Friday, November 22, 2013

How To Gild

Gilding has such an ancient history that I have discussed previously on the blog but I find it so interesting how this process dates back as early as 2300 BCE with the Egyptians using gold leaf on wood and metal. The process is rather simple but makes such a difference to a piece when added. 

"How To" Instructions to Gild Your Own Piece

Materials Needed: 
-Amy Howard At Home Bole
-Amy Howard At Home Size
-Amy Howard gold or silver leaf
-Amy Howard At Home Light Wax
-Amy Howard At Home Dark Wax
-T-shirt rags
-China bristle brushes 2"
-Artist brushes for striping
-Small sheets of sand paper
-Very fine steel wool
-Painters tape (optional)

1.  Your piece needs to be cleaned with a degreaser if you are going to gild the entire piece of furniture or accessory.

2.  You can tape off the area that you are gilding with tape to have a clean edge. Use the wood handle end of your brush or finger nail to burnish the tape to make sure that the bole or size does not seep through and give you drips.
3.  If you have already used the One Step or Toscana Paint finish on your piece, you can choose the detail area that you are going to gild. Gold leaf is best used as accents and adding detail to a piece. You can use gold leaf on glass, metal and wood.
4.  Using a striping accent artist brush to apply a nice even coat of Bole. Apply the paint much like you would painting of your nails. Long clean strokes. Do not go back in and start to reapply the paint over and over the same area. It will give you a streaky finish under your gold leaf.
5.  The better your prep your surface, the prettier and brighter your gilded finish will be.
6.  1-2 coats of Bole on the area you are gilding. Allow to dry 30 minutes. If you used tape to get a nice clean edge, leave it on through this entire process.
7.  Then apply the Size in the same way you applied the Bole. It is white, and you will be able to see where you are getting it. Long clean strokes again. If you miss an area with the size, the leaf will not adhere to that area. Make sure you don’t load up too much but, that it is nice and even. 
8.  Allow to dry 10 minutes as you will be at tack. This is the time that you can apply the gold leaf.
9.  You will cut the leaf just a little larger than the area that you are gilding. Open the book as the leaf will be in between sheets of tissue.
10.  You will lay the gold down and with the tissue on top of it burnish it with your fingers and make sure that it is laid into the size adhesive.
11.  When you take the gold leaf away and see cracks and areas that the gold did not go, just lay an additional piece of leaf down with the tissue all together. Until the entire surface is covered with leaf. It is good to layer the leaf in one direction and once the entire area is covered you can take a brush and lightly brush the leaf in same direction as you laid it on your surface. The leaf will start to fall away, and you will start to be able to see how fabulous your gilded finish it.
12.  When you have dry-brushed the loose leaf. Take a clean rag and buff the leaf and make sure it is has a shiny patina.
13.  Now is when you can take off the tape. Be sure and pull the tape away in a downward motion.
14.  If you want to come back and antique the gilded finish, you can take very fine steel wool and bring some of the color of the Bole back through on the raised areas and edges. Follow with light and dark wax over the entire area or piece. I do like adding a little more darker wax over the leaf and allow it to dry 30 minutes.
15. Then add the Dust of Ages to your details and buff like you would a shoe. Using rag buff and bring out the highlights and sheen of your beautifully gilded piece. 

 Examples of Gilding from my Studio and Home:

Be sure to contact one of our Retailers in your area about when they are having Workshops!

All gilding supplies are available to purchase here!

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