careful with this stuff — it is corrosive and highly
toxic. Set aside.
5. Pour 350ml of water into the beaker. Slowly and
carefully add 35ml of sulfuric acid to the beaker
(Figure F, previous page). Stir with the glass
6. Thoroughly clean the brass and copper strips
with dishwashing detergent and water. Rinse well
and dry thoroughly. Use the wax candle to draw
a design on the brass strip (Figures G and H). You
can also try stenciling a design in wax.
7. Immerse the brass strip in the beaker of diluted
sulfuric acid (Figure I). Remove it after 2 minutes.
The acid prepares the metal for plating by removing
oxides and other impurities. Electroplating professionals refer to this operation as “pickling.”
8. Insert the wire hooks into the holes in the wood
block and bend the wire so it lays flat on the block,
taping the wire to the block if necessary. Then
hang the brass and copper strips from the hooks
(Figure J). The side of the brass strip with the wax
design must face the copper strip.
9. Pour the copper sulfate solution into the glass
baking pan. Don’t overfill. Then place the wood
block across the glass pan. Make certain the copper
and brass strips are fully immersed in the copper
sulfate solution (Figure K).
10. Use the alligator clip leads to connect the copper plate to the positive battery terminal and the
brass plate to the negative battery terminal. You’re
electroplating! Let the electricity flow for approximately 2 minutes (Figure L).
11. Remove and rinse with lots of water, then rub
with a soft cloth to polish off any wax traces. Your
electroplated sign is complete (Figure M).
12. To dispose of the solutions, don’t pour them
directly down a storm sewer. Run cold water in your
sink or bathtub and pour the solutions in, flushing
them down with plenty of running water. Clean all
the glassware with running water.
William Gurstelle is a contributing editor of MAKE.
172 Make: Volume