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Dipping Chrome

There are several ways to achieve a spray chrome result. We developed this process as an alternative to spraying.

Automotive grade 2-part polyurethanes such as Clear Uni-Coat are designed to repel water. When the object is immersed in the silver, the chemicals are forced into complete, even contact with the base coat and so they deposit evenly.

Each step in the process – base coat, silver, top coat – is a separate operation. You can mix and match as you like. There is no chemical or operational reason why you could not spray the base coat and then dip the piece to silver it or paint on the base coat and then spray on the silver. The top coat can also be sprayed or painted.

Please read our Basic Spray Chrome Instructions before you start the 'paint and dip' process. They contain important information not listed here.

Finding the Tools

  • Buy or make a tub big enough to hold your piece and allow the chemicals to slosh over it. You can use a clean pastic storage container or make a wooden box and line it with a continuous sheet of sturdy plastic. The process is based on our 3-D Glass technique. 
  • Use a natural bristle paint brush or a soft cloth to apply the Clear Uni-Coat. Disposable foam brushes and rollers create air bubbles in the base coat. Plastic bristle paint brushes could react with the solvents in the base coat. Clean the brush with lacquer thinner.

Diluting the Silver

  • Add 10 ml of 2-Part Spray Silver Solution to 1000 ml (1 liter) of distilled water.
  • Add 10 ml of 2-Part Spray Silver Reducer to 1000 ml (1 liter) of distilled water.
  • Mix remaining chemicals as you would for the spray technique. See our Basic Spray Chrome Instructions .

Painting On the Base Coat

If your piece is metal, you must cover it completely with Clear Uni-Coat. An exposed metal surface in contact with the silvering chemicals will destroy the silvering process. If your piece is plastic, you do not need to cover the back with Clear Uni-Coat.

  • Wear gloves to keep the Uni-Coat off your hands.
  • Apply Clear Uni-Coat to the areas you want to have a mirror finish.
  • Use a soft hair brush or soft cloth to apply the Uni-Coat. Disposable foam brushes will add small air bubbles to the surface.
  • Working from one end to the other, apply one wet coat taking care to avoid runs and sags.
  • Inspect it carefully as you go so you do not miss spots. The silver will make these areas very obvious.
  • Clear Uni-Coat sets up fast. Painting over a previously painted area can leave brush marks.
  • Allow the Uni-Coat to cure for at least 12 hours before you silver it.

Dipping In the Silver (Chroming the Piece)

  1. Clean the piece on all sides with Concentrated Glass Cleaner and rinse with distilled water.
  2. Use a trigger spray bottles to spray on enough Wetting Agent to cover the surface you want to chrome.
  3. Use another trigger spray bottle to spray a generous layer of Sensitizer on top of the Wetting Agent.
  4. Allow the Wetting Agent / Sensitizer mix to sit on the piece for about 30 seconds.
  5. Rinse the entire piece thoroughly with distilled water. You can hold the piece in clean gloved hands without harming the sensitizing or silver layer.
  6. Pour the diluted Silver Solution only into your silvering tub.
  7. Add the clean wet piece to the Silver Solution.
  8. Pour the diluted Silver Reducer into one corner of the tub – do not pour it directly on top of the piece.
  9. Slosh the tub to mix the Silver and Reducer and allow the mix to run all over the piece.
  10. The mixed Silver and Reducer chemicals will stay clear, then turn dark and then turn muddy gray. The process takes 30 to 60 seconds depending on the ambient temperature.
  11. Remove your piece when the chemicals begin to turn muddy gray. Leaving it in longer will dull the silver.
  12. Rinse the piece thoroughly with distilled water.
  13. Let it dry completely and then top coat it.

Painting On the Top Coat

  • You can handle a silvered (chromed) piece with clean dry gloves without harming the silver.
  • Follow the instructions in our Basic Spray Chrome kit for tinting the top coat.
  • Follow the painting instructions above to paint the top coat.
  • Make sure that you use a clean soft brush or cloth to apply the top coat to avoid scratching the silver.

If you are not happy with the silver coat, you can clean it off with Silver Remover, rinse it 2 or 3 times with distilled water and re-silver it. The process of silvering is logical, not magical - although getting a perfect result can be magically beautiful.