GILDING TIPS & TRICKS
despite doing everything right, gilding just doesn't come
out as nice as you expected it to. It happens to all of
us and it happened to medieval scribes as well. Be prepared
for "bad gesso days".
your gold leafing before you paint and preferably after
the calligraphy is done.
do a test piece before applying gesso to a full piece. The
same batch of gesso will work differently under different
weather conditions. Some days the gesso will work better
if you add a bit more honey or slaked plaster.
size by laying down a small puddle in the middle of the
area you wish to gild and pull it into corners and around
edges. A smooth, even application of gesso will save a lot
of work sanding and burnishing.
a piece of scrap paper down beside the areas you are sanding.
The sandpaper will raise the nap of anything it rubs across.
It's much better to ruin a piece of scrap paper than the
scroll you are working on. If you do happen to get gesso
dust into the fibers of the paper, an eraser usually removes
it without any problems.
pieces of gold slightly larger than the area you wish to
gild. This may seem like a waste, but it's not. You will
waste far more gold trying to match tiny bits together to
fill in missed areas than you would if you had just used
a little more in the first place.
repairs can be made with tiny bits of gold. It may be a
bit tricky to use tweezers. A paintbrush rubbed through
your hair will produce enough static electricity to attract
and hold a small piece of gold long enough for you to place
all of the gold scraps you brush off of your work. You can
make your own shell gold with them. Mix the gold flakes
with some table salt and honey. Grind well with a mortar
and pestle. The gold mixture will look a bit like mustard.
Add a good bit of distilled water and pour into a clear
jar or test tube. When all of the gold has settled, remove
most of the water with a dropper. Add more clean water,
shake and repeat. Do this several times then taste the water.
If it is not salty or sweet, you are done making the gold
into pigment. Draw off most of the water and pour the gold
sludge into a shell. Mix it with a few drops of gum Arabic
and let it dry. Store it until you want to use it.