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

Cleaning the glass surface

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.


Mixing the gelatin size

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 distilled warm water, it will make an average strength batch of gelatin glue size.


Applying the Gelatin size adhesive

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.


Applying the Leaf

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 gilders liquid as needed and repeat as before.


Allow gelatin size to dry

Allow Gelatin Sizing to dry fully then remove any excess leaf bits with a soft Squirrel Mop brush.


'Back-Up' the gilt surface

Back-up the gold with 'Gilder's Back-up Paint' or 'Gilder's Back-up 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 back-up varnish, see step 6. If you choose to use paint, be sure to add a final layer of clear varnish over the painted surface.


gold leaf classes

Glass Gilding Workshop

Verre Églomisé Classes - Gilding on glass! Gilding Studio ZOOM classes with Charles Douglas

Glass Gilding...the Foundation for Verre Églomisé

Learn the beautiful ancient art of reverse glass gilding and discover the steps involved in achieving a strong and brilliant bond between glass and leaf. Students will learn to properly clean the glass, prepare gelatin size, gild the glass with genuine white gold and be introduced to the concept of engraving the gilding in reverse before the final step of backpainting...plus abrading, candlesmoke, and Black India Ink for special effects!.

The GildedPlanet.com is excited to partner with Charles Douglas from The Gilding Studio to provide you with the highest quality, hands on training for the gilding arts.

Glass Gilding. The use of gold or Silver leaf on glass goes back to early Roman times and was a popular technique used for Looking Glass Mirrors during eighteenth and nineteenth century England.


Glass Giling Kit

Charles Douglas Classes - Verre Églomisé Gilding class

Manetti 6kt White Gold is included with kit. Contact us if youwant to upgrade the leaf karat level!

CDGG/KIT $ 225.00
Purchase all the necessary tools for this Verre Églomisé educational series. Highest quality Italian Manetti 6kt White Gold leaf and all the items listed individually below.
Class Kit

Purchase class items individualy

Re-load on essential items!!! Every artist knows that If you use your tools right, then they will preform for you. True work horses - and in a pinch, you know which are your "go-to" tools. But even your hardest working friends need refreshing. Now is your time. And enjoy a special discount on the folowing items, exclusively through the Charles Douglas Gilding Studio Workshops. Thanks for participating in our workshops!

Use discount code at checkout - provided by instructor - to save even more!

213S/3 $ 25.00
3 inch Gilders Tip Brush. SINGLE - Squirrel Hair. Made in France
Gilders Tip Brush
227/2 $ 28.75
Water Size Brush for Glass Gilding, 2" - France
Water Size Brush
GE/S $ 4.00
Gelatin Glue Size - 1 sheet - 40 Diamond imprint
Gelatin Size
GK/S $ 39.00
Gilders Knife - Single edge with square tip 5½" blade
Gilders Knife
GP/D $ 64.00
Gilders Pad, Delux 7" x 9.1/2" W/O SHIELD - Italian
Gilders Pad
MA6.00WH/B $ 46.00
Manetti Brand - 6kt White Gold Leaf Book - Loose Leaf
6kt Gold Leaf