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Gilded ceilings, walls and large surface areas has never been easier. Genuine Gold, silver and metal leaf like Imitation Gold, Aluminum and Copper are now readily available in rolls, also referred to as Ribbon Leaf, cutting your production time in half and creating superior gilded results. The following tutorial describes the step-by-step techniques involved in gilding a ceiling with Silver Leaf. The same principles apply to using any form of leaf on a roll, whether it is Imitation Gold leaf, Aluminum, Copper or Genuine Gold.
The working surface should be as smooth as possible. 2 coats of high quality primer should be applied, followed by 2 coats finished paint. The base color for the finished paint layer varies depending on your project requirements. A Latex Eggshell finish will provide superior results. To determine a color that is right for your project, visit the Gilded Planet Color learning center.
Using a water based size,
Wunda Size or
Aqua Size, allows for
easy application and
clean-up and extended 'tack'
time, allowing you to apply
your leaf in a less hurried
manner. To learn more about
water-based sizes and their
properties visit the
Water Size Center.
When working on large surface areas it is recommended that you use Ribbon Leaf. This is available in a variety of leaf types (visit the Ribbon Leaf Center for more details) and comes in a continuous roll of individual leaves laid back-to-back, making straight and long runs easily manageable.
Carefully apply a strip of leaf, working with one long strip, from end to end, or in smaller segments, depending on your surface area. It helps to work with 2 people, one holding the paper while the other carefully places the leaf in place.
After applying the leaf to the 'sized' surface, use a soft 'Squirrel mop' gilder's brush and rub over the paper backing to insure all the leaf is attached to the surface. You can gently rub the paper backing with your fingers also - if you are careful and do not allow the paper backing to move or scratch the leaf surface.
Gentle remove the paper from the leaf, using a 'Squirrel mop' gilder's brush. Make sure there are no air bubbles and the leaf is firmly attached to the working surface.
Peel the paper backing off slowly and carefully.
'Burnish' the surface to remove and excess leaf, known as skewings. Use your soft 'Squirrel mop' gilder's brush so you do not scratch and dull the leaf surface.
Touch up 'holidays' (missed spots) with scrap pieces of your leaf on paper. Followed by a light brushing again to remove any excess and loose leaf bits.
Apply water-based varnish, such as "Acrylic Topcoat', using a short nap roller. While this is still wet, soften with a high quality brush. 'Acrylic Topcoat' is a non-reactive, premium water clear sealer for genuine and metal leaf. Made from acrylic copolymers, Acrylic Topcoat provides protection from abrasion, water and ultra violet light.
Soften the varnish using a high quality brush. Brush in a criss-cross pattern to smooth surface evenly.
Gilder's Brushes - Squirrel mop
Sealers and Top Coat - Acrylic Topcoat - (available in High gloss and Semi-gloss). 'Acrylic Topcoat' is a non-reactive, premium water clear sealer for genuine and metal leaf. Made from acrylic copolymers, Acrylic Topcoat provides protection from abrasion, water and ultra violet light.
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