Picture of Copper Plating

In this instruction I am going through how to copper plating a washer with a few simple steps! There is room for experimentation in for example: Changing the time, voltage and acids! :) I will only go true the basic steps in how to copper plate, no explanation in "why" will be found in this tutorial!

Price: 1 – 3$ || Time: 1 – 3 h || Difficulty: Easy - Medium

Warning! Do this experiment in a well ventilated area, and if your a young scientist, do this together with an adult!

What you need:

  • Copper x2 small pieces (In the video I use coper wire, but other copper objects works as well!)
  • Metal object to copper plate ( I use a washer)
  • Glass jar with lid
  • Alligator-clip wires x2
  • Power-supply (preferred one with a changeable voltage output)
  • Vinegar (which will be our acid)
  • Polisher and polish (if you want to polish your object afterwords)

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Step 1: Watch this video first! :)


This is a instruction video I have made :) I will go true and show all steps written in this instruction!

If the video only appears as an picture, then you can follow this link instead! :) It will open a new window/tab so you easily can come back here afterwords!

DonatasM9 months ago

Maybe someone knows if it works with gold ?

it may, but it would be somewhat wasteful

I'm thinking about scraping a old processors in that way

more than likely you won't get pure gold
Gelfling69 months ago

Believe it or not, It actually is ionization. Copper ions from the source copper, release in the acid, and travel through it to, and adhere to the destination object. One other chemical, plain water and Copper Sulphate. This will guarantee a source of copper, and the trace sulfur will act as a weak acid.

victordoes (author)  Gelfling69 months ago

Great extra information for those who whant to know more! :) Thx!

Gelfling69 months ago

I've used Lemon-juice/salt solution for my acid. Works the same as the Vinegar. It doesn't take much voltage. Even as low as 1.5V single dry-cell or alkaline battery. I managed to copper-plate a nickle, and someone thought it was a rare coin. (even when I showed them the date was only 2 years earlier.) One note, if you use high voltages (well below 20V, but above 3-6V) You'll notice the object getting plated will be blackened, instead of shiny copper. This blackened layer will cut-down on the conduction of the copper ions through the solution, (like an insulator) resulting in a poor plate layer. Best to keep the voltage low.

Seen in an old Science book I used to have in High School, take an object, put a thin wax layer on it, coat that wax layer with graphite powder, then place object in the acid solution, the copper will adhere to the graphite, and for a solid foil that can be peeled off.

victordoes (author)  Gelfling69 months ago

It´s very true! it almost looks like it is "burned". And the "scientific bubbling" disappears much quicker. Unfortunately my power supply only supported 3v at its lowest. :) It would be easy enough to build a "split" with 2 resistors and some soldering, but that would make the whole "experiment with your child" idea more complex. :)

Fujo9 months ago

I feel a bit like the grammar police but you are using the word true incorrectly i.e. "I will go true...". True is the opposite of false. Another one you might get confused with is "threw" which is the past tense of throw. You should be using "through" in this case. It is easy enough to get these mixed up because the all sound [roughly] the same - especially if English is not your first language.

victordoes (author)  Fujo9 months ago

Great! Will change it! :) A combination of "second language" and dyslexia does make these mistakes hard to find. There for it is greate with feedback such as this! :) Thanks!

Mielameri9 months ago
Yay! Fun with chemistry ;). Really nice tut
victordoes (author)  Mielameri9 months ago

Everything involving "nerdy" is fun! ;) Thanks! :)