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"How to gold plate plastic car emblems"

An ongoing discussion from 2001 through 2015 . . .


Q. Hi everyone!

I'm the proud owner of a shiny new to me Del Sol. The previous owner gold plated emblems and other small trim pieces.

Ok, I know this may not be the question you guys like to hear... but how do I remove gold plating from my car emblems and trim pieces? Not to insult anyone... I really like the silver look and would like to see it again.

Thanks for all your help...

James Rossie
- Austin, Texas, USA


A. James,

To remove the Gold you can simply use a polish and rub until its gone. Be warned you will not be happy - under the gold is nickel and nickel passivates quickly and will turn dull. Your best bet is to either have the pieces chrome plated or simply buy new ones at the dealer and replace them.

David Crocker
- Valencia, California USA

sidebar 2004

Q. Today's automobile emblems are going into various materials due to weight and cost. Much of the material is a rubberized plastic and/or aluminium based material which will not conduct electricity. Is there a paint/material that can be obtained that will SPRAY on the emblem, while on the vehicle (so that it does not have to be removed) that will permit electroplating either gold or silver?

Jerry W Graham
Automobile & motorcycle emblem gold plating - Brier, Washington, USA

February 2016
Angel Gilding [a finishing.com supporting advertiser],
Gold Touch [a finishing.com supporting advertiser],
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A. Hi Jerry. Gold plating a fairly new chrome plated car emblem is the world's easiest plating job -- it's like plinking out Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star because the OEM has presented you with a super quality nickel plated base, and all you do is strip a few millionths of chrome off and replace it with a few millionths of gold. But properly plating a non-conductive auto emblem is like offering a recital of Franz Lizst works :-(

I would suggest trying to spray it with "chrome-look" paint instead of even thinking about trying to electroplate it ... and only guranteeing it for a short while. The suppliers of the chrome-look paint will have gold-tone lacquers you can apply over it if you wish. Robust plating on plastic (as OEMs do for emblems and most auto grills) is a very big undertaking, done in multi-million dollar plating plants.


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

April 27, 2010

Q. I am new in gold plating business. I have just bought a kit and make exercises on gold plating on car emblems. But as I see cars like the Audi etc. some of them have plastic emblems on wheel and outside of the car. What can I do if my customer ask it to be plated? Should I buy metal emblem and plate it and glue it there?

Leyz Cohen
plating shop owner - Germany

April 29, 2010

A. Leyz,
You can purchase a brush plating kit to plate the gold on the emblem without removing it from the car. The steps involved are as follows.
1) Back strip the chrome plate, rinse.
2) Activate the nickel that was under the chrome, rinse.
3) Brush plate the gold, rinse and pat dry with a soft cloth.
I'm sure there are brush plating suppliers in Germany, I just don't know what company would be closest to you.

Mark Baker
process engineer - Malone, New York

May 27, 2010

A. You can search for jewelry supply stores in the USA and they sell pen plating equipment that will do plastic. thanks, marion

marion wood
- thomasville, Georgia

May 31, 2010

A. I think your question relates to the conductivity of the emblem. Don't worry, as long as you don't strip all the metallic layers on top of the plastic, you are OK, the emblem IS conductive.

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico

What kit to get to gold plate car emblems and aluminum wheels?

November 24, 2015

Q. I'm pretty new to this plating stuff. I run a detail business and was interested in plating gold/copper to wheels (aluminum) and emblems. Which kit would be the best?

allan sum
- new york

November 2015

A. Hi Allan. I think you'd have little difficulty in gold plating existing auto emblems from late model cars because it involves only removing the chrome flash, activating the beautiful OEM-quality nickel plating underneath it, and "brush plating" a thin plating of gold. We appended your inquiry to a thread on that subject to introduce it to you, and there are another half-dozen threads on the same topic on this site.

Copper plating emblems would be a bit more problematic because copper is not inert like gold is, and it will quickly tarnish, and turn brown or greenish unless you can do a really good clearcoat on it.

Plating large objects like wheels is a somewhat different subject, and plating onto raw aluminum wheels is something you build a factory for, not buy a kit for. Please consider buying a kit, and doing some emblems to get a feel for it ... and you'll learn pretty quick for yourself why aluminum wheels are a very different subject. But you can read our "Introduction to Chrome Plating" for the 'book knowledge'. Good luck.


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

February 5, 2016

Q. You mentioned LEAVING the nickel substrate-which is exactly what I'm trying to do? I'll be electroplating gold over ABS auto emblems while still on the vehicle.

steve powers
- niceville, Florida

February 2016

A. Hi Steve. Good luck with it. I think you'll find it's not hard.


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

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