Electroplating 101 - How to Plate 18 Karat Gold


There's nothing more classic than gold. The look of a gold piece has been very popular since it's discovery and it has changed world society with it's allure. We don't have to work that hard for it anymore, because electroplating is so simple and accessible for everyone. Curious about how to set up a plating station? Check out this post that will guide you through the process and tell you what you need.

You might be wondering what the difference is between this gold finish and the finished discussed in our other blogs. This is an 18 Karat gold plating solution that will leave a more durable finish than 14Kt at a slightly higher cost due to its higher pure gold content.

18Kt Gold Plating Setup

Bath for Plating

It's time to set up the precious metal bath for plating! Pour 1 liter of TWL 3N-18Kt gold plating solution into a 1 liter glass beaker and drop the magnetic pellet for stirring inside. Put the beaker on the magnetic mixer hotplate and heat to 100°F, letting it mix on a medium-slow setting for 15 mins. Install a candy cane-esque stainless steel bent anode so that the long end is in the beaker. Connect the positive lead of the rectifier to the anode and set the rectifier voltage to 4-8 (recommended 5 volts) and the plating time to 30-45 seconds. Now you're ready to plate!

Settings for 18Kt Gold Plating


Now, if you're plating a brand new item you can skip to step 5, but if you're plating an older piece or performing a repair you should complete all 13 steps. Note: when we say to used distilled water it is because distilled water is containment free and will ensure spot free drying.

  1. Polish the item. Be sure to remove the polish from the item as soon as possible after application. If you have an ultrasonic cleaner we recommend using it with a jewelry solution to make sure the polish does not harden on the ring. This will help the plating solution stick stronger for it eliminates all contaminates.
  2. Cut a 4" piece of copper wire. Make a loop to hold the item and connect it to the negative wire lead from the rectifier.
  3. Rinse in distilled water.
  4. Electro-clean for 1 minute at 125°F, 5 volts.
  5. Rinse in distilled water. Visually inspect for polish oil. Electro-clean again if necessary.
  6. Place in acid activation beaker for 10 seconds.
  7. Rinse in distilled water.
  8. Electroplate in 3N-18Kt Gold for 40 seconds at 110°, 5 volts.
  9. Rinse in distilled water.
  10. Return to electro-cleaner for 10 second treatment to stabilize the 3N-18Kt gold plating layer.
  11. Rinse in distilled water. Pro tip: hot distilled water dries faster.
  12. Dry item with a small hair dryer or soft tissue without lotion.
  13. Dispose of all chemicals properly! Check your local laws and regulations.

Pro tip: you can reuse your electroplating and acid activation solutions but you should replace them weekly. All distilled water rinses should be replaced daily.

If you want a video to reference check this out!

Got any questions? Let us know below 🙂


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