Electroforming solution is definitely one of the first supplies you should get. You can either make it yourself at home or buy it ready-to-use online, and this can be a difficult decision to make if you’re a complete beginner.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about electroforming solution, including links on where to buy it and a recipe on how to make it yourself.
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What’s the electroforming solution?
The electroforming solution is the blue liquid that allows you to plate copper onto conductive objects. It is one of the most essential items you need for electroforming. Without this liquid, it would be impossible for you to electroform anything.
This solution is made with copper sulfate, sulphuric acid, and brightener. You can either buy it ready-to-use or make it yourself.
Is the electroforming solution dangerous?
This solution is essentially made of two ingredients: copper sulfate and sulphuric acid. For this reason, it is a chemical that’s considered hazardous.
The safety data sheet on Rio Grande’s electroforming solution states that you should be careful when using this product. You should definitely avoid skin, eye contact, and swallowing. They also mention that you should wear protective equipment and ensure adequate ventilation when using this product. Don’t forget to always keep this solution away from children and pets.
This solution is dangerous in a way, and you should take precautions when using it. But don’t worry too much about it!
See also: How to copper electroform safely at home
Where to buy electroforming solution?
You can either buy the solution ready-to-use or make it yourself. If you’re a complete beginner, I recommend buying it before moving to make your own solution. Electroforming is becoming more and more popular, so this product is not hard to find.
However, you should know that since it is hazardous, this product cannot be shipped abroad. You can only buy it in your home country. If you’re in Europe, you can buy it from other European countries as well. So, here is a list of places where you can buy your electroforming solution.
In the USA:
The most popular online shop for buying the solution in the USA is Rio Grande. They sell the Midas Bright copper electroforming solution. I used it when I was in Canada, and I find it to be the perfect option for newbie electroformers. With a bottle of this solution, you will be able to make your first creations without much trouble!
There are several places where you can find the electroforming solution in Europe. I buy mine in Germany, even though I’m located in France. I get the product from Tifoo, and so far I’ve been really happy with it. It is quite expensive though. You can find it easily on Amazon:
If you’re in the UK, you can buy the solution from Goldn. I’ve never used this solution but I use their copper brightener.
If you are in Canada you can buy the Rio Grande’s solution (the one from the USA) at Lacy West Supplies. It is a jeweler’s shop located in Vancouver. I was getting my solution from this shop when I was living in Canada. I recommend buying several bottles at once because the shipping fees are quite high.
How to make your own copper electroforming solution
If you feel like making your own copper electroforming solution, you can. The solution is only a mix of 4 ingredients!
To make your own solution, you need:
- Distilled water
- Copper sulfate
- Sulfuric acid
There are several recipes online, but I think most electroformers use the one you can find on Eric Caldwell’s website.
Making your own solution can be scary at first. You need to feel comfortable handling sulfuric acid. But as long as you wear the right safety equipment, you should be fine. Also, don’t forget to never add water to acid – do the opposite instead.
Electroforming solution: Should you buy it or make it?
There are pros and cons to both options, to be honest. It really depends on what you feel more comfortable with, I think. Here are the advantages and disadvantages I found:
Buy ready-to-use solution:
✔ It’s ready to use
✔ Easy to find
✔ Easy to maintain
✘ It’s expensive
✘ If you have a large tank, you’ll need to buy several bottles
Make your own:
✔ It’s cheaper
✔ It’s better for large tanks
✘ You need to feel comfortable handling sulfuric acid
✘ You might not get it right when you first try
As far as I’m concerned, I still run a small bath so I buy a ready-to-use solution. However, if you want to run a big bath, I’d recommend making your own. It’ll be a lot cheaper. Ideally, you should start with a ready-to-use solution, and once you feel comfortable with electroforming, you should upgrade to making your own.
See also: Should you buy an electroforming kit?
How to store your electroforming solution
Electroforming solution must be stored in a cool place. Also, you should keep it in its original packaging. It’s a product that cannot go into any receptacle. For example, you shouldn’t keep it in an aluminum or steel container.
The most important is to store it away from foodstuffs and to keep your bottle tightly sealed. I always keep my solution in its original bottle in a cupboard with all my craft supplies.
How to dispose of your spent electroforming solution
This solution is corrosive and dangerous for the environment and must be disposed of properly. Do not put it together with household garbage or pour it down the drain.
Your spent solution must be neutralized with baking soda and disposed of with your local hazardous waste company. Usually, you can schedule a home pick up or simply find a drop off location. I keep my spent solution in its original bottle until I can dispose of it properly.
Electroforming solution is definitely one of the first items to get when you want to start copper electroforming. Whether you want to buy a bottle of solution or make your own, you will have to maintain it regularly to keep it working for you.
If you’re a complete beginner, you should consider buying a bottle of the ready-to-use solution until you get a hang of electroforming. As far as I’m concerned, I have never made my own solution yet, but this is something I would really love to do when I upgrade my bath. Do you make your own solution or buy the ready-to-use one? Let me know in the comments below!