Mushroom Copper Pendant

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Introduction: Mushroom Copper Pendant

About: Hi my name is Mandy Reyes. Ever since I was a child I have loved to create and craft all sorts of things. Recently I have been pushing myself to learn how to make video tutorials so that I can share my passion…

This tutorial will teach you the basic steps of creating an electroformed copper pendant. The correct term is actually called copper plating and not "electroforming", however you will find that this is the way this art form is typically referred to. We will be using three sticky mediums: two part epoxy, superglue, and translucent liquid sculpey, which is essentially a craft glue that hardens when baked to bind pieces together. I have linked a few of these supplies below to make it easier to purchase everything you will need to get started. Let's jump in!

Supplies

Create The Pendant

For the Electroforming Solution

After The Pendant is Copper Plated

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases linked in the material section.

Step 1: Sculpt the Mushrooms

Roll out a thin layer of polymer clay and use a round cutting tool to stamp small circles.

Place the small circles on the tip of a small tool or the end of a paintbrush and form the top of the mushroom. Remove the mushroom cap once you are happy with the shape and size.

After making several mushroom caps, bake the polymer clay as per the instructions on the label.

Let the caps cool and then add a drop of superglue inside the cap. Cut about an inch of 20g wire for your stem and place it in the center of the cap.

TIP: Use accelerator spray to instantly dry the glue.

Now, using translucent liquid sculpey, fill in the surrounding area around the stem inside of the cap. You want to make sure that the stem binds completely to the cap and does not move.

Bake the mushrooms a final time as per the instructions on the label.

Step 2: Use Epoxy to Sculpt the Base for the Mushrooms

Start with a large crystal, I recommend a quartz, citrine or amethyst as these are very strong durable stones.

Mix Apoxie Sculpt in equal parts. Use the epoxy around the top of the crystal to form the base of where you will place your mushrooms. Place the mushrooms in a little bunch.

At this time if you notice that the mushrooms are not set in the epoxy well enough, you can mix more and strengthen it.

TIP: Add a few drops of super glue at the base of the mushrooms and use quick the setting spray to instantly dry the glue. Give each mushroom stem a little push to make sure they don't wiggle and are firmly set in the epoxy.

Step 3: Sculpt Additional Details

Add your own artistic touches. I chose to add a small accent stone to the front by pushing it into the epoxy. I like to use left over epoxy to add a little fungus or creative lines. You can add small crystal points as I did or use glass beads to add texture.

Step 4: Add Jump Rings

For this pendant, I used two small jump rings to form the hooks for my chain. Place the rings in the epoxy and mush the epoxy around the ring to secure it. I like to add a few drops of super glue even before the epoxy has dried and then spray it with the accelerator spray. It will harden instantly, you want to make sure that they are very secure and do not shift or move at all.

Step 5: Add Texture

Add any additional details before painting the pendant with conductive paint. I used a needle tool to create small impressions to mimic moss or dirt. A toothbrush or toothpick would also do the trick.

Let the pendant dry for at least 24 hours and it will become rock solid.

Step 6: Conductive Paint + Seal Stone

You can purchase premade conductive paint, but it is very cost effective to create your own.

Mix as much graphite powder as you can with a black acrylic paint. If it is too clumpy add more paint. You want to get as much graphite powder as you can mixed into the paint without it becoming dry or clumpy.

Seal any soft stones (below a 7 on the Moh's Hardness Scale) with clear nail polish to protect them from the electroforming acid.

Quartz is a very strong stone and will not need to be protected. I am painting the labradorite cabochon for this tutorial.

Paint all of the areas you wish to be copper plated with the conductive paint.

Step 7: Copper Plate the Pendant

Refer to the video I've created above to see a step-by-step tutorial on how to set up your electroforming bath.

Wrap 12g around a cylindrical object about 4 times and then place that inside the beaker with about an inch hanging over the edge.

Fill the beaker with the electroforming solution.

Cut a piece of 12g wire that will lay on top of the beaker.

Cut a piece of 24g wire long enough so that it fits inside the solution but does not touch the bottom. Wrap it around the 12g wire that lays on top of the beaker and then fold a small hook at the bottom.

Attach the black negative cable from the rectifier to the 12g wire that lays on top and the red wire will attach to the end piece of 12g wire that is hanging over the beaker.

Place the pendant on the hook and submerge it into the solution.

Turn on the rectifier and leave the pendant in the solution for the time you've calculated based on the instructions in the video.

The rectifier will need .1 amp per sq. inch being plated and can take about 6 to 24 hrs to plate depending on the size of the item. This pendant took about 16 hours to plate.

Check on your pendant every hour or so to make it is plating correctly. If it is plating too slowly or the copper is salmon color, turn up the amps. If it is orange or looks burned, turn the amps down.
Once it is completely plated, take the pendant out of the solution and rinse it off.

Step 8: Finishing Touches

If the copper is not shiny out of the bath, use a dremel with a steel wire wheel or brass brush and it will shine right up!

Now, you can leave the natural color of the copper or you can paint the copper with liver of sulpher. This will oxidize the copper and change the color to a reddish tone or black depending on how long you leave it. Mix the l.o.s. with warm water in a small dish and paint the copper or dip it. It will turn colors immediately, you can neutralize this by dipping it quickly in baking soda mixed with water or wait for it to turn black. You can play around to find what you like the best. I didn't use much l.o.s. for this piece. I quickly dipped it and then rinsed it off with water.

Use nail polish remover to remove the protective nail polish coat from the small stone.

The last step is optional, you can coat the copper with a protective metal sealant called Protectaclear. It will coat the metal and it will help ward off oxidation. If you notice in the future that your copper is dull you can scrub it will a brash brush or use a jeweler's cloth to rub off the tarnish.

Have fun electroforming!

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    21 Comments

    0
    Design•Time
    Design•Time

    22 days ago

    Really nice job! Congratulations!

    0
    a1713260
    a1713260

    23 days ago

    • Wow, it looks very beautiful!
    3
    JamesA41
    JamesA41

    24 days ago

    Great detail! Inspired me to think about making exotic antenna and electronics parts using the copper, or even like a copper silver, electroplating method. Even 3D printing, sealing and coating for items. Thanks for sharing!

    0
    Vintage Sugar Skull
    Vintage Sugar Skull

    Reply 23 days ago

    Thank you for letting me know about the links!! I added the rectifier that I used. And that sounds awesome, you should post photos if you do.

    0
    JamesA41
    JamesA41

    Reply 23 days ago

    Your welcome, thanks for detailing so well and easy to follow. Wound up looking at the rectifier photo closer and saw the make and model on the face. Then read into some more and reads like that Tekpower linear PS are a good build. I'm currently working on some other projects at the moment, a webcam spectrometer, garden tractor & implements and some welders repair and customizing. I have an old Harrison 6201A PS that I think is suitable for using when I get around to. I'll definitely post some photos if and when. Have you ever done any work with silver or gold or other metals? Wondering what the specs are like with those?

    1
    Tushar nayeem
    Tushar nayeem

    26 days ago

    Learned a new thing!
    Conductive paints seems awesome
    Great work!

    0
    Vintage Sugar Skull
    Vintage Sugar Skull

    Reply 24 days ago

    It is some pretty neat stuff and so easy to make.

    1
    andrea biffi
    andrea biffi

    25 days ago

    It's really beautiful!

    1
    TD56
    TD56

    24 days ago on Step 8

    Brilliant project, I’ve often wondered how it’s done. Thank you for all the info photos and video. Take care. TD

    0
    cirena
    cirena

    27 days ago

    A magic pendant :)

    0
    sokamon
    sokamon

    4 weeks ago

    Very pretty!

    0
    jessyratfink
    jessyratfink

    4 weeks ago

    Wow that's gorgeous!

    1
    craftisan
    craftisan

    4 weeks ago

    It looks beautiful!