A method is disclosed of measuring the thickness of a thin coating on a substrate comprising dissolving the coating and substrate in a reagent and using the post-dissolution concentration of the coating in the reagent to calculate an effective thickness of the coating. The preferred method includes measuring non-conducting films on flexible and rough substrates, but other kinds of thin films can be measure by matching a reliable film-substrate dissolution technique. One preferred method includes determining the thickness of Boron Carbide films deposited on copper foil. The preferred method uses a standard technique known as inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy (ICPOES) to measure boron concentration in a liquid sample prepared by dissolving boron carbide films and the Copper substrates, preferably using a chemical etch known as ceric ammonium nitrate (CAN). Measured boron concentration values can then be calculated.