Gold plating isn’t just for evil dictators’ AK-47s — for the DIYer who has some small parts to plate, Caswell Inc. offers a full line of plating supplies, including the Plug N’ Plate brush electroplating kit which starts at $34. You can plate with chrome, copper, nickel, brass, tin, bronze, silver, and gold. The radio in the picture above was plated with 24k gold.
The kit includes a bottle of solution, a DC power supply (a wall wart), and a plating wand, which is wrapped in gauze to absorb the solution. To plate a part, attach the black lead to the base metal and the red lead to the wand. Soak the wand in the plating solution, then brush it across the part to be plated. When the brush makes contact, the circuit is completed, and the electroplating reaction starts.
I plated some stuff with one of these kits about ten years ago, and it worked pretty well. Just like any other finishing technique, good results depend on properly preparing the base metal.