Gilding is an advanced decorative Skill.

How is gold leaf produced.

Gold normally 24 ct is melted and the liquid in poured into moulds to produce small blocks of gold. The blocks are then pounded or pressed out by rollers to a thickness of 0.001″ .025mm and then cut into squares approximately 3.4″ – 80mm  leaves, which are sandwiched between layers of parchment paper which are then sold in a book of 25 leaves.

Surface preparation.

All surfaces to be gilded should be thoroughly prepared and free from all loosed defective material oil and grease. and sanded down to provide a key .

Any bare timber or metal should be suitable primed and surface imperfections made good with the appropriate material, before proceeding to the next stage.

An even base/ground coat should be applied and to  the surface and left to dry. The basecoat colour selection is important as a red shade will reflect an enrich the gold colour where as a grey or blue tone will reflect a cool tone.

An adhesion coat used to receive the gold leaf is traditionally known as Gold Size  and can be either oil or water based although the latter is only suitable for interior use. The  Gold Size should be left to dry  for  10-20 minutes as it reaches the tack stage but this may vary depending on the surface and ambient temperature, therefore, should be checked at regular intervals.  Once the tack stage has been reached the gold leaf should be applied with a gilders tip ( see gilders toolbox). when applying further leaves overlap the adjacent ones by approximately 2mm to ensure there are no gaps between the each applied leaf. Do not remove any surplus material until the Gold size has completely dried, normally 1-2 hours depending on temperature. For ornate mouldings apply the Gold leaf with a soft mop brush using a tapping/stencilling action.

When fully dried brush any surplus material with the soft mop brush saving all the loose material for filling any small voids.

See. Gilder’s Toolbox under Tools and Equipment.

For full information on Tools and Equipment contact: A S Handover Ltd at:


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