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Step-by-step gilding tutorials tips and

Antiquing glaze creates the soft glow of slightly tarnished silver.

Learn now!


Gilding Books!

Gilding: The Glory of Gold

The Glory of Gold

Turn almost any object into a gold-plated work of art. Colorful and simple instructions make it easy. Start with the surfaces that are easiest for gilding--wood, then plastic, then stainless steel, glass, and ceramic. Along with projects come practical tips and imaginative suggestions for both small- and large-scale techniques, so you can either add light detailing or go for a total transformation.

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The Gilded Planet partners with artSparx.com
to bring you precise step-by-step gilding tutorials and gilding information.

These simple GildedPlanet
guidelines will help you produce a professionally finished, large surface area, gilded project.

Gilding Ceilings and large area surfaces - walls and panels.

Basic Preparation
Applying the adhesive Sizing
Applying the Leaf
Touching Up Surface
Sealing your gilt surface
Antiquing Methods
About Materials
Exterior Gilding Basics

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.

Basic Preparation

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.

Applying the Adhesive Sizing

Using a water based size, such as 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.
Apply the adhesive size with a short nap roller. While it is still wet, use a high quality brush and soften and smooth the size evenly over the surface. With water-based size, allow to come to 'tack' in approximately 1/2 hour. 'Tack' time for oil based sizing varies depending on the type of size used and environmental conditions, such as temperature and humidity. For more information on oil-based sizes visit the Oil Size Center.

Applying the Leaf

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.

About Ribbon Leaf

Ribbon Gold Leaf is manufactured by placing 4 1/8" square leaves onto a continuous length of waxed paper with a 2mm overlap. The rolled paper and the cardboard core are equal in width and the gold leaf is placed inside the edge of the paper.  Ribbon Leaf can be trimmed to any size required. When trimmed, the gold leaf and paper are cut to produce a clean edge of gold and paper of the exact width.

Genuine Gold Leaf Rolls Silver Leaf Rolls Palladium Leaf Rolls
Imitation Gold Leaf Rolls Aluminum Leaf Rolls Copper Leaf Rolls


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.

Touching Up Holidays

'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.

Sealing and Finishing Off

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.

About Materials

Adhesive Sizing - Gilded Planet Size and Adhesive Center
Water Based - Wunda Size or Aqua Size
Oil Based - Rolco or LeFranc 3hr and 12 hr size

Genuine and Metal Leaf on the Roll Ribbon Leaf
Genuine Gold Leaf Rolls, Silver Leaf Rolls, Palladium Leaf Rolls, Imitation Gold Leaf Rolls, Aluminum Leaf Rolls, Copper Leaf Rolls

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.

Transform everyday objects into heirlooms.
The process known as Gilding simply means the application of
gold or silver leaf to a surface that has been properly prepared with
an adhesive known as 'gold size'. 


Silver leafing techniques

Gold leafing techniques

Silver Leafing

& Aluminum Leafing

Silver leafing can add charm
and personality to even the most
ordinary objects.

Gold Leafing
Composition & Imitation Gold Leafing

Gold Leafing might be just the right
accent you're looking for! These straight forward step-by-step methods helps
get the job done right.

Aluminum Leaf

Dutch Gold or
composition leaf

Aluminum Leaf imitates the illusion of genuine Silver, at a fraction of the cost. Each individual sheet is bigger and easier to handle then its genuine counter part.

Purchase Aluminum Leaf
Purchase 23 kt. Leaf

The same applies for 'Dutch Gold', or 'Composition Leaf'. But due to the large brass content, this imitation gold must have a sealer applied to prevent tarnishing, unlike genuine gold leaf.

Purchase Composition Leaf
Purchase 23 kt. Leaf

Interior Style design features

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