In order to electroplate the metallic characteristics of one piece of metal onto an object requires the object being electroplated to be conductive like metal. Organic materials, such as wood, are not conductive. They are also porous and will absorb the solution associated with the electroplating process. Consequently, the wood must be covered with a substance that is conducive to plating and will act as a sealant. Knowing how to do this properly can save time and frustration as well as ensure that the wood is properly plated.
Things You'll Need
Copper conductive paint
Wall mount power adapter with alligator clips
Buy copper conductive paint and plating solution that corresponds with the metal you will be electroplating onto the wood from an online electroplating kit retailer or your local arts and crafts store.
Put on the gloves and mask to prevent incidental skin irritation or eye contact.
Cover the wood with an even coat of the copper conductive paint.
Fill the beaker with enough plating solution to fully submerge the wood. The beaker should be large enough to accommodate the wood and metal piece being plated onto the wood.
Connect the alligator clip with the positive charge to the metal piece being plated onto the wood. Attach the negatively charged alligator clip to the wood. Place both pieces into the beaker.
Ensure the wood and metal are not touching. If the pieces are touching, the metallic qualities may not transfer evenly to the wood. Also, check that the alligator clips are not coming in contact with each other. If the clips are touching, they can short the power adapter.
Plug the power adapter into an electrical socket. Allow the wood to be submerged in the solution until it fully assumes the physical characteristics of the metal being plated onto it. This process can be monitored by looking through the beaker or occasionally removing the wood from the beaker and visually inspecting it.