How to Gold Plate Brass

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Gold plating is an economical way to get the look of gold at a reduced cost. Brass is often used as a base metal for gold plating. You can gold plate small projects using a rectifier and gold electroplating solution, but large-scale projects require expensive, specialized equipment that is unwieldy for most consumers to use in their home or small metalsmithing studio.

Things You'll Need

  • Acetone
  • Distilled water
  • Rectifier and leads with alligator clips
  • Glass container
  • Electroplating solution
  • Rubber gloves

Clean the brass with acetone to remove dirt and grease. Rinse off the acetone with distilled water. Dry the brass.

Attach the positive lead from the rectifier to the metal that supplies the electroplating solution with an alligator clip.

Attach the negative lead from the rectifier with an alligator clip to the brass object you want to gold plate.

Select a glass container that is larger enough to accommodate the brass object you wish to gold plate. Pour the electrolyte solution, supersaturated with gold, into the glass container. Submerge the brass object in the electrolyte solution so it is suspended in the solution. Be sure the brass object does not touch the bottom or sides of the glass container.

Turn the rectifier on and set it according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. The rectifier creates a low voltage of direct current. The electricity causes metal ions to deposit a plating of gold on the brass object.

Leave the brass in the solution until the brass is gold plated. Check the brass from time to time to determine the thickness of the plating. Adjust the rectifier as needed until the brass is plated to your satisfaction.

Record the voltage and time required to electroplate your brass object with gold so you can repeat your results.

References

  • "The Complete Metalsmith: Professional Edition?"; Tim McCreight; 2005
  • "Metalsmithing"; Robert Ebendorf, Michael Jerry, and Thomas Markusen; 1973
  • \"Jewelry: Fundamentals of Metalsmithing;\" Tim McCreight; 1997
  • "Jewelry Concepts and Technology"; Oppi Untracht; 1982
  • "The Penland Book of Jewelry"; Marthe Le Van; 2005
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