When I first started electroforming I was really confused and had no idea what I was supposed to buy or where. As a result, I bought a few things that ended up being completely useless. So to make it easier for you, I decided to make a complete list of electroforming supplies. There are also links to where you can buy everything, so you don’t have to look all over the internet.
To be honest, you can buy most things on this list on Amazon. But I have also included links to other websites in Europe and Canada for those who are desperately looking for the electroforming solution outside of the US. If you are going to electroform something that’s not jewelry, you can just go to the electroforming, safety and after electroforming sections, where I listed everything you need for the process.
In this list, I have included everything you need for electroforming, but also to make the designs, for your safety and some basic jewelry making supplies you might need. So, you probably don’t need everything that’s on the list, but it contains everything I use to make my jewelry. So, here is a complete list of electroforming supplies for beginners.
Note: Affiliate links may be used in this post. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my affiliate link.
Supplies for your designs
First things first, you need supplies to make your jewelry designs.
- Epoxy or polymer clay
There are several ways to make designs for electroforming. Most people choose to use epoxy clay to create their designs. Epoxy is really adhesive, so you can use it to create shapes, bond crystals together of fill parts. It adheres to any surface. You can use it with crystals, metal, organics…The great thing about it is that you do not need to bake it. However, you have to wait for 24hours for it to dry. I personally use and love these 2 parts epoxy from Apoxie Sculpt. The color doesn’t matter because you will paint it and cover it with copper.
If you wanted to create elaborate shapes I’d definitely recommend using polymer clay, which is a lot easier to work with than epoxy. It is less sticky and doesn’t break so easily. I love using polymer clay when I make leaves on my designs for example. Again, you can take any color since you are going to paint it and copper electroform it. The only thing is that you are supposed to bake it to harden it. I use Sculpey polymer clay, which is great to work with.
Sculpey III Oven Bake Clay Sampler 1oz, 30/pkg on Amazon – You can get samples if you’re not sure you’ll like using clay.
- Copper tape
You can also use copper tape if you want to create straight and thin lines. For example, many people use it around their crystals to create a thin layer of copper, which is really dainty and elegant once your piece is electroformed. It is supposed to be conducive since it’s copper, but personally I like to paint on top of it just to make sure it’ll work. I recommend doing this, especially If you’ve touched the tape with your fingers because it could leave grease on the tape and then you’ll have spots on your piece.
You probably noticed a lot of folks use crystals in electroforming. I’m guilty of this too, first because I love crystals and second because the end result is just great with gemstones. If you want to buy a few crystals to start electroforming, you can buy them online or at your local gem shop. Personally, I love using cabochons (polished stones), and points for my designs. I also use raw gems. I buy most of my stones on Etsy or at gem shows, but you can find small packs on Amazon too, which are great for beginners.
Since you can electroform anything, I have decided to add organics to my electroforming supplies list. You’ve probably noticed that many electroformers use deer antlers, seashells, or bugs. You can also use leaves, dead insects or pine cones from your garden and electroform them for example. It’s a great way to immortalize nature. If you wanted to buy insects such as scorpions or spiders, you’d have to look at dried insect suppliers like Thorne Insects.
In this section, I list the electroforming supplies you need for the process.
First things first, to begin your electroforming journey you need a rectifier. A rectifier is a device that converts alternating current (AC), which periodically reverses direction, to direct current (DC), which flows in only one direction. The first one I bought was 30V/5A, which is more than enough when you begin electroforming.
You need a tank for your blue bath. When I first started electroforming I was using a one-liter beaker. It’s great for beginners. I was electroforming up to 3 pieces at a time in it. I don’t think you need more than this if you only plan on doing a few pieces per week. Don’t use a tank that is very small, because you need quite a bit of solution in the tank to make sure your pieces do not touch the bottom of your beaker. When choosing a tank for your blue bath, remember it has to be made of plastic or glass. And if you use it for electroforming, you cannot use it for anything else.
Then, you’ll need a cup for your patina (after electroforming). You can use a cup or a jar. Just make sure it is something that you won’t use for anything else.
- Electroforming Solution
Probably the most important item on your electroforming supplies list, the electroforming solution is the main ingredient in the process. You need this blue solution to make a bath in which you will submerge your creations during the process. This solution contains acid, so you can only buy it in your home country as It cannot be shipped through the post office. I did electroforming on 2 continents, so I have tried solutions from the US and from Europe. The Midas bright solution is the most popular on the American continent, and the best for beginners. If you’re in Europe, you can use Tifoo. It’s the best solution I’ve ever used! Even better than the Midas bright. It works extremely well and you can find it on Amazon. It’s a bit pricey, but this solution is very expensive anyway.
(USA) Midas bright electroforming solution at Rio Grande
(Canada) Midas bright electroforming solution at Lacy West Supplies
(Europe) Tifoo Electroforming solution on Amazon France – You can buy this from anywhere in the Schengen zone.
You can also try making your own electroforming solution. I haven’t tried it yet, but I plan to do it very soon. I plan on giving this recipe a try.
This electroforming supplies list wouldn’t be complete without the main item: copper. You will need it both for your designs and your bath setup. For your designs, you can use copper wire. And for your setup, you can use copper wire, pipes or sheets. You can buy copper online, but I have noticed that is it less expensive in hardware stores – I’m not in the USA though so you’d have to compare prices!
For your anode
The anode is the piece of copper that will be used to form copper on your creations. You need to replace this copper every so often as it will be eaten away when you electroform. For this reason, your best option is to choose a thick wire (or thick sheet) so you don’t have to replace it too often. Also, make sure you are buying pure copper, not copper-plated aluminum.
For your anode, you can use copper wire, copper sheets or even copper pipes. I have been told that copper pipes create less waste than copper wire. I don’t know if this is true, but I have been using copper wire and it does create a lot of waste in my bath.
Artistic Wire, Copper Craft Wire 10 Gauge Thick, 5 Foot Spool, Bare Copper on Amazon – This is the exact copper I use in my bath, it’s pretty good for beginners. If you want to use copper wire, I recommend taking 8-12 gauge wire.
I haven’t used copper sheets yet, but my guess is that the thicker is it the better.
For your cathode
You will also need copper for your cathode or your hanging wire. This is the wire you need to hang your creations In the electroforming bath. For this, I have been using 28g wire. However, I also used 14g wire and both worked fine for me. Now, I believe anything between 24 and 22g should be fine. My recommendations are to try and see what you think is best for your needs!
For your designs
For my pendants, I use 14g wire to make the loop. It’s a pretty decent size, and you can attach 4mm jump rings around it. I definitely recommend buying dead soft wire and not hardwire otherwise it’ll be really hard to bend it and work with it.
I haven’t made many rings but when I did I used 12g copper wire. I think if you wanted to really know what thickness to choose, your best option would be to go to a hardware store and simply compare.
I have added the bus bar to my electroforming supplies list, but I know some people don’t even use one. The bus bar is the bar your place across your bath and you attach your hanging wire to. I use a piece of wood for my bus bar, but I know some people prefer using copper. It makes no difference to the end result. The only difference is that, if you use a copper bus bar, you can attach your negative lead to it instead of attaching it to your hanging wire. If I used a copper bus bar, I’d use the 14g wire I already use for my designs. You can use any gauge but it needs to be thick enough that it can handle your creations.
- Copper conductive paint
Copper conductive paint is one of the most important items of your electroforming supplies list. You will need it if you plan on electroforming non-conductive items such as organics. The paint will act as a conductive metal surface when you electroform. I have used several conductive paints, but my favorite and the one I recommend is from Catmusic on Etsy. Unlike many other conductive paints, this paint doesn’t contain anything hazardous so you can have it shipped to you even if you don’t live in the Uk, where the seller is based.
(International) Copper conductive paint from Catmusic on Etsy – Affordable, and definitely the best paint I’ve ever used!
(USA) Copper conductive paint from Safer Solutions
(Canada) Sherri Haab copper conductive paint from Lacy West Supplies – I’ve used this one as well and was happy with it.
- Copper brightener
At some point, your pieces will start looking dull when they come out of your bath. When this happens, add a few drops of copper brightener in your bath. You can also top up your bath with distilled water when it starts to evaporate.
Supplies for polishing
Once your piece of jewelry goes out of the bath, you want to polish it to make it all shiny. If you do not want to put a patina on your piece, you can polish it right after you take it out of your bath and rinse it. I always apply patina on my jewelry, so I polish them right after. To do that, I simply use steel wood pads. I always take the ones with the grade 0000. They work fine for me, but I know some people use a Dremel. I believe you can get polish more in detail with a Dremel, so if you can afford it might be worth a try. If you’re a complete beginner though, you’ll be good with the steel wool pads.
Red Devil 0320 Steel Wool, 0000 Super Fine, 8 Pads on Amazon – I use these still wood pads, they work perfectly for me!
Patina and Sealants
Patina is optional. Sealants are necessary if you’re making electroformed jewelry.
Once your pieces come out of the bath, you can oxidize them with patina. This is optional, you can leave them as is if you like when the copper is bright and shiny. The most popular patina is Liver of Sulfur, it’s great and works well. It stinks though. When I was in Canada, I was using JAX and loved it very much! And it doesn’t smell anything.
(Canada) Jax Brown at Lacy West Supplies
You can also patina your copper in different colors with Vintaj.
After electroforming your creations, I recommend sealing them with wax to protect them from oxidation. Even though it is not permanent protection, it’ll still help prevent tarnishing and protect your beautiful pieces! I use Renaissance Wax and have been super happy with it so I definitely recommend using it. Alternatively, you can use Krylon coating spray.
If you plan on working with crystals, you should definitely seal them before plunging them into the bath. In fact, some crystals literally disintegrate when in contact with acid – I’ve lost quite a few like that!. For this reason, it is important to protect them. For some crystals, like quartz, you can simply use clear nail polish. It does the job just fine. Alternatively, you can use mod podge, which is a waterbased sealer. You can also remove it with acetone, just like nail polish. But for other crystals, those that disintegrate In the bath, I use liquid latex.
If you use clear nail polish, don’t forget to buy acetone and cotton pads to remove it after electroforming. Liquid latex just peels off, so you don’t need anything else!
You can use the same liquid latex you use for crystals for some of your organics. For example, I use liquid latex on seashells or deer antlers. I have not tried using it on delicates such as leaves or bugs though. I prefer using a spray for delicates because I believe you could damage your delicate organics when applying liquid latex.
Electroforming involves the manipulation of hazardous chemicals. For this reason, you need protection. I really recommend wearing heavy-duty gloves, security glasses, and a mask especially when you are manipulating the electroforming solution.
Safety goggles – I wear safety goggles when I set up my bath and when I polish my pieces after electroforming.
Disposable gloves – I wear plastic gloves when I make my designs so I don’t leave fingerprints on my epoxy. Also, I use them to paint my creations and to touch them because I don’t want oils from my fingers to get on my pieces.
Heavy-duty gloves – Wear heavy-duty gloves when you handle your blue bath.
Respirator – Wear a respirator when you handle the electroforming bath, and most importantly when you polish your pieces after electroforming.
Since the electroforming solution contains acid, you should really make sure it doesn’t get on your skin. Wear long sleeves and long pants when you handle the electroforming solution.
There are a few things you need after electroforming. Once you finished plating your pieces, I like to filter my bath and put it back in the bottle to avoid excess evaporation. For this, I use coffee filters and a funnel. The coffee filter helps catching debris and filter excess copper in the solution. Though, if you let your bath sit for a few hours, everything will go down to the bottom so it’s a lot easier to filter. Also, after a while, your anode will get blue crystals attached to it. Use a brass brush to give it a good clean.
Jewelry making supplies
If you’re going to be making jewelry, you need metal findings. I make necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings so I have a lot of findings but depending on what you want to do, you don’t need them all.
40ft 2X3mm Metal Curb Cable Cross Chain for Jewelry Accessories DIY Making with 100pcs Jump Rings and 30pcs Lobster Clasps on Amazon – this lot includes everything you need to make necklaces. I bought this when I first started electroforming.
Shapenty Surgical Brass Ball Coil Fish Earring Hooks on Amazon – I use silver hooks for allergy reasons.
Cousin Craft & Jewelry Making Tool Kit, 3-Piece on Amazon – These are the 3 tools I use to make my necklaces, earrings, and bracelets
Polymer clay tools on Amazon – You can use some polymer clay tools to create texture in your epoxy (or your polymer clay). Also, I use a cutting tool to make the edges straight.
If you want to make rings, you need some tools to make your ring shanks. I recommend buying a kit that includes a mandrel, a hammer, and a ring sizer.
Bits and pieces
Here is a short list of some other things I use in the process. Depending on what you do, you might not need them.
Super glue: I use a lot of super glue for my designs, and I can always be handy in any sort of craft anyway. You can buy just any glue, I got mine on Amazon and it works fine. If you’re wondering what I use it for, I use it to glue jump rings, crystals or cabochons.
Paintbrush: You need a paintbrush for the copper conductive paint. And you can also use a paintbrush to apply liquid latex, but it’ll be ruined after one use.
Old toothbrush: I use an old toothbrush to clean my raw crystals. Sometimes they come in dirty so an old toothbrush can be useful!
Baking soda: You need baking soda to neutralize the acids from your bath when your piece is done electroforming.
If you don’t want to buy all the electroforming supplies individually, you can buy an electroforming kit. These kits usually include everything you need to get started. They can be quite expensive though, this is one of the reasons why I bought everything individually when I first started. However it took me forever to get everything individually, and some of the things I bought weren’t even right so in the end I probably lost money. Here are some electroforming kits I found online.
(USA) E3 Duo™ Electroforming and Etching Master Kit at Sherri Haab Design
(USA) Midas Electroforming kit at Rio Grande
(UK) Copper Electroforming Kit on Etsy
Do an online search, compare prices and you’ll see if buying an electroforming kit is worth it or not.
Electroforming is an amazing form of art. I have literally listed every single thing I use in my electroforming process. Just so you know, I didn’t buy everything all at once, and there are some things in this list that are optional. This is a list for beginners. More advanced electroformers use even more supplies, to maintain their bath for example.
I hope this complete list of electroforming supplies will help you begin your journey. Click here to download a pdf version of this list.
Also, I want to mention I have done electroforming in Canada, France, and the UK so if you’re looking for specific electroforming supplies in one of these countries, send me a message and I will be happy to help you!