Introduction: DIY Spray on Chrome Kit

Picture of DIY Spray on Chrome Kit

This is going to be a DIY for 99% of the Do It Yourselferss out there. , meaning anyone can build it, this Kit will be assembled with off the shelf products as to keep it as simple as possible , it can also be made with Raw materials which I have done also(will not go into details this time). I built a similar kit about three years ago(posted in a different forum), but recently but recently I found about this site after looking many good instructables for 3D Printers(I will be building a very very frugal basic/Simplistic kit to coat 3D Prints with Silver, Copper and Gold, I will publish it here when I am done)..

I publish this here because I just dont see Budget Friendly Spray On Chrome System from the Big Companies, some how you need to buy their Huge expensive machines and super expensive chemicals.

What is Spray On Chrome?

Spray On Chrome is nothing more than creating a front surface mirror on substrates other than glass, its not real chrome its Silver a thin coat of silver, electroless deposition of silver(Autocatalytic plating)

Step 1: Chemicals/Coating Needed

Picture of Chemicals/Coating Needed

as I said earlier, This is going to be a kit that you can build with OF The Shelf products, so what chemicals do you need?

Spray Silver chemicals(the least expencive one option, they are concentrated and will cover about 200 esquare feet which is more than enough for you to learn, get the hang of it and then become an expert just for $80

Tin for Silver Concentrate($9)

Wetting Agent($5)

Waste Treatment Kit($16) (we cant forget about mother nature)

Coating(Optional as you can use your own if you like, I use Sherwin Williams 2k like a uni coat system, that is I use it as base for the silver to stick to it and as clear to protect the silver, you can even use Duplicolor System like Primer/Glossy Black/Clear Coat or their Metal Cast system as I have done in the past too, just make sure the glossy black has cured for a few days)

Uni-Coat System($60)

When I was Building my system a few years back Angel Gilding hadn't create their own "Spray On Chrome" two part system so I built mine using their "Spray Silver" three part system, but it works very well too(you can try their two part system) I wanted to see how good it was so I also Purchased a very similar system that was sold by Alsa Corp(it was $299 at the time I purchased it, now its $500) my testing concluded that both systems gives you superb finish but if you calculated the Square Feet per Dollar amount this DIY is about 20 times more affordable.

Step 2: Hardware Need

Picture of Hardware Need

Hardware for chemicals

Stain Magic dual Chamber bottle(get atleast 2, about $20 a piece)

3 hand triger sprayer and a hand held presure sprayer

hand held pressure sprayer($10)

Coating Hardware

if you dont have a small compressor and an air bursh/spray gun you can use preval sprayer(thats what the Alsa kit came with, it works very good)($10)

Hair Dryer(0$ if your wife's hair dryer)

Step 3: Stage One: Prep/Primer/BaseCoat

Picture of Stage One: Prep/Primer/BaseCoat

this is about the most important part of the 3 Stage system(Basecoat, Silver, Top Coat) remember how we are trying to imitate a glass mirror? well this is it, make it or bust it..

1. Sealer: if you are going to silver a piece of wood/rock/Plaster you need to seal it first

2. Primer if you are going to silver Metals or plastics, plastic friendly primers are a must, and if you are going to be using it over bending flexible pastic then using Krylon fusion for plastics is a must(I have tested it and works like a charm)

3. Base Coat/UniCoat.. you can use either a single Stage 2k Urethane(super high gloss) or Basecoat/Clear Coat sytem as a base for the Silver to be deposited, any color is good(black, white, Silver), if you are going to use Duplicolor or any other spray can manufacturer you must use their entire system(primer, single stage base and final topcoat) dont use wood polyurethanes.

Step 4: Silvering, Cleaning and Wetting Agent Stage

another Complex stage that must be done as laid out, Di water($5 per gallon at walmart) for chemicals and rinsing is need it, without it you wont be able to Silver at all

1.Cleaning: this must be done before anything, always use safety latex gloves, never touch the piece to be silvered, atleast not on obvious areas where it will be seen(you can grab it from behind), I use regular dish soap, Rinse and rinse well before moving to the next step.

here is a video of how I clean the peice

2. Wetting Agent, This is need it because as opposed to Glass, Automotive coatings have a higher surface tension, the wetting agent lowers the surface tension, allowing the chemicals to cover the entire piece.

pre.wetting agent piece

after Wetting agent piece

Step 5: Silvering: Sensitizing and Silvering


After you use the Wetting agent you wait 30 senconds and Rinse, do another light coat of wetting agent and start using the Sensitizer and wait about a minute(a few seconds more than a minute is best) then you rinse and rinse very well as to remove any of the sensitizer liquids from the piece(dont worry as the sensitizer has already done its job). never let the piece dry during the process,


when you start Spraying the Silvering chemicals try to cover the entire piece as you build the silver deposit, Rinse the Part at least onece and start silvering again untill you have a nice coat.

Dry the Piece with a Hair Dryer

Step 6: Top Coat Stage

Picture of Top Coat Stage

Top Coating, this is also important, its the last stage and if you mess up here, your entire work piece needs to be done again...

The silver deposit its not very thick and will allow some interaction of the Basecoat and clear coat so its very important that the basecoat has cured for at least 18 hours if its 2k Urethane, a few days or more if you plan on using spray cans, here this is what happens when you rush a job

the Unicoat kit from Angelgilding comes with a Violet tint unit, which is necesary to reproduce a chrome look, remember this is Silver and as such it does not look like pure chrome, it needs that blueish tone, and as you can see from the dirtbike pic, you can also use all kinds of color to reproduce, gold, copper and other colors.. all in all you should spend more than $200 and be able to coat about 200 square feet of products

I hope you like it and get ready for my Next DIY Silver/Copper/Gold Coating for Small 3D prints


wal1987 (author)2017-10-04

Nicamarvin can you look at my chemicals if all ok.

Activator ( 5grams of tin dichloride,40ml hydrocloric acide ) reducer (formaldehyde 0,9ml, glucose 5grams) silver( sodium hydroxide 4grams , silver nitrate 4grams 10ml ammonia 25%)

jcao2 (author)2017-08-19

Hi Nicamarvin, thanks for the good instructions. I did see on youtube you did a car rim and that's what I want to do but you didn't explain in the video by the way I subscribe to your channel, can you please email me or explain exactly what I need. Thanks

nicamarvin (author)jcao22017-09-29

The D.I.Y posted here will apply to just about any pieces, including car wheel rims, the steps... wheel prep(primer, fix imperfections, base coat and clear coat) allow for 24 hours cure, degrease with dish washing soap, wetting agent, rinse, sensitizer, rinse and proceed with the silvering, force dry, allow one hour to fully dry and then clear coat with any color you would like.

ShanS23 (author)2017-03-27

Hi nicamarvin. Would you mind making a list for me of what items i need to do this. Thanks

JemalA (author)2017-03-19

Hi nicamarvin, thanks for the great instructions.

I am thinking of using this same kit for my car parts (door handles interior/exterior, grills, rims, etc), could you please tell whether the same process will work for it and recommend what to do to make it more durable?

Thanks in advance.

nicamarvin (author)JemalA2017-03-20

I believe this will also work for your needs, you can also put a final coat of scratch resistant cleat coat to make it more durable, I am also working on a process for Electroless Nickel plating on plastics using a very simmilar kit, stay tune because by the end of the year at the latest I should have completed the kit and post how to hereñ

JemalA (author)nicamarvin2017-03-21

Great, Thank you!

Anxvf1s (author)2016-10-01

Here is what I'm Chroming and what I want it to look like.

nicamarvin (author)Anxvf1s2016-10-21

Nice, I hope all goes well, please don't forget to get the wetting agent and make sure it covers all of the pieces.

ArunS40 (author)nicamarvin2017-02-09

Hi nicamarvin
I m in India. I dont have authorised dealer for chemical. Can u suggest me generic name of wetting agent ?

nicamarvin (author)ArunS402017-03-15

I keep ordering their wetting agent, never found a substitute or a formula for such.

WhoGooGle (author)2017-02-19

You did great work here. Love your artical. I would like to have your recipe of a few years back were you made your own chemicals.... again great work.

nicamarvin (author)WhoGooGle2017-03-15

On my early works, I based my work on a diluted(half strength) of Tollens reagent chemicals, wetting agent from Angel Gilding, this could be avoided if you use a propane/butane plasma treatment, but I never got the nerve to put a open flame near plastic items.

slipondajimmy (author)2016-11-29

Great Instructable. I want to get clarification on this thought. So is it the two part, or 3 part system you need for this?
Then I just want to make sure you the other items (Other than the sprayers) are

Spray Silver chemicals

Tin for silver

wetting agent.

Also for a rattle can primer, base, clear what would you recommend? I just have a few small cast metal parts I need to do.

Brads2k (author)2016-10-23

This is pretty cool and I own about 80% of what I need now (I have a big shop) one thing I don't understand though... where and how is the sensitizer applied? I don't see it on the list of things to buy either? So far I see:

Paint and clear
Wash with mild soap
Wash with Dwater
Apply wetter
Wash with Dwater
*****does it go here?*****
Wash with Dwater
Apply silver chemical
Wash with Dwater
Air dry
Clear coat

Is this right? I have probably 10 paint guns and a huge compressor, but I never saw where you used the double sprayer you bought or how?

I'm really interested in this I just want to be sure I understand it before I attempt it

nicamarvin (author)Brads2k2016-10-24

The Sensitizer is the first post on "Step 5" of this tutorial". for medium sized items you don´t need spray guns or a compressor, just the dual trigger sprayer. here is the link of how the spraying goes

nicamarvin (author)nicamarvin2016-10-24

I am also working on a "Spray On Nickel" process that will apply real Nickel to plastics.

Anxvf1s (author)2016-10-01

Where do I get the tint so I can do gold color chrome on a Cylon suit armor,

I heard you need a UV protective chemical, (true or Not true?)

How do I apply them?


nicamarvin (author)Anxvf1s2016-10-21

If you are getting the items directly from Angel Gilding, you will find that they carry the gold tint and chrome tint concentrates for the clear coat.

thedoc64 (author)2016-04-26

Hi just got the kit from angel gilding tried it and it came out like gold color not silver at all did the steps just like you had listed mixed chemicals 970milof di water and 30 mil of silver chemicals . it turned brownie to gold color what did i miss.or need to rinse more?????? thanks

Art The Doc 64

Angel Gilding (author)thedoc642016-06-09

Hi @thedoc64, Angel Gilding here. We would be happy to talk through it with you too. It may be with the tinting of the top coat. You can email us at The concentration is different for our different spray chemicals.

Ajc071014 (author)Angel Gilding2016-10-18

I want to have the kit,but how can i get this kit because i dont know if theres any store in uae for the chemical,but if you have available for the kit can i order with you?

Ajc071014 (author)Angel Gilding2016-10-18

This is very interesting,can you help me also how to mix the chrome kit?i want to try this,hopefully you can help me,this is my email

Jake103 (author)2016-08-13

Hi, great post! Anyway to DIY the chemistry to make this more affordable?


nicamarvin (author)Jake1032016-08-15

Please dont try to make your own silver nitrate, you can buy the basic chemicals, try to read the Tollens reagent chemicals

0944000199 (author)nicamarvin2016-08-18

Glad to see you again

tonyp99 (author)2016-08-07

Hi, just found this. If I mix too much how long can I keep the leftovers in the spray bottle or pressure sprayer?

nicamarvin (author)tonyp992016-08-15

less than 24 hours.

bkbark8970 (author)2016-04-04

Marvin I love your how to on this however I have a very important set of questions that I'm hoping you can help with.

1) Have you ever tried doing this with any Automotive Urethane paints from companies like PPG, DuPont, House of Kolor (HOK), etc that are basecoat/clearcoat systems used on cars/trucks/motorcycles?

2) If you have what kind of results did you get?

3) What waste water treatment are you using and where do you get rid of the residual metals waste that cant be dumped down a drain or in the trash?

Angel Gilding (author)bkbark89702016-06-09

Hi @bkbark8970, here. I believe he is using our waste treatment process. You can see it here: Looks like Marvin has a great tutorial here, if there is anything we can help you with you can email us at Thanks!

nicamarvin (author)bkbark89702016-05-19

my best results have been with Automotive grade Sherwin Williams and I have also tried with PPG, DuPont but they are hard to wet(using wetting agent).

vonsmog1. (author)2016-05-22

Do you think this would work for headlight reflectors? I have some reflectors from some Bosch and Hella fog lights as well as some Euro Mercedes headlights that are starting to flake. Since they are no longer available I would like to be about to save them.

nicamarvin (author)vonsmog1.2016-05-23

Yes, it will work on them

BryonB (author)2016-01-22

Hi Marvin, I finally found you again. I was following you at HAMB until some one there decided that chrome plating wasn't hot roding.

Thanks for sharing and please keep us informed

nicamarvin (author)BryonB2016-05-19

Sorry for the long replay, been very bussy at work and family.

sonicdrive (author)2016-03-07

how durable is the silver coating

nicamarvin (author)sonicdrive2016-05-19

Not very durable, it needs to be clear coat it to protected.

MikeH231 (author)2016-04-07

Does this work in high temperature applications? Or would my unicoat system need to be changed? Like ceramic based or something?

nicamarvin (author)MikeH2312016-05-19

What I have done is first apply a high temperature primer, cure the primer with heat, then high temperature glossy basecoat, cure it for about a day with normal use, the apply the spray on silver process, the clear coat it with 2k or high temperature tinted 2k clear coat(colors work best because the heat will change a bit the final tone)

nonsence (author)2016-02-26

Hi .how are you may I know from where in get all this and which one is cheapest and good

nicamarvin (author)nonsence2016-02-26

Aamir1618 (author)2016-01-09

Hi Bro Please upload ur mail I'd I'm very interested please help me in this project
My mail I'd

nicamarvin (author)Aamir16182016-01-09

Just ask what you want to know here.

Pawlsendevours (author)2015-12-26

Where are you getting silverconcentrate for $ on the link and its telling me 80

I think they have updated the links and some of their prices, the orginal link was for Tin for Silver which is stanous chloride activator so silver can stick to it.. here is the correct link

tomatoskins (author)2015-10-09

That turned out looking great! Thanks for sharing!

nicamarvin (author)tomatoskins2015-10-09

No Problem.. some more pics of the Iron Man Mask I did

About This Instructable



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