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A Gilding Leaf Sample – A How To

GIDP was asked to complete a gilding leaf sample of gold for a client (24K gold and moon gold).  Pierre Finkelstein of Grand Illusion Decorative Painting shows you how he created this finish.

HOW TO CREATE THIS FINISH

Use our step-by-step instruction below

MATERIALS NEEDED:

Here is a list of the tools & supplies you will need to achieve this technique.  Supplies available at fauxbrushes.com are linked below and listed at the bottom of the page.

1

PROPER PREPARATION

STEP 1 – PROPER PREPARATION:  The sample required a basecoat in oil (2 coats of satin impervo in a light straw yellow tone for the 22K gold).  A different color was used as the base for the moon gold.  

2

POLISH THE SURFACE

STEP 2 – POLISH THE SURFACE:  Using wet Sandpaper #400 and #600 grit, Pierre started to “polish” the surface.

3

APPLY SIZE

STEP 3 – APPLY SIZE:  Next, he applied the water-based gilding size cut down 10% with denatured alcohol to make it very sheer.  Application done with a Glazing Brush.

Using a Spalter Brush the thinned down size was stretched.

4

TINT THE SIZE

STEP 4 – TINT THE SIZE:  Next, he mixed the size with the following products to make the size thinner.

  1. Red oxide fast-drying Acrylic Colors 
  2. Rolco water size 
  3. Denatured alcohol
5

APPLY THE TINTED SIZE

STEP 5 – APPLY THE TINTED SIZE:  Once the size was mixed then it was applied.   Generally, Rolco water size reaches tackiness within 10 minutes and will remain open for gilding for up to 24 hours. Oil and water sizes all vary in open times from quick to long.  For samples, Pierre uses a water based quick size. 

6

APPLY THE GOLD LEAF

STEP 6 – APPLY GOLD LEAF:  A3.25″ x 3.25″ book of gold leaf was used, they slightly differ in size depending on the manufacturer and the country of origin. The gold is beaten to be one-thousandth of an inch thick so it dissolves almost on contact. The pink paper is there to prevent the leaves from sticking to one another and allows the removal of leaves easily from the book. 

Pierre repeated the process and was sure to overlap each leaf by one-eighth of an inch or less. One cannot leave any section of the size uncovered by the gold. With an easy, relaxed hand, Pierre laid the leaf from the bottom first and gently rolled upward onto the surface. The sticky size acted as the glue to keep the leaf in place.

One can apply the section of leaves in quarter or halves or even less in order to fill in gaps or sections of size that would be too small for a full leaf. For that, Pierre uses a gilding tip and a small mop as shown above.

Next, Pierre cut a section of the leaf directly in the book using a gilding knife and picked up the section with the Gilding Tip. The gilding tip is brushed over his nose a couple of times in order to add some oil to the bristle.  The oil is used to pick up the cut piece of gold.  Vaseline can be rubbed on the back of your hand if you have dry skin.

Pierre holds the gilding tip with the knife and mop in hand.  

Pierre picked up the leaf from the book with his Gilding Tip and placeed it on the surface.  He then, used the mop when needed to tap down areas that had not stuck.

He used the gilding knife to cut the pieces accordingly to fit the entire page. Since the leaf was such a delicate material, the gilding knife was easily cut into the sheets for completing a gilding leaf sample.

8

SKEWER THE SURFACE

STEP 8 – SKEWER THE SURFACE:  After the leaf was all applied, the next process was skewering the surface with a Gilders Mop or Chiqueteur. To skewer he gently brushed out the overlaps, making sure he never brushed against the overlap (like water on a roof tile).  This helps to avoid creating cracks and gaps.  The flakes then fall off into an opened envelope (the fallen leaf can be used for repair or melted into gold again) and the leaf will be left smooth.

9

TOUCH UP

STEP 9 – TOUCH UP:  Pierre then worked on any touchups with the extra leaf if needed.  He used spot prime on tough areas with a quick drying size.

COMPLETED FINISH

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