How to apply gold, silver, copper and metal leaf to objects.          

How to apply leaf to objects

Applying gold, silver or metal leaf to objects can quickly transform ordinary items into works of art.

There are a few different methods for applying leaf, each providing a variety of final looks, depending on what your finished goal will be. Here we outline the 'Oil gilding' method, using an oil size adhesive. Additionally, the 'water based gilding' method provides an alternative approach. Choosing the right method for you depends on your object, your skill level and the final look of the object being gilt.


What is 'size'?

What type of glue should you use for your project?

Size refers to the adhesive material used to adhere gold, silver, copper or metal leaf to the surface being gilded. There are different forms of size depending on the gilding method; oil based, water based and 'water gilding'. Gilding with water based adhesives should not be confused with Traditional Water Gilding methods or the Kolner Water Gilding System.


Special Feature - Oil Size Technique

About Oil based adhesive size
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Quick-Dry Oil Size will reach tack in approx. 2 hours and will remain open for gilding for 2 to 3 hours. In very dry and warm environments, it may reach tack in as little as 1 hour and the open time for gilding may be greatly reduced. It produces excellent results with genuine and metal leaf and is recommended for small projects or when time is limited. Allow to cure for 24 hours before sealing. Download complete specification sheet for this product.

Slow-Set Oil Size is recommended for projects that may require a longer open time for gilding than Quick-Dry will allow. It will reach proper gilding tack in 10-12 hours and will remain open for gilding with genuine or metal leaf for an equal amount of time. The open time for gilding with metal leaf is usually less, as it is with other oil sizes. Allow to cure minimum of one week before sealing.


Special Feature - Water Size Technique

Learn this technique now
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Aqua Size and Wunda Size are popular water based sizes and serve as an alternative to oil size for interior projects. Both have an extremely long tack time making it suitable for large scale interior projects or production gilding in manufacturing plants. Aqua Size and Wunda Size are most appropriate when used to gild with metal leaf, but will produce acceptable results with genuine gold. Porous surfaces should be sealed with A primer prior to sizing. Aqua and Wunda Size are for interior use only. Clean up as soon as possible with water or acetone.



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