Homemade silver Christmas decorations

How to make a silvery decoration with a glass bottle

Here you can find a “sil­ver” ex­per­i­ment!

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

  • Warn­ing! Ob­serve safe­ty rules when work­ing with these sub­stances.
  • Wear pro­tec­tive gloves, glass­es and a mask.

Reagents and equip­ment

  • Tol­lens' reagent;
  • glu­cose so­lu­tion;
  • glass bot­tle.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Pour Tol­lens' reagent and glu­cose so­lu­tion into a glass bot­tle. Mix the so­lu­tion thor­ough­ly and shake pe­ri­od­i­cal­ly un­til the bot­tle starts to be­come cov­ered with a thin lay­er of sil­ver. Pour the so­lu­tion out and rinse the bot­tle with wa­ter. You get the orig­i­nal sil­ver bot­tle!

Pro­cess­ de­scrip­tion

Glu­cose is an or­gan­ic com­pound that, due to its struc­tural fea­tures, can be used as a re­duc­ing agent, as it is in the "sil­ver mir­ror" re­ac­tion. If you mix Tol­lens’ reagent (or am­mo­nia sil­ver ox­ide so­lu­tion) with a glu­cose so­lu­tion in any ves­sel, then the ves­sel walls will soon be cov­ered with a thin lay­er of metal­lic sil­ver, form­ing a mir­ror.

2[Ag(NH₃)₂]OH + 3H₂O + C₆H₁₂O₆ → 2Ag↓+ 4NH₃∙H₂O + C₆H₁₂O₇

A sim­i­lar method is still used by some small work­shops to make Christ­mas or­na­ments.

You can find many more in­ter­est­ing ex­per­i­ments in the MEL Chem­istry sub­scrip­tion!