Gilded ornament panels


This design was custom for small powder room in Manhattan.   This was the final element for the room.  We painted the red panels and black surrounding, glazed all areas, and then varnished in oil, in preparation for the gilding.


A pounce pattern was created on thick paper.


With a pounce block, tap and rub the powder over the entire area.  We used a white powder to contrast with the red.


Lift the bottom first and affirm a complete transfer


Pounced design.  Before painting the size, I gently dusted the design with a round badger softener – otherwise the powder tended to hinder the painting process.


I mixed a tinted, 12-hour oil size (next day it’s ready to gild).  We hand painted the ornaments using a mahlstick and a pointed sable brush.


The room is dark, so we used headlamps to see.  When painting size, there isn’t any room for error – you can’t wipe off sticky size, the gold will stick to your mistakes.


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


The next day, the size was ready.  I used 22K surface gold.  For the ornament, I used leaf.  On the stripes, I used rolls.


I was able to use only 3 sheets per ornament.  Check out previous post on loose leaf gilding.


I used a mop to gently tap the gold, being careful not to remove excess gold until we finished applying all of the gold


Using a mop,  skewer the gold with a gentle hand.  If an area was missed with the gold, this is the time to utilize the sticky size.


I like to save the skewer gold for touch up and future use.   After cleaning off all the gold, we used an acrylic size for final touch ups.






  1. Beautiful work! Love seeing the process, thanks so much for sharing.

  2. philip Waite says

    Hello Sir, nice work Pierre. On the red & black glazed work you said you used a oil varnish before gilding, what sheen leavel was this, & how long did you leave this to dry before you started the gilding work ? If a satin or gloss finish, more so gloss or if the varnish was not hard dry were you not worried the gold leaf would not only sick to the gold size but varnish also ? Lovely work Pierre, yet again . Thanks Philip Waite.

    • Pierre Finkelstein says

      We used semi gloss poly oil,allowed for 24 hours of drying , allowed to cure in 28 hours , no problem sticking at all, where ever there were residue that stuck used a q-tip with paint thinner to remove the outside areas quite easily .

  3. Pierre,
    Do you seal the entire surface when finished?
    Thanks, Rebecca

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