How to do Bronzing of baby shoes
Q. I am interested in bronze plating baby shoes, Do you know where I might find info? thanks in advance for any help.Ronald S
A. It's fine to try to figure our how to do shoe bronzing, Ronald, but honestly I suggest that you prove to yourself that you can sell them first. This business is ninety eight percent sales and two percent making the shoes. So you might want to start by finding a vendor and setting up a distributorship -- learning the market before you invest, and buy toxic chemicals, and try to learn an art form solo that is perhaps better learned under apprenticeship. I've run the world's most popular metal finishing site since 1995 and can't recall more than two or three people wanting to buy bronze shoes in all those years.
letter 1 is on a related subject. Good luck with it, but if you are not an outstanding salesperson there is simply no market, and if you are an outstanding salesperson there is no need to make them yourself :-)
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
Q. Ronald S wanted to know how to bronze plate baby shoes. I remember in the 1950's seeing ads selling kits to do this in magazines such as Popular Mechanics. Recently, I saw a similar ad. They claim to offer kits to metallize baby shoes in copper, bronze, or gold. I confess to being curious since I thought it was impossible to effectively plate on to a non-metallic substrate. Does the process really work, and if so, how?Nick
A. Thanks for the update, Nick. Yes, it is possible to effectively plate non-metallic surfaces. Almost all bright automotive grills are electroplated plastic, for example.
Here is an FAQ, 'Plating organic materials', that may serve as an introduction.
For shoes, basically you metallize them by spraying them with a two-component silvering solution (the same as used in making glass mirrors). One part is a soluble silver salt, and the other part is a reducing agent; when they meet on the surface of the shoes, a very thin metallic silver is deposited; alternately you can spray with a conductive paint. Then you can carefully electroplate the silver with other metals, ending with bronze.
Q. I looked into a couple of those baby shoe "bronzing" companies. The process was not actually "plating". It was more like "coating". The first step was to dip the shoe in a clear sealer. Then you simply air-brushed (included in kit) the "bronze", "gold", "silver", or other finish coatings. I think one of the processes had you wipe on or buff a powder over the shoe. The last step was to again seal the shoe with a clear finish. Rather disillusioning I thought! The term "bronzed" referred to the color rather than the process.Jerry L
A. Not always true, Jerry!
"Potato chips" can be manufactured either by thinly slicing a fresh honest potato and deep frying those crisp slices, or by mixing up a slime of old potato paste, splurtting the slime into a mold, and baking it until it gets hards. Whereas some people are content with molded & baked paste, others demand fresh honest real potato chips. Similarly, "Bronze shoes" can be made either by actually electroplating the shoes with real metal, or by just daubing brown slime on them and letting it harden.
I hope my preference for one type of "potato chip" and one type of "bronzed" shoe isn't too obvious :-)
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
Q. I am very interested in selling bronzed, silver and gold plated baby shoes in my area. I was interested in performing the process myself, manufacturing and distributing the product in malls and at local retail outlets. However, it appears from what I've read that this may not be possible due to the chemicals used and the government regulations imposed.
Could any company provide me with information on how to move forward toward my desired goal of entering the once again growing business of bronzing baby shoes.David C
A. Yes, electroplating is a categorically regulated industry, David. It's not impossible to do it yourself, but it is beset with regulations if you want to really stay above board. There are probably many plating jobshops who would be happy to do the plating steps for you if you prefer to do the lacquering and initial metallization.
Bronze colored sliming probably isn't beset with regulations if you want to go that route :-)
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
A. TO ANYONE THINKING ABOUT BRONZING BABY SHOES AT HOME:
I HAVE BEEN BRONZING BABY SHOES AND MOST ANYTHING ELSE, FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS. I HAVE USED A PROCESS WHICH IS NOT A METAL PROCESS, BUT MORE A COATING THAT IS DIPPED AND THEN SPRAYED ONTO THE MATERIAL. IT IS GOOD LOOKING AND HOLDS UP VERY WELL, BUT IT IS A HARD SELL. IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO PUT YOUR HEART AND SOLE INTO THE BUSINESS THEN DON'T GET INTO IT.ROBERT E
A. I have been using a brush on process for years and the results have been very satisfactory. The hardening liquid used (as I have been told) is the same liquid used to stretch the cotton coating on home built airplanes.
Q. I have been unable to find the chemical name for this but I do believe it is a butyrate or nitrate with a black pigment added.
If anyone here is familiar with this chemical, please respond.Cal W
Q. I was so happy to find this web site on bronzing. Lots of you are interested in baby shoes. I am interested in bronzing art sculpture that I make myself. I have tried home methods using coating but they are just not the same.
It makes the product look like just what it is. The real thing is what I want to learn to do and maybe just try a few baby shoes in the process. If anyone can help a determined beginner please do so. I do not know where to start at this point I am seeking all the help that I can find. I use dangerous chemicals in a lot of my projects that have used them with a lot of respect and always keep them under lock and key. It is so hard to find info on bronzing. I would even like to take a class if I can find one.Betty B
- Perry, Georgia
A. Plating of non-metallics is simply in the preparation. I have plated shoes, a cricket ball (ball game played by other than US) made of leather, a cricket bat (made of wood), golf tees and resin castings of various shapes.
There have been articles published in various journals and we have a company in Sydney Australia that specializes in this process.
Perhaps someone can detail the articles but the basis of the process is to seal the material with epoxy and coat with conductive paint (I have always used Electrodag) and plate.
It's good fun but I have only done it as a hobby not as part of our regular processing.
Q. I am interested in this subject from a hobby/artistic point of view. so I have many questions ... any replies would be highly appreciated.
Are there any other suppliers that provide equipment to the do it yourselfer. What is electrocasting? Who supplies or has info? One company claims that they electroplate solid metal on baby shoes and other items ... what equipment would be needed for this and who can supply it?
- Calgary, AB Canada
A. Greetings from John Cray - Perth, Western Australia.
For most of the working information you are likely to need on this subject I suggest you go to your local library or friendly book shop and ask them to get in for you the following publication: Electroplating and Forming by Lee Scott Newman and Jay Hartley Newman =>
It is chock full of photos and diagrams on 'how to start and how to do' and is written with very simple procedures and instructions and is easily understood by the complete novice to plating and electroforming.
It also contains a full range of make it yourself plating solutions which contain chemicals that you should not need permission to purchase (i.e., sulfuric acid).
The book is about 100 pages and a real must to own when plating items of art with irregular shapes and with non conductive surfaces. (see also my letter 1892)
- Perth, Australia
Electroplating and Electroforming:
Q. I'm interested in bronzing baby shoes. But I am pregnant now and was wondering if any one knew if those chemicals can be inhaled, and would they be dangerous ? What about wearing a mask ?
I am looking to get a business going before the baby arrives.
Q. About my adventures and challenges making bronzing baby shoes. I am sharing this hoping someone also can share his/her adventures and probably find together a solution, as I am still committed on the issue! My wife and I got the idea of putting a baby shoe bronzing factory here in Monterrey Mexico, after seeing an ad, I expended a hard-earned $500 bucks on the process of ordering a professional kit, and so far I am disappointed with the results. The process involves using a hardening resin to fill the shoes inside, and then a base and metallic paint for the look a finishing acrylic base, yeah it is a hard smelling process, do not attempt this if pregnant.
They just do not look like bronzed shoes, but as painted and hardened (not much even) shoes. I feel bad about this and I am still trying to get better results, the problems are: 1) Not enough hardening of the shoes, not inside or outside, inside the resin is "crackable" and outside I have not obtained the claimed "glass-hard" finishing. 2) Too brilliant varnish like finishing, does not look like metal really. 3) The shoes do not look like covered by a metal, neatly loosing some detail and rounding up some, but just look like painted shoes I want to offer a quality product in which I am confident, and trustable, even I am considering buying electroplating equipment and learning to use it being careful with the chemicals.
Also I have considering partnering with someone at the US who can
a) Offer me wholesale bronzing services, or
b) help me establish a facility here, sort of distributorship or franchise.
If you know something about this two possibilities of know someone interested in discussing this further.
- Monterrey Mexico
!! Hello Readers; I'd like to advise anybody planning on bronzing their shoes to be very careful to make sure you are having them electroplated! In my 9 years of sales experience in this business, I have seen many nightmares; shoes destroyed by the other methods of so called preservation techniques. These methods do not last the test of time! There is only one way to preserve your shoes. Electroplate them! Thank you for your time.Annette M
- British Columbia, Canada
Q. Like these other readers, I have also been searching for bronzing methods for baby shoes and other items. From the responses I have seen, it sounds like those spray on type "preservation techniques" may not be that great for some items (such as baby shoes). However, I would still like information on those metallizing techniques if anyone can send me them.
I would also like to learn how to electroplate. If anyone has any information on this area, please tell me. Thanks!Alena H
Ed. note: Please see our FAQs which cover this, Alena.
Q. I am thankful for finding this information on the net. My husband and I are looking for a part time job of baby bronzing shoes. We have been sent information in the past but have misplaced it, we can not remember where we found this information, but believe it was in the Midwestern States. Has anyone been happy with any company ? We are planning on doing this out of the house. Any suggestions would be very appreciated.Linda N
Q. I'm still unclear as to what is the best process of preserving baby, sport dance shoes, etc. Is there a process that is durable and can be done out of one's home, like in the garage? I would be looking for a process that does not have chemicals that are restricted or require special ventilation to use.
I received info from a supplier, but now after reading some of the comments I don't know if their process is the best, there is also another company in Florida that does not have the need for the spray compressor but I'm not sure what the results would be. Any info would be greatly appreciated.Rose W
- Lancaster, California
Q. I'm responding in trying to find out how to be a independent representative for a company that bronzes baby shoes, I'm interested in starting a home business to make a few dollars, if anyone can help please let me know. YvonneYvonne S
- South Carolina
I live in Spain and I want to SILVER plate TWO baby shoes. I had it done years ago in The Netherlands and results were not very satisfactory. I would appreciate if anyone could forward me a good professional address and contact details to enquire about the cost and the length of time needed. It does not matter if it is in the USA or anywhere in Europe. Thank youChiqui F
- Catalunya, Spain
A. Bronzing Baby Shoes is a tricky thing to do. There are many ways to do it but I find non-metallic electroplating the best way to bronze the shoes. For over 10 years I had worked in this field and had the pleasure of plating many shoes as well as other items like hats, toys, skates, gloves and even cigarettes with the ash still attached. All the items were plated with very little problems. If you are looking for a plater make sure that the plater you chose is a true electroplater and not a powder coater that deals in bronze dipping.Ken Osborn
A. I happened to be looking for info about getting my sons' shoes bronzed and came across this website www.dotcomwomen.com/biz/wah4.shtml
- "BRONZING OBJECTS Bronzing Objects can be a creative as well as lucrative hobby. You can bronze keepsakes and give them an antique look . . .
[Ed. note: go to the referenced URL to see the full text]
- . . . You will be amazed at the very professional job you have done using this method. Perhaps you will do such a good job and enjoy it so much you may want to begin a service doing it for others. It is really a lovely way to make your treasured memories last forever"
- Chattanooga, Tennessee
Ed. note: We're pleased to print any technical responses. But some submittals were edited, and others left unpublished because we can't ask our sponsors, who make this site possible for camaraderie and technical discussions, to pay the cost of running ads for their competitors :-)
April 22, 2008
Q. Hi I am really interested in bronzing or electroplating baby shoes and I am now completely confused? What is the difference and can someone give me a website for purchase or and info on the process thank you.Melinda Bartols
April 27, 2008
A. I have done the "preservation system" of bronzing baby shoes also. I used to make a decent living until I had to move out of state and did not have the time to do it in my new location. It is a tough sell at first until you show them what the end product looks like. I had found a woman's shoe from the late 1800's and decided to use it for my display. I used the system where you put hardener inside the shoe, airbrush the different coatings on and dip them in a water based finished. I still have that shoe and it still looks like the day I did it 15 years ago. I got into this after having my child's shoe actually bronzed and was not happy with the finish when I received them back. They were rough and looked kind of ugly and are extremely hard to keep clean. I used to show people those real bronzed shoes and the shoe that I preserved. It then became a easy sell. It takes a certain type of person to use this method because a certain amount of artistic ability is required along with a good deal of patience. Like any business venture you must know what you are doing which requires practice. Too many people think this is fast easy money. The fact is like any business it requires a lot of work and dedication to succeed.Kevin Oxner
- Lincoln, Nebraska
August 21, 2008
A. I learned the difference in "bronzing" processes the hard way. I have my own baby shoes -- done over 50 years ago, and they are definitely a hard metal. I had shoes "bronzed" in the Toledo area and what I got back was bronze-colored paint that didn't even harden the shoe, was poorly mounted, that pretty much deteriorated and became useless in a short time. The business sounds fun and sellable, but it is not easy to do well and needs to be "test sold" to see if one can do it.Jay Clinton
- Fostoria, Ohio
April 12, 2009
Q. Hello Kevin Oxner -I was impressed by your input. Please would you let me know the ins-and-outs of shoe preservation. I don't have the space to get an electrolytic bronzing paraphernalia, nor can I afford it. Many thanks, if you can!RHENA VOLLNHOFER
hobby - Braintree, Essex, U.K.
April 12, 2009
A. In answer to your reply to my writing. The shoe preservation system worked where I was located. I made sample to show people and explained the difference between the actual bronzing and the shoe preservation system. You must be honest with your clients if you want repeat business and a happy customer. I preserved a lot of shoes and some very interesting items. You really have to think and experiment before doing other items. You have to be willing to spend time and money. Day cares are a great place. I also watched the new birth sections of the newspaper. Hard work and honesty will pay off. Always be sure to make samples to show. Make sure you always properly clean and prepare all surfaces before preserving them. You also need a eye for detail. I still have some of the items I used for samples and they look just like the day I preserved them.. You will notice that I did not use the word bronzed. To me that is very deceptive. Preserved is a very accurate term. To me even some "bronzed" shoes should use the term preserved given what is really called "Bronze". I had customers tell me they liked my preservation system better than the shoes they had bronzed previously because they were smoother and they liked the shine. It bears worth saying again though. Be honest, show samples and be prepared to work hard. With any business venture it takes work, time, and money. Too many business opportunities seem to claim how easy it would be and how rich you will become. This is not a quick get rich opportunity, but then again what is in real life.Kevin Oxner
- Lincoln, Nebraska
April 14, 2009
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR RESPONSE. I WOULD ONLY CLAIM THE FACT THE SHOES ARE "PRESERVED" AND THAT'S IT.
HOW DO I NOW FIND OUT HOW TO DO THE PRESERVING? CAN YOU HELP WITH THE METHOD? MANY THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR REPLY?
- BRAINTREE ESSEX U.K.
August 5, 2010
A. Hi all
I have been plating baby shoes,sports equipment,Buffalo skulls,crocodile skulls,leather balls of all types,fruit,vegetables,braziers,underwear,cigarette packets,etc and many other non conductive items for about 10 years and run it as a successful business.
It does need a fair amount of knowledge in the electroplating field,but that can be overcome once one knows the exact preparation,which is the most important part about the whole process even before you start the actual plating of the copper onto the item. First of all there are different methods to sealing and preparing each and every type of item you wish to plate. The process I use dates back many years and yes I plate a copper finish onto the item which is buffed to a high luster on a buffing machine ,then antiqued,then rubbed down with a wire wool and then lacquered.
- Cape Town South Africa
January 26, 2011
Q. Dear All,
Glad to find such a lot of people interested in shoes bronzing!
We had idea of shoes bronzing for a year already, but there is no such business in Ukraine. And all this time we've been trying to find a technology, either calling already existing companies to find if we could be their representatives with manufactory in Ukraine (which will be organized by ourselves).
We read lots of opinions on this forum, but still we are looking for a person who will be our Consultant! Who could help us with manufactory organizing?
Also, if somebody knows a company that needs representatives with personal manufactory in other countries, please let us know!
Vi - Kiev, Ukraine
January 26, 2011
A. Hello, cousin Alexandra.
We hope our website is helpful to you for technical information, fun, and camaraderie. Unfortunately, we don't put people into private contact with each other for a few reasons, including the fact that this site is only possible because advertisers support it, and we would be unable to secure advertisers if we spent their money connecting non-advertisers to each other to their possible detriment.
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Brick, New Jersey
March 6, 2011
Q. Owning a trophy and awards shop, this might be an interesting compliment to what we do. I've been looking for something super-customized to be able to offer for awhile and am curious if it's possible to bronze foam or clay? rarely I'll deal with a company that makes some milled bronze plaques, but if I could make suitable alternatives, that may be another service to offer if the start-up costs aren't ridiculous. so much resin awards have a faux bronze finish that I know it's a popular look.
If a person is able to bronze, how much of a leap is it to do chroming, which would be a side business unto itself? space isn't an issue, but my space is in a residential area, so I'm afraid that would be an issue.
Someone specializing in baby shoes would be a nice hobby for a few dollars, and I'd do those, too, of course, but my imagination rather runs the gamut of possibilities.
- dayton, Ohio, USA
August 27, 2013
Q. I am also interested in bronzing baby shoes. I prefer the old fashion way. I used to do it back in the 70's. I have been looking for some type of advertising , but no luck. If there is anyone that knows where I can get all the materials for this process, it would be greatly appreciated.
- St Louis Missouri United States