
input is appreciated.


Yes I have some thoughts on your objectives as I am currently
plating fresh Orchids and Roses.I can’t say they are perfect from
an ornamantal stand point but I’m still perfecting the production
protocol.( I silver palte mine and currently am stabilising the
finer points of the silver/microns and antitarnish…

You might try the following,first with sturdy stem plants and
then work down to more delicate ones.(Orchids on stems are
difficult as they are fragile at point of attatchment of leaves
to stem.Individual leafs are no problem, stemed is a different

1.Brush paint conductive paint.( you can retain fine plant
details if you dont over coat the item).

2.Air drying for 3/4 hours.Ensure that drying is done in a clean
environment that does not leave painted object to catch
particulate dust.

3.Plate the object.The thickness can be worked on as per the
kind of plant to ensure a rigid and durable structure.

  1. Enamel.

#3 is subject your experiance with plating.I coppper plate my
flowers.You can do the same it works. I use a bright acid copper
bath for the plating.As the resultant output will be rigid and
durable you could work on it further.Buildup a good copper
coating and then enamel as one would enamel copper objects.

Hope the above may help???Any additions clarification please
feel free.


Ps look for RISIS (Singapore) on the web.You can see their gold
plated Orchids.

Rajah - Just curious - do you not have to burn the flower out of
the piece before you then enamel it? Laura

    do you not have to burn the flower out of the piece before
you then enamel it? 

Hi Laura.

The process I follow is:

1.Metallize the flower.

2.Layer plate first with bright copper followed by a silver
strike and finally silver.

Once the plating has been done the flower is sealed.

I guess the enamel that can be applied will have to be cold
enamel.If you need to klin it I see we may be in trouble.What
will happen to the moisture in the flower??? I have no
experience.Let me know the temperature at which you might need to
klin it and I will try although without enamel as I have not

Just a thought! if the enameling needs a klin step may be we can
try a thicker plating which will be strong enough to stand the
steam pressure generated? which will eventually cool off. If you
have other ideas that may work please let me know.


Rajah said,

 Just a thought! if the enameling needs a klin step may be we
can try a thicker plating which will be strong enough to stand
the steam pressure generated?

You won’t be able to plate enough silver on the flower to
contain the stream generated by heating to enamaling temperature.
You might try drilling a small hole(s) in an inconspicous spot on
the item to let the steam escape. The hole can be sealed later.

Heat it slowly at first. You don’t want a steam power flower
rocket (bg).