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topic 4008

Plating leaves, cones, etc.


I came across the 'finishing' site, whilst trying to find out the best way to plate organic materials.

Basically, I am trying to electroplate leaves and cones with a thick layer of copper, followed by a 24ct gold finish. I have set up a few trial experiments, but as yet have been very unsuccessful. I have tried a copper sulfate/water mix for the electrolyte and a piece of copper plate for the anode... but since reading more on the subject I have found that I may need to add some sulfuric acid to the bath. Also I am unsure about the anode. Does it need to be a special grade of copper?

The gold bath that I have, is just a pre-mixed salt, which I purchased from a jewellery supplies company, so I guess that should be okay. I have also a good dc. Supply unit (laboratory spec), so I have good control in that area.

The first few trials have resulted in crystallized or nodular looking surfaces (copper), and when the gold plate is applied, it looks even worse. Dark, stained etc.

Could you please tell me where I might find out information and guidance on this subject?

Yours hopefully

K Weet

Kevin Weet
- Nottingham UK


Have you happened upon our FAQ on this subject yet, Kevin? It's a start.

How are you sealing the objects? How are you silvering/graphiting/metallizing them before copper plating? Yes, you probably need sulfuric acid in the copper sulphate--see our "must have" books for some basic starting points for copper plating. You probably also need organic brighteners/leveling agents, and frankly you probably won't get far without switching to proprietary plating processes.

You also should probably have have nickel plating or white bronze between the copper and gold for greatest longevity, since the gold and copper can gradually diffuse together. Good luck.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey


I have came across your article and I WILL BE ABLE TO HELP YOU golden roses, leaves, pine cones, and other ornament items.


Norman Miranda
- Los Angeles, California, USA

April 21, 2011

Hi, Norman. Thanks.

Our supporting advertisers make this site available for camaraderie and technical information exchange. But they wouldn't do so, and the site couldn't exist, if we posted messages that steered readers to their competitors who pay none of the costs. So, while we would appreciate any technical info that you are willing to post, we can't put the readers into private contact with you. Thanks for your understanding


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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