Tools and Materials
- Unpainted wooden chargers (large plates)
- Fine sandpaper
- Clay bole
- Linen scrap
- Soft bristle brushes
- Aquasize water-based sizing (glue for gilding)
- Foam brush
- Gold and/or silver leaf ("patent" or mounted on tissue paper)
- Stiff bristle brush
- Brown shoe polish (optional)
- Steel wool (optional)
- Wooden napkin rings (optional)
Gilded Leaf Charger Plate How-To
- Apply gesso to plate surface to prime and smooth any imperfections; sand.
- Apply clay bole to surface with a soft bristle brush. (This will create a neutral color base, which will make the gold or silver leaf more brilliant.) Let dry. Burnish clay surface with a small scrap of linen.
- Apply water-based sizing with a foam brush; let dry until clear. (Sizing will "stay open," or remain sticky, for about 24 hours.)
- Starting in the center, apply gold or silver leaf to sized surface. Remove paper backing and repeat with more leaf, overlapping the edges by about 1/8 inch. Continue until charger is covered. Let dry 24 hours. (Tip: Use talc or baby powder to keep leaf from sticking to fingers.)
- Apply brown shoe polish with steel wool to age piece (optional).
Note: The same techniques can be used on any wooden object; we used gold leaf to create coordinating napkin rings.
Resources: Wooden plates available from Hofcraft. Leaf and leafing supplies from Gilded Planet and New York Central Art Supply. (Note: Leaf books are also available in palladium, aluminum, copper, and various colors.) Furniture tonics and information on furniture restoration at christophepourny.com.