Getting all the right supplies for electroforming can be quite confusing when you’re a beginner. For this reason, many artists buy an electroforming kit. These starters kits contain (almost) everything you need to start your journey. But, are they really worth it? Read on to find out everything you need to know about electroforming kits and if they are worth buying or not.
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What will I find in an electroforming kit?
You can find many different sorts of electroforming kits on the market. None of them contain the same items. Some will come with very basic supplies, others will have literally everything you need to start your electroforming journey. After doing some research, I found that most electroforming kits include at least:
- Copper electroforming solution
- Copper conductive paint
- Beaker or tank
- Copper anode
- Electroforming guide
- Safety equipment (like gloves)
Some kits don’t even contain a rectifier. I find it strange considering this is one of the most important supplies to have when you do electroforming. But, some people might already have a power supply at home. If you don’t, you can buy one on Amazon for less than $100.
How much does an electroforming kit cost?
After a quick search, I found that most electroforming kits cost between $100 and $500. Some are even cheaper. The price really depends on what’s in the kit, and where you buy it. Before you buy your kit, make sure it contains only things that you really need and will use.
Whatever kit you decide to buy, you’ll most probably have to buy extra supplies anyway (we always need more stuff, right?). I suggest making a list of everything you need before you start purchasing anything to make sure investing in the kit is a good idea!
Advantages and disadvantages of electroforming kits
Depending on what you’re looking for, buying an electroforming kit could be a great option for you. When I first started electroforming, I did consider buying a kit and looked around to find one that would suit my needs. After long hours of online research, I decided to buy everything individually because none of the kits that were available in my country offered exactly what I was looking for. If you’re wondering if you should buy one, here are the pros and cons of electroforming kits:
- You don’t have to look all over the internet to find the supplies
Most electroforming kits come with the basic supplies that you need for electroforming. I find that this is worth it if you already have everything else (like jewelry making supplies if you’re making jewelry). If all you’re missing is the equipment to electroform, then buying an electroforming kit can be a good option for you! The best thing about it is that you don’t have to research supplies online for hours (even days in my case). If you’re a total beginner and want to skip the research part, then you should definitely consider buying a kit.
- They usually come with a guide on how to copper electroform
This would have been really handy for me when I first started! Most electroforming kits come with a guide for beginners. It explains how to set up your tank, wires, and how to realize your first creations. Once again, it can be very handy if you don’t want to spend hours looking for info online.
- They give you the opportunity to start electroforming quickly
The biggest advantage of electroforming kits, in my opinion, is that you receive everything all at once. When I bought everything individually, I had to wait 2 weeks to receive all the supplies I ordered. If you buy an electroforming kit you can start electroforming just as soon as you receive it!
- They are usually very expensive
This disadvantage is actually what stopped me from buying. Most electroforming kits are very expensive. If you can afford it, why not. If like me, you’re on a budget, it’ll probably be cheaper to buy all the supplies separately.
- They can’t be shipped internationally
These kits contain hazardous chemicals that cannot be shipped internationally. So, if you want to buy an electroforming kit, it has to be from your country. The US has several purchase options, but if you’re anywhere else in the world you might have a hard time finding options.
- You’ll still have to buy extra supplies
Like I mentioned before, most electroforming kits do not contain everything you need to electroform jewelry. They contain only basic material, and you’ll most probably have to buy several other supplies like copper brightener or the safety equipment for example. If you want to electroform jewelry, you’ll have to buy polishing tools, patinas, and sealants also.
The best electroforming kits online
After doing some research, I found several electroforming kits online that are worth looking at. I’ve put the price of each kit as well as the content so you can easily compare them. Here is what I found:
- Copper electroforming solution
- Graphite conductive paint (0.5 oz)
- Varnish (0.5 oz)
- 2 paintbrushes
- Fine copper conductive wire (28 and 24 gauge)
- Rubber gloves
- Copper coil
- Coffee filter
This kit offered by Sherri Haab is really affordable, however, it doesn’t contain a rectifier. It’s a good starter kit for beginners on a budget. You might already have some of the supplies offered in the kit at home, like rubber gloves or paintbrushes.
- 5-amp plating rectifier
- Magnetic stirring system with heat
- Four 1,000mL Pyrex® beakers
- MIDAS® conductive paint
- MIDAS® clear lacquer
- 1 quart electroforming solution
- 2 copper anodes
- Sunshine® Cloth
- 12 pairs neo-latex gloves
- 1-lb. spool copper wire, 24-ga.
- 12″ glass stirring rod
- 4 safety bottles
- Plating thermometer
- The MIDAS® Guide to Plating
You can find this quite expensive electroforming kit at Rio Grande. In my opinion, this starter kit is way too expensive for what’s in it. The good thing is, it includes a magnetic stirrer and a stirring rod. It also comes with an electroforming guide.
As far as I’m concerned, I wouldn’t need everything in this kit – 4 bottles and 4 beakers? – and the copper anodes are so small, you’d probably have to replace them after just a few plating sessions.
- Copper Electrolyte Chemicals
- Silver-coated Copper Paint
- Graphite Paint
- Acrylic Sealer
- Graphite Powder
- Copper Anodes
- 5.5 litre tank with resealable lids
- Anode Bag Material
- Electrical Connectors
- Copper Electroforming Guide
This kit is pretty good for the price. It doesn’t come with a rectifier though, just electrical connectors. Also, this kit comes with copper electrolyte chemicals and not an electroforming solution. This means they provide the chemicals necessary to make the solution, but you have to make it yourself. Make sure you are comfortable with that before buying this kit.
- 1 3-Amp Digital Rectifier with constant current/voltage
- 1 quart of Copper Electroforming Solution
- Full 1oz. bottle of Copper Electro-Conductive Paint
- 1 bottle of Copper Brightener
- 4 Copper Anodes
- 10 gauge Copper Wire
- 18 gauge Copper Wire
- 1 oz. of Polishing Wax
- 1 package of Paint Brushes
- 2 pair of Nitrile Gloves
- 1 ScotchBrite Pad
- Set of Tube Bumpers to stabilize wire
- 1 Steel Wool
- 2 Coffee Filters
- Charcoal Filter
- 1 set of top quality Alligator Leads
- 1 quart Glass Jar w/lid
- Printed detailed instructions
I think this kit is definitely the most complete electroforming kit I came across. And the price is pretty reasonable (compared to the Rio Grande kit!). If you get this kit, there isn’t much you’d have to buy extra, apart from the safety equipment.
Electroforming kit: Is it really worth buying?
To answer the question, I decided to make a table where I compare buying the electroforming kit from Sheeri Haab to buying all the supplies individually. Here is what I found:
|Supplies||Sherri Haab Electroforming Kit||Supplies Bought Individually|
|Copper electroforming solution||All included in the kit for $83||$18,25 (Rio Grande)|
|Brightener||$15,95 (Rio Grande)|
|Graphite conductive paint||$27,95 for 2 oz (Rio Grande)|
|Paintbrushes||$1 (Dollar Store)|
|Copper Wire (24 and 28 gauge)||24 gauge is $11,99 and 28 gauge is $12,49 (Amazon)|
|Chopsticks||$1,75 (Dollar Store)|
|Rubber gloves||$1 (Dollar Store)|
|Copper coil||$11,95 (Rio Grande)|
|Funnel||$1,75 (Dollar Store)|
|Coffee filter||$1 (Dollar Store)|
|Rectifier||$75 (Amazon)||$75 (Amazon)|
As you can see from my table, if you decide to buy the electroforming kit from Sherri Haab, you are saving around $40. Buying everything individually would be a little bit more expensive. However, I’m pretty sure that you can get some of these items for cheaper than what I found. I only used Amazon, Rio Grande, and Dollar Store as references. Also, if you already own some of these items (like gloves, a beaker or tank, paintbrushes…) you’ll end up paying less if you buy the supplies you need individually.
Another important thing to note is that when you buy things individually, they come in greater quantity. For example, you’ll get a lot more copper wire if you buy it individually rather than in the kit. Same goes for liquid latex, copper paint, or gloves for example. So are you really saving money in the long run? I’m not so sure, to be honest.
Buying an electroforming kit can be worth it if you don’t want to look all over the internet to get the right items. Also, it’s a great option for those who want to start electroforming quickly, and not have to wait weeks to receive all the supplies. If you decide to buy the cheapest kit I recommend, then you will probably save some money. As for the others, you’d have to make the same kind of table I made to find out.
I hope this post helped you decide if you should invest in an electroforming kit or not. Are you considering the purchase? Let me know in the comments below!