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Student fashion show entrant needs to have shiny penny buttons.

(-----) January 4, 2008

Hello forum, I apologize in advance if this has already been covered I have checked the search engine and am currently ploughing my way through some of the other categories.

I am a fashion student in London, England and it is my third year, coming up to my final exams.I have made a women's suit jacket, skirt and hat that looks like pound notes/dollar bills and I have made some buttons from British bronze pennies and I want to make them a shiny silver colour.

I was going to silver plate them but found out from this website that it is quite dangerous to perform this oneself.

So I read more and found out about zinc plating but this may not make the buttons the shiny color I want for my examination entry outfit.

The bronze buttons are a mix of 95.5% copper,3% tin and 1.5% zinc.

Please could the forum tell me what process I can do myself to make my buttons look silver and shiny.

I need to perform the process myself as to comply with the entrancy restrictions and regulations.

I thank you in advance and will continue to search for an answer in the other categories.

thank you ,

Miss Alexandra Foster
student designer and garment constructor. - London, England

January 8, 2008

It would be worth trying an "immersion silver" plating. These platings are very thin, and consequently not very durable, but they are safe for individuals to apply. See our FAQ "Silver Plating at Home". Alternately you can zinc plate and buff the buttons to a reasonable shine, using ingredients as innocuous as vinegar -- see our FAQ "Electroplating -- How It Works".

In either case the plating is thin and you may wish to apply a clearcoat -- maybe clear nail polish. Good luck.

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

First of four simultaneous responses -- January 9, 2008

Try silvering powder(10 gm silver chloride+ 20 gm kitchen salt +20 gm potassium bitartarate)-rub it into oxide and grease free surface.Polish it with fine brass wire brush(dipped in stale beer or soap water) or with some precipitated chalk.Then dry it with pure alcohol or Acetone [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] and lacquer!Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

Second of four simultaneous responses -- January 9, 2008

Mix powders(in mortar)and take some powder with piece of cloth(or leather or cork),then rub it into metal surface. Hope it helps and good luck!

Goran Budija
- Zagreb, Croatia

Third of four simultaneous responses -- January 9, 2008

Hi Alexandra

A word of warning. If the pennies you are using are current issue, you may be guilty of defacing the Queen's coinage. (Coinage act 1870.) I don't think there is an issue with pre-decimal coinage but if your work is on public display best be sure.
If you just want bright shiny coins, I am sure that any bank will sell you some in un-issued condition. I doubt if anyone would object to a coat of clear varnish to keep them shiny.

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England

2005Fourth of four simultaneous responses -- January 4, 2008

Hello I wrote some time ago asking what I can do to plate some bronze penny buttons I have made. since then I have learnt that I can't silver plate them as it is too difficult.

is there a process I can set up at home that I can do to gold plate them or change them in any way to make them more attractive. it is for a fashion exam, my final one in fact and I would like to have a golden colored penny buttons for a dress suit I have made that looks like a load of dollar bills.

my penny buttons are 95%copper,3% tin and 1.5% zinc. is there anything I can do to them?

I have to do it myself to stay in line with the exam conditions and give a brief description of my process's and design thinking.

is there anything I can do with bronze buttons?


Miss Alexandra Foster
student designer and garment constructor. - London, England

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