I've gotten a few questions about my process of sealing finished copper electroformed jewelry so I thought it was time to tackle this. This post is for beginning electroformers who are just getting started in this medium.
The first thing I do as soon as a piece is finished electroforming is I take it out (holding it by the bus bar so I'm not touching the solution) and I dunk it into a glass of regular tap water I keep on my desk. I often have baking soda mixed with this water to help neutralize the solution.
I know a lot of people use distilled water to rinse their pieces, however, I've used both methods and have not seen a difference in using one over the other. *Please be sure to test out using both of these methods for yourself as your water could be much different than mine. The reason people use distilled water (which, by the way, is a great practice for this medium in general) is because it's a pure form of water and doesn't contain impurities that could oxidize your copper faster.
After the water/baking soda bath I'll take a paper towel and dry this piece thoroughly. I let it sit for a few minutes to allow any excess moister to dry up before I patina or seal it. Once dry I will go ahead and seal with ProtectaClear.
ProtectaClear is a great product (the best product I've come across) for sealing copper. This helps to keep your copper jewelry shiny for longer and prevent it from discoloring your finger. Obviously there are no miracle products to keeping your copper sealed forever but this is the next best thing.
I tested how long it lasts by wearing a ring (with 3 coats) non-stop. I wore it in showers, while applying lotions, washing my hands, cleaning, etc., and the sealant didn't start wearing away until 2 weeks later. Obviously if you don't wear it while showering or washing your hands, that alone could easily extend the life of the sealant for much longer.
I like to use a pair of round nose pliers to hold my piece (you don't want to touch this stuff (you can alternatively wear thick rubber gloves) and I use a paintbrush to paint on the ProtectaClear with my other hand.
I will let this first coat dry for about 30 minutes as stated on the instructions and then I'll go ahead and do another coat. I apply 3 coats for rings and 2 coats for pendants and bracelets (I don't make many earrings but I would do 2 coats for those as well).
Then I let the piece cure overnight or 8-12 hours before it's ready to be worn. If you're using a different sealant then the process will be different. This is just how I do it when using ProtectaClear.
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I hope that helps clear up some of your questions and if there's anything you'd like me to delve deeper on then just leave me a comment below!