|GOLD LEAF GILDING TIPS
BASIC STEPS TO GOLD LEAF GILDING
- PREPARE THE SURFACE (repair, sand & clean)
- APPLY BOLE (base coat)
- APPLY THE SIZE (foam brush)
- LAY THE LEAF (transfer, apply & smooth)
- BRUSH THE EXCESS LEAF FROM THE SURFACE (bristle brush)
- DISTRESS, DECORATE, OR OVERPAINT THE LEAF (OPTIONAL)
- SEAL THE SURFACE
any holes, sand the surface thoroughly and remove any
dust. Make sure the surface is perfectly clean and dry.
Brush on two coats of colored matte latex paint or gesso
(deep red, yellow, black, blue). BOLE is available in
dry pigment form, usually red or yellow. When mixed with
a liquid medium such as gesso or gloss medium (either
oil or acrylic base), it is then ready for application.
Allow to dry before moving to step 3.
stir or shake the size before application. Apply the size
as evenly as possible (a foam brush or artist's brush
works well). Wait for the size to become tacky before
applying the leaf. You know the size reaches tack when
it is no longer wet, and your finger hesitates as you
gently rub it over the surface. Work in small areas to
gauge how much you can leaf before it "loses tack".
To transfer the leaf from its book use a gilder's tip.
Before picking up the leaf, rub the gilder's tip back
and forth over the hair on your arm as the natural oil
from your hair combined with any static electricity it
generates helps the tip grab the leaf. Begin applying
the leaf to the tacky surface and pat down as you go with
the tip. You can use the tip or a "bob" to smooth out
the leaf (to make a bob, cut a 10cm square piece of cotton
or silk. Place 1-3 cotton balls into the middle then draw
the ends tight together securing with a rubber band like
a little sack.)
If you desire better coverage, resize the surface, wait
for it to reach tack, then apply another layer of leaf.
You may notice small cracks occur during the leafing
process, exposing the base color. You may leave these
"faults" if this is the desired look you want, or fill
them with skewings (small bits of scrap leaf left over
from applying or brushing the excess leaf in the next
step). Pick up the skewings with a gilder's tip and
lay them on the small faults you wish to cover.
Once you have laid the leaf on the entire object, allow
the leaf (sizing) to dry. Waiting overnight is highly
recommended for a safe, smooth finish. With a bristle
brush (hog hair) gently remove the excess leaf. Always
brush in direction of the overlap to prevent lifting or
tearing. When the excess has been removed, check the surface
for any faults or inconsistencies (separations) in the
leaf and repair them by applying the skewings. * This
will repeat step 3-5.
There are many ways to alter or enhance the gilded surface.
There are many books which that can give details regarding
the multitude of special effects and techniques that can
be achieved. Some may require you to varnish the final
project, depending on the materials you use to faux finish.
Leaf that tarnishes (composition leaf, silver leaf, variegated
leaf or copper leaf) should be sealed. You do not need
to seal genuine gold leaf as it will not tarnish, unless
you want extra protection for the gold surface. Varnish
is the best top-coat. Shellac may be used but may alter
the color of the leaf and spray varnishes are only good
on projects that are rarely handled and only need a light