Get Started With Electroplating
If you're a jewelry-making enthusiast, you probably love learning new techniques. Electroplating is one technique you should have in your arsenal. It allows you to create beautiful, gold-plated pieces of jewelry for a fraction of the cost of working with solid gold. This technique can be used on most types of precious metals. If you've never electroplated jewelry before, here are four tips to help you get started:
1. Nickel-plate your jewelry first.
Even if your ultimate goal is coating your jewelry with a layer of gold or silver, nickel-plating is the first step. Nickel will allow your precious metal to adhere to the surface of your jewelry. It's also an inexpensive base coat, which makes it perfect for practicing.
2. Use the highest quality metal you can afford.
The quality of the metal you use for electroplating will directly affect your results. Cheap metal will tend to look worse, and your hard work will be wasted. When purchasing metal anodes, look for high quality anodes made from pure materials. Find electroplating nickel anodes from a reputable distributor, and save yourself the headache of working with subpar products.
3. Purchase a kit.
When you first start electroplating, you likely don't have the materials you need available in your house or workshop. Electroplating uses electricity to cover a metal object with a light coat of a different type of metal. In order to accomplish this, you'll need a power source, an insulated container to hold electrified liquid, a dilute acid, and metal anodes to provide the coating you desire.
For your first foray into the world of electroplating, it's often easier to purchase a pre-made kit that contains everything you need. These kits often include small quantities of all the necessary materials, which will allow you to discover if you like electroplating. If you want to continue electroplating jewelry in the future, the kit will give you an idea of what kind of materials you should buy in larger quantities.
4. Take safety precautions seriously.
When performed correctly, electroplating will not harm you. However, it's still a dangerous process that has the potential to cause harm if done incorrectly. Always wear the proper safety equipment when electroplating, including goggles and insulated gloves. According to Ganoksin, you should always use a ventilation hood when electroplating because the fumes created during the process are toxic. Never perform electroplating in a closed room without open windows and adequate airflow.