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How to do Silver Plating


My son has a small 0.5 x 1.0 inch medal which is worn and had the silver plating rubbed off. I want to silver plate it.

I have a small chem lab with the equipment necessary to electroplate.

What are the chemicals and process that I need to follow?

Kind regards,

Marvin Helman
engineering - Greenville, South Carolina

"Electroplating Engineering Handbook"
by Larry Durney
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Hi, Marvin. Clean it with pumice [on eBay or Amazon (adv.)] and a little detergent and a tampico brush. Rinse it well. Activate it by immersion in dilute sulfuric acid, about 10 percent. Rinse it well. Electroplate it with a silver strike solution, then a silver electroplating solution.

Most silver plating baths are cyanide based, which you may have experience with, and access to if you run a professional lab. Any plating book from your library will include the formula. But you can't make these solutions from readily available household chemicals. If your lab is not a professional lab you probably will not be able to buy cyanide because it is such a powerful poison and has a dangerous propensity to become poison gas if people are not experienced in working with it. For them, a commercial non-cyanide silver plating bath, available from companies like EPI / Electrochemical Products Inc. [a supporting advertiser] and Zinex would be a better way to go.

If the medal is brass rather than nickel-silver, you may be able to add a thin layer of silver to it from a simple wipe-on solution.
as described in our FAQ: "Silver Plating at Home" rather than requiring electroplating. Best of luck.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

I operate a small hand-crafted wire wrap jewelry business. I have access to wholesale "silver" wire. If I could make the silver wire into silver plated wire, my competitive position would be helped immensely. Is it possible for a non-chemist such as myself to acquire the equipment (?)and skills to do my own silver plating? Thanks. Ed Carder

Edward Carder
handcrafted jewelry - Corydon, Indiana, USA
October 20, 2011

Electroless Liquid Silver Plating Solution

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Hi, Edward.

If you use copper wire you will be able to add a thin silver coating with the wipe-on consumer products made for that purpose, but it's really really thin and may not be sufficient for your needs. Non-cyanide plating solutions are readily available =>
and may be the best answer for you. They are generally not used in commerce because the color is slightly off from traditional cyanide silver plating, but for small quantities they may be fine.


Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
October 21, 2011

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