Friday Favorites // Best Copper Electroforming Supplies — Maker Monologues
I kept hearing about the brand Safer Solutions, so I decided to give it a try and I was blown away at the results of both the product and my pieces! Their paint is very smooth, it seems to be more conductive, it looks more metallic and maybe that’s why it’s more conductive.
Also, the packaging is great. It comes in a small jar (depending on the size you get) the plastic is very rigid and they include one of those paint roller balls so you can shake it up to mix up the paint.
Winner: Safer Solutions Copper Conductive Paint
As you all know, I started out using wood filler as my epoxy, lol, which totally worked great and I recommend it if that’s something you currently have on hand. Then I grew up and got the 2-part epoxy from Apoxie Sculpt.
So, the Elmers wood filler honestly isn’t a bad product to use as your epoxy. It did the job perfectly, and I had no complaints… until I got the 2-part epoxy.
When I switched to the Apoxie Sculpt brand, it was one of those moments where you just don’t know better until you know better. The 2-part epoxy system creates a much stronger bond, it dries harder and it stores for longer since it’s separated into the 2 parts. It was also easier to mold certain shapes, unlike with the wood filler which was more spongy and seemed to want to expand.
Winner: Apoxie Sculpt 2-Part Epoxy
I’ve tried quite a few different techniques for sealing my crystals before putting them in the electroforming bath. I’ve tried clear nail polish alone, Sherri Haab varnish, I’ve tried the clear nail polish + Sherri Haab varnish together, I’ve also tried liquid latex and lastly, Mod Podge clear acrylic sealer.
The clear nail polish and the Sherri Haab varnish are both great sealers to use, for most gemstones. I had success using both for almost every gemstone I’ve needed to seal, except for opal. They just didn’t seem to work with opal, but that’s almost expected since opal is such a difficult stone to seal.
The Mod Podge and liquid latex are almost the same when it comes to sealing. I had success sealing opals with both of these products. However, I found the mod podge to be quite difficult to remove afterward and would sometimes leave a gap between the copper and stone.
The liquid latex worked great. I just do 2-3 thin layers right up to where I applied my conductive paint and it works like a charm every time! However, with opals, I still apply clear nail polish around the entire stone, then glue, then epoxy, then paint, lastly latex.
Here’s my tips for sealing seashells, bones, leaves, and other porous or delicate items.
Winner: Liquid Latex (tip: I use a colored latex so it’s easier to see gaps in case I missed a spot when painting it on.)
For sealing my copper jewelry after it’s finished to protect it from tarnishing I’ve tried Rennaissance wax, as well, as ProtectaClear.
The ren wax did not do anything. I have tried applying it with my hands, applying it with a cloth, letting it sit for a couple of hours before wiping the excess. I feel I tried everything but my copper would still tarnish after a couple of days, it would also still turn my finger green the next day and I just couldn’t get it to work.
I switched to ProtectaClear and it was honestly a game-changer. I tested it on a copper ring that I wore for 14 days straight; in the shower, cleaning house/sweating, washing my hands multiple times a day, etc., and it took exactly 14 days for the ProtectaClear to even begin wearing off.
Now imagine how long that seal would last if you took your jewelry off before you do any of these things (as what is recommended you do with any jewelry).
Winner: EverBright ProtectaClear Acrylic Varnish
LIVER OF SULPHER SOLUTIONS
I’ve tried my fair share of patina solutions, such as Cool Tools Patina Gel, hard-boiled eggs (let’s just nix that option right now, lol, there are so many better options, ha!) as well as the hard chunk LOS. I’m also only talking about getting a blackened look, not that green patina known as verdigris or the rainbow effect.
To be quite honest, patina gels and dried chunk LOS equally worked great for me. You mix them both in warm water, stick your piece in and get similar results. I personally have been loving Rio Grande’s dried chunk liver of sulfur, though, because it seems to last forever and it hasn’t lost any potency.
Winner: Rio Grande’s Midas Bright Dried Liver of Sulfur
Wearing a mask is very important in our craft. We’re messing with chemicals and lots of particulate from polishing/sanding. I started out wearing those disposable face masks with the ear loops, which was better than nothing back then. But I then learned just how important it is to be fully protected from fumes and particulate.
I made the switch to the 3M respirator mask with particulate filters and it’s been one of the best investments for my health. I’ve tested it with my liver of sulfur and I couldn’t smell a thing! I feel very protected with this mask on.
Winner: 3M Respirator + Particulate Filter Mask
I know that, as makers, we are very brand loyal. So when we find something that works it’s hard to try something else. Like with me using the wood filler, sure it worked, but I just didn’t know anything better. So leave your favorite brands and products below, because maybe I need to change up my own toolbox.