Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Electroforming Copper on Polymer Clay

A couple of months ago I visited my sister in Pennsylvania and told her that I, like almost everyone in the jewelry world, was thinking of incorporating copper into my work. She said, "Well, if you are going to do copper, you should try electroforming." She is a fabulous lampwork artist and has made many electroformed glass beads, so we did a quick test to see if it would work with polymer clay. It did, so I started accumulating the items necessary to do it myself. Finally everything came together this week. This picture will show you why I felt like a mad scientist as I put the rig together.

I have an idea for some pendants using image transfers and some copper accents, but I was worried that the copper solution might harm the transfers or stain the light-colored clay. As a quick test, I took a piece of pearl clay with an image transfer, put a little of the electroconductive paint on it, then electroformed it for about 4 hours. The image transfer and clay seem to be fine, although I want to do another test, but I must not have had the paint thick enough because only parts of it received any deposits of copper. Clearly this technique will take some practice, so stay tuned.

You can check out my sister's beads at her Laurel Mountain Glass Artfire shop  or in her Ebay store.  She doesn't have any electroformed work for sale at the moment, but you can see some other artist's work here.


  1. Your work is always beautiful. I can't wait to see what you do with the electroforming.

    Oh, and thank you!

  2. Hello, I popped over from the yahoo group...I'm really curious about this. I love that you are taking on the experiment, but having a hard time imaging what the end result will be, so I'll be checking back.


  3. I'm really excited by this experiment. I wrote you a personal e-mail with a suggestion/request. Suzanne