Electroforming is the process of depositing
a layer of metal (usually copper) on the surface of a non-metallic
substance (such as glass). It requires a bath of chemicals and
a simple electrical circuit.
The actual process is not that complicated,
but it does require considerable attention to detail and safety
procedures. First, the glass must be coated with a conductive
material (often a special paint) so that metal particles will stick.
Then the glass is placed into a tank that has been previously
prepared with a precise combination of chemicals (distilled water,
sulfuric acid, and copper sulfate are commonly used).
Positively charged bars of copper are placed into the bath and an
electrical current is applied. As current flows through the chemical
bath, metal particles are deposited onto the prepared surface of the
Don't confuse electroforming with
electroplating. Although the two processes are related, and
although many artists use the terms interchangeably, electroplating
properly refers to depositing a thin layer of metal (often gold or
silver) over another metal. Electroforming, by contrast, is
the plating of a non-metallic material (such as glass) with a metal
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Copyright 2005 Brad Walker.
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