What do you attach gold leaf with?

Answered by Robert Dupre

When it comes to attaching gold leaf, there are a few different methods you can use. The most common and effective way is to use a special adhesive called gilding size or gilding adhesive. This adhesive is specifically designed for attaching gold leaf and other metal leaf to various surfaces.

To use gilding size, you will need a small brush or a soft, lint-free cloth. Begin by applying a thin layer of the adhesive onto the surface where you want to attach the gold leaf. Make sure to cover the entire area evenly, but avoid applying too much adhesive as it can cause the leaf to wrinkle or become uneven.

Once the adhesive is applied, wait for it to become tacky. This usually takes around 15-20 minutes, but it’s important to follow the instructions provided with the specific adhesive you are using. The tackiness ensures that the gold leaf will adhere properly to the surface.

Next, carefully lift a sheet of gold leaf using a pair of tweezers or a gilding knife. Gently place the leaf onto the tacky adhesive, making sure it covers the desired area. It’s important to handle the gold leaf with care, as it is extremely delicate and can tear easily.

To smooth the gold leaf in place, you can use a soft brush or a piece of wax paper. Simply place the wax paper over the gold leaf and gently rub it to smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles. The pressure from rubbing will help the gold leaf adhere to the adhesive.

Alternatively, you can create a static charge to lift and stick the gold leaf onto the surface. To do this, place a sheet of wax paper on top of the gold leaf and rub it gently. The friction between the wax paper and the gold leaf will create a static charge, allowing you to lift the leaf and stick it onto the adhesive.

If you’re working on a larger surface, you may need to repeat these steps multiple times until the entire area is covered with gold leaf. Make sure to overlap the edges slightly to ensure a seamless finish.

Once the gold leaf is in place, you can gently brush off any excess leaf using a soft brush. Be careful not to disturb the leaf that is already attached.

It’s worth noting that gold leaf can also be attached using other methods, such as water gilding or oil gilding, which involve different types of adhesives or techniques. These methods are more complex and require specialized knowledge and materials.

When attaching gold leaf, the most common method is to use gilding size or adhesive. By following the steps outlined above and using the appropriate tools, you can successfully attach gold leaf to various surfaces, adding a touch of elegance and luxury to your artwork or decorative projects.