‘What can you electroform?’, it’s a question I’m being asked very often by newbie electroformers. Well, to give you a simple answer: anything and everything! That’s the beauty of electroforming.
As long as you seal the thing you want to electroform properly and make it conductive, you can put it in the bath. The most common things obviously include all sorts of organic materials, metal, and glass. Read on to discover 10 things you should try electroforming on your next project and get some inspiration for your future designs!
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Crystals are the most common organic used by electroformers. I’ve mentioned how much I use (and love) them on the blog before. If you’re new, you should definitely start with crystals. Some of them are really easy to use and do not require sealing. With gemstones, you can create beautiful pieces of jewelry very easily.
Some of the best crystals to work with include Quartz, Amethyst, Labradorite, and Moonstone. All these stones are very popular in the crystal world. All you have to do is create a beautiful design, and seal your gems with liquid latex before putting them in the bath.
Since crystals come in all shapes and sizes, the opportunities to create stunning jewelry are truly endless. You can find a lot of stunning stones online.
The second material you can use is clay. Clay is one of my favorites media to work with. Whether you’re using polymer or epoxy clay, it doesn’t matter. You do not need to seal clay before putting it in the bath. All you have to do is paint it so that it becomes conductive.
With clay, you can hand shape all sorts of designs, and you can also add texture to your jewelry. If you’re not good at modeling things by hand, you can buy silicone molds or cookie cutters to help you out! If you want to know more about clay for electroforming, click here to read my post on the topic.
Leaves are another favorite among electroforming artists. Easy to find, they can really add a little something to your jewelry. If you choose leaves with a lot of texture, it’ll be even more beautiful. Especially if you patina your jewelry at the end of the process.
Some of the best leaves to use include fern, rose and bay leaves. You can electroform both fresh and dry leaves. Just like bugs, make sure you are sealing your leaf well before you electroform it. The only downside to leaves is that they are super fragile, so you must be really careful when handling them.
See also: How to electroform a leaf
Do you want to make some nature-inspired designs? then, you should totally consider electroforming feathers.
You can easily find pigeon feathers on the ground pretty much anywhere I believe. You could also head to a park or forest, where you should find a lot of different types of feathers from the birds who live there. I have found many raven, magpie, and falcon feathers in the woods.
You could add your feather to a design to make it native-inspired or electroform the feather alone and turn it into a beautiful pendant.
I don’t think I’ve seen a lot of people electroforming plastic, but this is definitely something you can do. In fact, plastic is one of the best things to electroform because it doesn’t require any sealing at all.
You could buy some small plastic toys shaped like people or animals, and add them to your designs. Also, you’ll find a lot of small plastic flat back cabochons. They are really great because they usually have some texture or details that end up looking great electroformed!
If you decide to ‘electroform’ metal, you will simply be copper-plating it more than anything. Anything made of metal will be conductive and can be safely put in the bath. Not sealing needed.
Most of the metal things being electroformed include charms or beads for example. There’s no lack of metal charms online, and you’ll surely find shapes and themes that inspire you.
If you have silver chains, you can copper plate them so that they fit your jewelry. All you have to do is put them in the bath for a few hours.
Resin is another one of these fantastic materials that are totally safe to use for electroforming. So, if you like combining crafting techniques, you can make something in resin and then use it in an electroformed design.
Resin is quite fun to work with, and the possibilities are really endless. You can put glitter, flowers, or even stickers in resin! Then, add a little bit of copper paint around your object and plunge it in the bath. You’ll end up with a stunning and unique piece of jewelry.
Insects are definitely not the easiest thing to electroform but they make stunning statement pieces. If you’re new, I wouldn’t recommend starting with insects just yet. But once you get a hang of electroforming, why not try to plate a butterfly, cicada, or a spider.
Make sure you seal your insects really well before putting them in the bath. Otherwise, they will dissolve, or simply not be solid enough once plated.
If you don’t have a garden or forest near your home where you could find dead insects, you can buy them online from ethical bug farms.
Do you have glass beads or glass cabochons at home? You can definitely use them for electroforming.
There are literally tons of glass cabochons you can find online, and they can truly add a little something to your jewelry. Have a look on Amazon or Etsy, and you’ll surely find something fun!
It doesn’t have to be cabochon though, you can also use beads. I used to have Millefiori glass hearts, they are pretty and really look amazing after electroforming.
Finally, I love using twigs in my designs. It helps create textured and original jewelry. You can take several twigs and arrange them to create shapes for example. Or you can make little wands. The texture of the wood really gives a witchy style to your jewelry, and that’s what I like the most about working with twigs.
On top of that, they are super easy to find. You can pick them up in your garden if you have one or in your local forest for example. The possibilities are truly endless!
If you haven’t tried electroforming yet, I’d recommend starting with the basics: crystals and clay. Once you become used to the process, you can try more intricate designs. You can also have fun and use organics such as insects or bones.
There are other things that you can electroform, so let your creativity flow and try to be original. That’s how you’ll succeed in your electroforming journey. What is your favorite thing to electroform? Let me know in the comments below!