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Finishing Technique: Gilding

Gilding leaf is available in silver, gold, and other metals. Here we used gold, pink-silver, and silver leaf to imitate the subtle shine of lusterware. Wear gloves and handle the leaf carefully so as not to tear the delicate paper. Make sure ornaments are dry; moisture can cause the leaf to tarnish.

Tools and Materials

  • Gloves
  • Gilding leaf
  • Dry ornaments
  • Thin paintbrush
  • Size (an adhesive available at art-supply stores)
  • Clean, dry paintbrush
  • Paper backing
  • Ribbon loop

Finishing Technique: Gilding How-To

1. To decorate the relief, use a thin paintbrush to apply size (an adhesive available at art-supply stores) to the relief. To create the overall sheen of silver lusterware, apply size to the flat body of the ornament, leaving the relief untouched. Let size set until it becomes tacky, about 20 minutes.

2. Wearing gloves, gently pick up a piece of gilding leaf and lightly place it on the area where you applied the size. Use a clean, dry paintbrush to brush the leaf into the details or on the flat surface. Lightly buff the remaining leaf off and carefully smooth the gilded area with a gloved finger. Apply a paper backing and ribbon loop and edging, as described for the jasperware ornaments.