So, you’ve just made your first copper electroformed creation? Congratulations! Now, you must be wondering how to finish it. There are several things you can do to finish your copper electroformed jewelry and make it look great. From polishing to sealing, I tell you exactly what you can do to give your jewelry an antique look or make it shiny. I have added a video of the process at the bottom of this post, and step by step instructions below. So, here is how to finish copper electroformed jewelry.
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Neutralize acid (optional)
If you want to neutralize the acid from the electroforming bath on your piece, you can soak it in a water and baking soda solution. This will neutralize the acid from acting on your creation. Then, rinse again with tap water. This step is not mandatory but it is best to do it. If you don’t do that, your piece will have some blue spots on it once it’s dry. You can polish them off though.
Did you electroform crystals? If so, you can now remove the sealant you covered them with to protect them in the bath. If you’ve used liquid latex, you can simply peel it off. For nail polish, use some acetone. You can do this step before of after patina, it doesn’t really matter. Sometimes I remove the latex at the very end of the process.
See also: How to seal crystals with liquid latex
You can add patina on your creations after electroforming. You don’t have to, some people prefer to keep their copper nice and shiny. As far as I’m concerned, I always add patina on everything I make because I much prefer the antique look. There are several patina options you can use.
I always use Liver of Sulfur. This is probably the most popular patina among electroformers. I use it myself, and I really love it. All you have to do is mix the gel with hot water and then plunge your item in it. Wait for it to become darker. Once it is dark, you can take it out and dry it. To bring out the highlights, you have to polish your piece after you add the patina. You can also get other colors on your copper with Liver of Sulfur if you experiment with it.
You can also find colored patinas (like green for example). I haven’t tried them out yet, but they can be great for giving a really unique look to your creations!
You can polish your creation before and/or right after you’ve applied your patina. However, if you don’t want to add patina, you can polish your item once it comes out of the bath. I always polish after applying my patina but I’ve read that others do it both before and after. If you decide to patina, you really need to polish after to bring out the highlights otherwise your creation will be just black or dark brown.
Don’t forget to always wear a respirator and safety goggles for polishing.
You can use different tools to polish your copper electroformed jewelry. You can use steel wool, a scouring pad, or a brass brush. I use steel wool, and I really love it. It’s pretty inexpensive and really does the job.
Alternatively, you can use a Dremel. If you have one at home, you should definitely use this. I think it’s better than a steel wool pad as it can go in small crevasses and really polish your piece in detail. Also, your creation will definitely come out shinier than with a steel wool pad.
If you polish only a few creations, you’ll have enough with a steel wood pad. However, If you plan to make many items, you should definitely invest in a Dremel.
See also: Should you buy an electroforming kit?
Seal your creation
To prevent your piece from oxidizing, you can seal it. As far as I’m concerned, I always use Renaissance Wax. This product is very popular and works well. However, it does not offer permanent sealing so you’ll have to reapply it whenever your creation starts to oxidize. It can be easily applied with a soft cloth.
I know some people apply nail polish to seal their items. If you do this, your piece will look glossy and shiny. I sometimes use it for my rings though, so that it doesn’t leave unwanted green marks on the skin.
Another way to seal your item is to use a coating spray. This works just like the wax and leaves a clear coating on your items.
Now that your copper electroformed jewelry is nice and shiny, you want to keep it that way. The thing is, copper tarnishes over time. For this reason, you should definitely store your items properly.
Before you store your copper jewelry, make sure it is dry. Moisture can make copper tarnish faster. I always keep my creations in a ziplock bag because it reduces contact with air. Alternatively, you can put your jewelry in a small wood box.
Always keep your copper jewelry in a cool, dry place. If you intend to sell your creations, let your customers know that they shouldn’t swim or shower with their jewelry.
If you follow these simple guidelines, you should be able to keep your copper items shiny for a very long time! But even if they tarnish, you can seal them again to make them look as good as new.
See also: How to set up your electroforming bath
Video of the process:
There are several ways you can finish your copper electroformed jewelry. Whether you want to add patina or simply polish with a steel wood pad, I recommend trying several options to find what you prefer. If you want to give your creations an antique look, I definitely recommend adding patina.
For polishing, you can use a steel wood pad as a beginner, or directly invest in a Dremel or tumbler. Don’t forget to seal your jewelry to keep it shiny. It will also avoid leaving unwanted green marks on the skin.
Once you’ve finished your copper electroformed jewelry, store it properly to avoid quick tarnishing. This is especially important if you intend to sell your jewelry online or on markets. How do you finish your copper electroformed jewelry? Let me know in the comments below!