Gilding on Glass

How to gild on glass surfaces. - 'Reverse Gilding on Glass' and 'Verre Eglomise'

Applying gold leaf to glass is a technique that has been employed for centuries by sign makers, lettering specialists, and specialty mirror makers. Glass gilding is also know as 'Reverse Gilding on Glass' and 'Verre Eglomise'.

Glass gilding employs a specific type of adhesive glue know as Gelatin Size. This is dissolved in warm water and floated over the glass surface. While still wet or pooling, the gold is immediately applied. Once dry there is no discolorization when viewing the gold through the glass (and adhesive layer). There are a number of speciatly brushes used specifically for applying gelatin size glue to glass - many of which are described below.

Gold, silver and metal leaf can all be used in gilding on glass. When using Genuine Gold leaf we offer a higher quality gold leaf know as Glass Gold. This term applies to gold leaf which is selected for it's higher quality - having fewer pinholes and irregularities, making it ideally suited for reverse gilding on glass.

Verre Eglomise

Verre Eglomise specifically refers to the technique of applying gold or silver leaf to glass for furniture, objects and specialty mirror makers. Verre Eglomise is an old world technique, with a rich history in the decorative arts. The basic steps are straight forward, as long as you use the correct materials, the right know-how and a bit of patience. These simple GildedPlanet guidelines will help you produce a professionally gilt finished.

Application Technique

First, insure the glass surface is completely clean. Generally Denatured Alcohol works best as a cleaning agent. Be sure to use a lint free cloth.

Size refers to the adhesive used to adhere the leaf to a surface. There are different kinds of size adhesive dependant on the finished look you desire. Generally, we use Gelatin Glue size for Glass Gilding.

Mixing ratios. Platinum white gelatin sheets are the alternate to 00 gelatin capsules. Each sheet is embossed with 80 diamonds. A two diamond section is equal to one 00 gelatin capsule and, when placed in one half pint of warm water, it will make an average strength batch of gelatin glue size.

Apply Gelatin sizing (adhesive) to the glass surface where you would like the gold to adhere. There are a few specialty brushes designed for this application process that will facilitate the gelatin application, see below.

Apply Genuine Gold or Silver leaf - surface or loose leaf (note: Patent Leaf will not work for gilding on glass). You can use 22kt or higher, depending on final look and color tone desired. View our Gold Leaf Color charts for more details on specific gold types and color tones of our different alloy blend.

The leaf must be applied while the surface is still wet with the gelatin size. You will apply a liberal amount of size, flooding the surface, then using a Gilder's Tip Brush, quickly and carefully move an individual sheet of leaf directly onto the wet surface. It will tend to 'jump' to the surface as you bring the leaf close. When working on a verticle surface, the liquid will be flowing downward quickly, so you may need a soft mop brush to 'hold' the leaf in position. When ready to move on to the next leaf, apply more liquid as needed and repeat as before.

Allow Gelatin Sizing to dry fully then remove any excess leaf bits with a soft Squirrel Mop brush.
Back-up the gold with paint or clear varnish. Often Gold Lettering and graphics are painted over to protect and seal the gold as well as increase the reflectivity and luster of the gold, as seen through the front of the glass or mirror. This color can affect the Gold tone slightly. Using a Terracotta Red will warm the Gold, while using a Black can make it appear bolder and colder. Yellow tends to mellow the Gold and add depth. Alternatively, you can skip the paint layer and back-up the letter forms or graphics directly with clear varnish, see step 6. If you choose to use paint, be sure to add a final layer of clear varnish over the painted surface.
Complete the process with a clear coat of Varnish (even if you applied a paint layer, as in previous step).

Brushes - Gilder's Tip Single

In Stock

Single tips are used for gold leaf work.

Gilding Tip A wide Blue Squirrel hair brush used for lifting or applying genuine leaf to the artist's surface. Tips are available in a range of widths and lengths all having cardboard handles. Tips are manufactured in two weights, single and double, with the double tip having more hairs.

Single tips are used for gold leaf work. Double tips are generally used to pick up heavier leaf such as genuine silver, platinum and metal leaves.

25S/2.1/2 $ 23.00
Blue Squirrel Hair - Single - 2 1/2" width x 2" Length - German
2 1/2"
25S/3 $ 25.00
Blue Squirrel Hair - Single - 3" width x 2" Length - German
25S/3.1/2 $ 28.00
Blue Squirrel Hair - Single - 3 1/2" width x 2" Length - German
3 1/2"
25S/4 $ 32.00
Blue Squirrel Hair - Single - 4" width x 2" Length - German
quill brush

Brushes - Flat wash brush

"Glass Gilder's Special" for application of Gelatin Water Size. Mixed Hair Mop. Copper Ferrule. Raw wood handle - French.

In Stock

Flat Wash Brush. Flat wash brushes are ideally used for the application of gelatin water size for Verre Eglomise, 'gilding on glass'/

227/1.1/2 $ 29.00
Mixed Hair Mop. Copper Ferrule. Raw wood handle - French.
1 1/2 inch
227/2 $ 34.00
Mixed Hair Mop. Copper Ferrule. Raw wood handle - French.
2 inch
quill brush

Brushes - Gilder's Quill Mops

Pointed Kazan Squirrel wash brush.

In Stock

Quill Mops Pointed mops are designed for applying "gilder's liquor" during the traditional water gilding

61/0 $ 18.00
Pure Kazan Squirrel - Pointed - Quill Ferrule - Wood Handle - French
61/2 $ 23.00
Pure Kazan Squirrel - Pointed - Quill Ferrule - Wood Handle - French
61/3 $ 30.00
Pure Kazan Squirrel - Pointed - Quill Ferrule - Wood Handle - French
61/4 $ 42.00
Pure Kazan Squirrel - Pointed - Quill Ferrule - Wood Handle - French
61/6 $ 55.00
Pure Kazan Squirrel - Pointed - Quill Ferrule - Wood Handle - French
oval mop brush

Mop Brushes - German Oval

In Stock

Oval Mop Brush.

Oval mops can hold a lot of liquid and can work well as an application brush when using gelatin size adhesive. In addition, oval mops are often used to dust skewings from gilded surfaces, so can double as an application brush and/or a dusting brush to remove skewings (for gelatin size only - never use with oil size or water based adhesives such as Aquasize or Wundasize.)

819/1 $ 25.00
Gilders Mop Brush - 7mm # 1 Pure Squirrel, Oval - German
Oval Mop Brush
819/4 $ 29.00
Gilders Mop Brush - 10mm # 4 Pure Squirrel, Oval - German
Oval Mop Brush
819/6 $ 34.00
Gilders Mop Brush - 12mm # 6 Pure Squirrel, Oval - German
Oval Mop Brush
819/8 $ 39.00
Gilders Mop Brush - 14mm # 8 Pure Squirrel, Oval - German
Oval Mop Brush
819/10 $ 50.00
Gilders Mop Brush - 16mm # 10 Pure Squirrel, Oval - German
Oval Mop Brush
819/12 $ 70.00
Gilders Mop Brush - 18mm # 12 Pure Squirrel, Oval - German
Oval Mop Brush
819/20 $ 118.00
Gilders Mop Brush - 26mm # 20 Pure Squirrel, Oval - German
Oval Mop Brush