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Electroplating and Powder Coating

Silver conducts electricity. Any silver-coated surface, whether it is plastic, ceramic or glass, is electrically active. Once the surface is silvered, you can powder coat it or electroplate it. You can use any of our mirror kits to silver any surface.

Conductive paints often change the gloss and texture of the surface. Our silver does not does not change the original texture of the surface in any way. It does not make a rough surface smooth or a dull surface shiny.

In this photo, the multimeter shows that the resistance across this piece of silvered acrylic is 62.3 ohms.

 

General Tips

  • Wear gloves at all times to keep your fingerprints off the surface.
  • Silvering is a wet process. Seal porous objects first with a penetrating sealer.
  • Rinse the silvered surface thoroughly before placing it in the electroplating tank.
  • Be sure that the wire touches the silvered surface without scratching it.
  • Enclose small objects in a wire cage.
  • Nickel is the best metal to plate over our silver. You can plate any metal, including gold, over the nickel in a second plating bath.

Voltage and Time

  • Begin by using the lowest voltage possible - about 2.7 volts.
  • Use about 1/10 amp per square inch.
  • Plate the object for at least one hour. Two hours usually produces a good thick coat.
  • Test the thickness of the coat with your fingernail. If you can scrape it off, put the object back in the bath and continue plating.

Adding Additional Coats

  • When the object has a good coat of nickel, you can buff it to a high shine with jeweler's rouge and a polishing wheel before brush or tank plating it with other metals.
  • For chrome plating, first silver the object, then nickel plate it, then chrome plate it. Unlike "spray chrome", this process does not require a protective top coat.

Brush Plating

The silver coat you get from our mirroring chemicals is too thin for brush plating. If you want to brush plate an object, you must tank plate it with nickel first.

Powder Coating

When you coat a plastic part with silver, you do not need to heat it to make the powder coating stick. Just dry the silver completely and apply the powder coating directly over the bare silver.