Gilding with gold leaf is an ancient craft ranging from the icons of Russia to medieval statues and frames. It is a fascinating hobby for the amateur crafter and can achieve spectacular results . In this guide I am attempting to give some hints and tips as to how it is done. 1/ clean subject to be gilded Wood sand lightly, seal with shellac if necessary .You can apply 2 or 3 coats of gesso- plaster of paris mixed with glue,sanding in between coats. Glass or vinyl Wash and dry and wipe with methyated spirits to get rid of the grease . Plaster seal with 2 coats of shellac after thoroughly cleaning. Previously painted objects wash and light sanding should suffice, if the object is badly chipped it should be completely stripped and sealed. Base coat Apply 2 coats of either bole (from an art shop ) or acrylic matt paint - much cheaper-, in a burnt orange or red colour. When the paint is dry apply size - a good pva glue mixed with water to a milky consistency - this is an inexpensive alternative to shop prepared stuff. When the size is tacky it is ready, press your knuckle against the surface and if it clicks when you withdraw it's ready to begin. Do not press with your finger or the print will show through the finished object. These instructions are geared to inexperienced gilders. When you become more proficient you will probably want to buy tools and ready mixed size and bole, but for the moment this is how I started.Buy a very soft brisled brush , The Works stationary shop sell these in a pack of 3 for about £2.99 .or you can buy an expensive badgers hair gilders brush from an art shop. Rub the brush on your cheek to pick up a tiny bit of grease and lightly pick up the gold leaf on the brush, if you pick up the gold leaf with your fingers it will probably break . Place the leaf on the object and press lightly with the brush,overlapping slightly.repeat until the object is covered.Tamp down with the brush and leave until the glue is dry. If there are any breaks simply cover them with more gold leaf.
Gilding with gold leaf.
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20 July 2007
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