If you’re new to electroforming, you’ll love this easy electroforming tutorial I’m about to share with you. You can use it to design your first creations quickly and easily. On top of that, you’ll end up with a stunning piece of jewelry that you can wear or sell.
In this tutorial, I will teach you how to create an elegant and simple crystal pendant using electroforming. I used a beautiful Amethyst point, but you can use any crystal that you have at home! Before we start, let’s see what supplies we need.
What you need for this tutorial
Here is a quick list of all the supplies you need for this easy electroforming tutorial:
- Epoxy clay
- Copper wire (14G)
- Copper conductive paint
- Liquid latex
- Electroforming solution
- Copper wire (8G)
- Hanging wire (20G)
- Bus bar (wood or copper)
- Steel wool pad
- Renaissance Wax
- Soft cloth
If you are missing some supplies, check out my complete electroforming supplies list to know where you can get what you need!
Electroforming tutorial: simple crystal pendant
Below, you’ll find step by step instructions on how to create a beautiful yet simple copper electroformed crystal pendant.
For this crystal pendant tutorial, I’m only using one crystal, copper wire, and epoxy for the design. First, take your 14G copper wire and cut about 2 inches. We’re going to use this copper to make the bail on our pendant.
Take the wire you just cut and shape it around a ring sizer (if you have one) to make it round. You can also use anything that has a round shape. If the bail you get is too big, don’t hesitate to cut the ends of the wire a little bit to make it shorter.
Next, you want to mix parts A and B of your epoxy and apply it on each side of your copper wire. Place the wire on top of your crystal, where you want it to be. Make sure the epoxy is sticking well to the stone. You don’t want to leave fingerprints on your design, because they will be visible even after electroforming, so wear gloves if you need to.
Once your design is finished, wait at least 8 hours for your epoxy to cure.
Once your epoxy is dry you can paint it with copper conductive paint. As you can see, I painted both the epoxy and the copper wire because I used enameled copper wire and it’s not conductive. So, to make it conductive, I paint it. But if you use bare copper wire, you do not need to paint it (but it won’t change a thing if you do).
If you put some paint on the crystal, don’t worry and just wipe it with a wet cloth. Just make sure you are painting the edges properly. Wait for your paint to dry and apply a second coat.
Let the paint completely dry before going to the next step.
Next, we’re going to protect our crystal. For this tutorial, I used a beautiful Amethyst point, and even though, Amethyst is one of those stones that doesn’t necessarily require sealing, I prefer sealing it just in case.
For this, I use liquid latex. If you have clear nail polish, that can work too (on some stones). Check out this post to learn more about sealing crystals before electroforming.
Plunge your swizzle stick in liquid latex and apply it to your crystal. Don’t put liquid latex on the copper paint or it won’t plate. Only apply it where you don’t want copper to form.
Let it dry completely. Apply a second coat if needed.
4. Prepare your bath
Now, we’re going to prepare the bath. For this step, I definitely recommend wearing gloves, a mask and safety glasses.
Take your 8G wire to make your anode. You can shape it around a bottle to make sure it fits your beaker. Place your copper coil (anode) inside your beaker letting the top end of your wire stick out over the edge.
Then, carefully pour your copper electroforming solution into your beaker. Make sure you put enough solution to completely submerge your piece.
5. Wire up
Next, you want to loop your hanging wire around your piece. For this, I use 20G copper wire. You can use any size copper wire, but the thinner the better. I always recommend getting anything between 14G and 22G for your hanging wire.
Wrap your wire around your bus bar (in my case a paintbrush) and place the bar above your electroforming bath. Your wire should be long enough to fully submerge your piece into the solution. But make sure your creation doesn’t touch the bottom of your beaker.
Your item should be submerged in the middle of your bath without touching anything.
6. Attach the wires
Attach the black wire to (negative) to your thin copper wire, and the black wire (positive) to your copper coil.
7. Turn on your rectifier
Before you turn on your rectifier, you’re supposed to measure the surface area to be plated on your piece to find out your amperage setting. The standard measurement is 10 square inches per 1-amp. I don’t do it because I know how I should set my rectifier now.
If you want to do the measurement, measure each side of your piece that needs to be plated (height, length…) and enter your results here. Write down the final number. The number the website gives you should be used to set up your power supply.
If you’re doing a design very similar to mine and don’t want to do the math, turn on your rectifier and set it to 0.1 or 0.2 if you only have one piece in the bath. After half an hour, check to see how your plating is going and adjust amperage accordingly.
8. Rinse your pendant
After 12 hours In the bath, I take my pendant out and rinse it with distilled water and baking soda. I do this to neutralize the acid from the electroforming bath. I let it sit in the solution for just a few minutes.
9. Add patina (optional)
If you don’t want to give your creation an antique look, you can skip this step and go to the next one.
If you want your copper to look antique, and darker you’ll want to use Liver of Sulfur. Pour one drop of gel into a container. Add hot water, just enough to submerge your item. Then, plunge your piece into the solution and wait for it to become darker. Once it’s dark brown or black, take it out and dry it with a paper towel.
See also: How to use Liver of Sulfur
Now, we’re going to make our pendant nice and shiny. For this step, I use a steel wool pad. But you can also use a rotary tool if you have one.
Take your steel wool pad and polish your copper until you obtain the desired shine. You should see beautiful highlights if you’ve put your item in Liver of Sulfur before. After polishing, you can remove the liquid latex you used to protect your crystal. If you used nail polish, you can safely remove it with acetone.
11. Seal your piece
To keep my copper shiny, I seal it with renaissance wax. Take a soft cloth and a little bit of renaissance wax. Apply it on your copper.
Watch the process:
Electroforming doesn’t have to be complicated. I created this easy electroforming tutorial to show you hat you can make beautiful jewelry even if you’re a total beginner. If you have any questions, please drop a comment and I’ll do my best to answer it!
I hope you liked this easy electroforming tutorial. Would you like to see more tutorials in the future? Let me know in the comments below!