Provided herein are methods of processing electrode active material structures for use in electrochemical cells or, more specifically, methods of forming surface layers on these structures. The structures are combined with a liquid to form a mixture. The mixture includes a surface reagent that chemically reacts and forms a surface layer covalently bound to the structures. The surface reagent may be a part of the initial liquid or added to the mixture after the liquid is combined with the structures. In some embodiments, the mixture may be processed to form a powder containing the structures with the surface layer thereon. Alternatively, the mixture may be deposited onto a current collecting substrate and dried to form an electrode layer. Furthermore, the liquid may be an electrolyte containing the surface reagent and a salt. The liquid soaks the previously arranged electrodes in order to contact the structures with the surface reagent.