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Gilded Ornament Panels – A How To

This custom design was for a small powder room in Manhattan. The gilded ornament was the final element of an entire finished room. All of the red panels and black surrounding casing were painted and glazed with a fine stipple effect. In this post, 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 surface was varnished with oil.  A properly cured surface was ready for the gilding.

2

DESIGN & POUNCE ORNAMENT

STEP 2 – DESIGN & POUNCE ORNAMENT: First, the ornament was drawn on paper.  After that, it was transferred to a vellum paper. After transferring the design to vellum, pounce the pattern with a stylus pricking tool. the pounce pattern was created and ready for the next step.

3

TRANSFER DESIGN

STEP 3 – TRANSFER DESIGN: Carefully, the design was taped to each corner with safe-release tape. Using a pounce block, powder was tapped and rubbed over the entire area. A white powder was used for this project in order to contrast with the red finish.  Any excess white powder was brushed off with a Softener Brush (being extra careful not to lose the design).

The crew was sure to lift the bottom and peek to affirm a complete transfer of the design.

4

APPLY GILDING SIZE

STEP 4 – APPLY GILDING SIZE: The room was dark, so the crew used headlamps to see their work. A general rule when applying size: there isn’t any room for error. Gilding size can’t be wiped off if a mistake is made (gold will stick to any mistakes).

A 12-hour oil-base gilding size was tinted to be opaque so that it would be visible on the surface. The ornaments were hand painted with size using a Mahlstick and a sable-hair Pointed Detail Brush.

The horizontal and vertical lines were striped using a long-handled sable-haired filbert Striping Brush and a Striping Edge.  Striping size is a challenge because of the thick, gooey viscosity.

5

APPLY GOLD LEAF

STEP 5 – APPLY GOLD LEAF: The next day, the size was dry and 22K surface gold was applied.  For the corner ornament, gold in leaf form was used. On the stripes, rolls of leaf were used.

Only 3 sheets were used per ornament. See also: loose leaf gilding.

Gilding Mop brush was used to gently tap the leaf to the surface. In order to preserve the size, careful consideration was taken to not remove excess gold until the application of leaf was everywhere.

6

SKEWER THE GOLD

STEP 6 – SKEWER THE GOLD: Using a Mop Brush, the gold was then skewered with a gentle hand.  If an area was missed with the gold, it was then time to utilize the sticky size and tap on more gold.

7

FINAL TOUCH-UP

STEP 7 – FINAL TOUCH-UP: If areas were entirely missed with the first layer of size, a water-base size was used for minor touch-ups.  All areas received a final skewering to remove all excess gold.  When touching up gilding, it is always a good idea to save the skewered gold for touch-ups and future use. 

COMPLETED FINISH

For GIDP, it was a lot of work as sometimes the gold would stick to the wrong place.  This is always the challenge when removing excess gold.  I’m sure the crew is glad they had headlamps!

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