We were asked to complete a gilding leaf sample of gold for a client (24K gold and moon gold)
Samples require a basecoat in oil–2 coats of satin impervo in a light straw yellow tone for the 22K gold, I would use a different color for the moon gold. Use wet sand paper #400 and #600 grit to “polish” the surface.
Apply the water based size cut down 10% with denatured alcohol to make it very sheer.
Mixing the size with red oxide MFA (matte fluid acrylic) along with Rolco water size and some denatured alcohol to make the size thinner.
Once the size is applied, the rolco water size reaches tack within 10 minutes and will remain open for gilding up to 24 hours. Oil and water size all vary in open times from quick to long, for the samples, I used a water based quick size. For the gold, I tinted the size with a little bit of red oxide dispersion to help me see the size and give the gold a warmer glow.
Shown are my tools for the gilding process including a gilding knife, gilding mop, and a chiqueteur.
This is a 3.25″ x 3.25″ book of gold leaf, you will find slightly different 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 leaf easily from the book.
With an easy, relaxed hand, begin to lay the leaf from the bottom first and gently rolling upward onto the surface. The sticky size act as the glue to keep the leaf in place.
Repeat the process and be sure to overlap each leaf by one eighth of an inch or less. You can not leave any section of the size uncovered by the gold.
You can apply the section of leaves in quarter or halves or even less in order to fill in gaps or section of size that would be too small for a full leaf. For that, I use a gilding tip and a small mop as shown below. I’ll cut a section of the leaf directly in the book with a gilding knife and pick up the section with the gilding tip. The gilding tip is brushed over my nose a couple of times in order to add some oil onto the bristle that will pick up the cut piece of gold. You can use vaseline rubbed on the back of your hand if you have dry skin.
You can see here how I am holding the gilding tip with my knife and mop in hand. I pick up leaf from the book with my gilding tip and place on the surface, using the mop when needing to tap down areas that have not stuck.
I use my gilding knife to cut the pieces accordingly to fit the entire page. Since the leaf is such a delicate material, the gilding knife will easily cut into the sheets for completing a gilding leaf sample.
After the leaf is all applied, the next process is skewering the surface with a gilders mop or chiqueteur. In this process, gently brush out the overlaps, making sure to never brush against the overlap (like water on a roof tile) to avoid creating cracks and gaps. The flakes will 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.
You can work any touchups on the gilding sample with extra leaf and/or spot prime tough areas with quick dry size.
Below is a video of the same gilding sample. But the post shows a more detailed step by step so it is ideal to check out both.