How to use Gold Leaf with Oil Size

Adhering Gold Leaf with a gold size is the easiest gilding technique, because the learning curve is short, the gold can be adhered easily and this technique can be used outdoors for architectural gilding. When learning gilding, start with small projects and choose the patent gold leaf which has a wax paper backing and makes any gilding job much simpler.

1. Genuine Gold Leaf is so thin that the color of the surface underneath the leaf will read through the gold. Consequently, most gilders will prime the surface with a variety of colors such as red which warms up the gold. For this demonstration, we will lay gold on three different colors.2. Before gilding, make sure the surface is clean and smooth. The smoother the surface, the more reflective the gold will be.3.Apply the gold size in the areas where the gold leaf should be adhered. For best results, use a fresh can of oil size.4. Depending on the type of size, the adhesive will "set up to tack" in either 3 hours (quick size) or 12 hours (slow size). Test for "tack" by placing your knuckle against the surface. If your knuckle slides, the size is not ready. If the surface feels dry, you have waited too long and need to apply more size. The size should be tacky enough to pull your skin.
5. Once the size has set to tack, take a sheet of patent gold from the booklet..6. Align the leaf onto the area with gold size.7. Gently place the leaf onto the tacky surface. If the leaf does not line up perfectly, don't worry, you can apply more leaf in the void.8. With your finger or a cotton ball, gentle rub the back of the wax paper in order to ensure proper adhesion to the surface.
8. Once the gold has been adhered, gently peel back the wax paper. Only the area exposed to the adhesive should remove the gold from the wax paper backing.9. For subsequent applications use the same leaf.10. Repeat the process from above, by aligning and placing more gold onto the tacky sized area..11. Do not worry if the leaves overlap, the excess will be removed later..
12. Work carefully and efficiently before the size loses its tack.13. Note how the leaf only stuck to areas with the gold size and there is still gold remaining on the wax paper backing which can be used for another project.14. Allow the size to completely dry before removing the overlapping pieces of gold, known as the skewings. Remove the skewings with a soft gilding mop or make up brush15. The advantage of using gold on exterior architectural projects is that the surface should not be sealed, because real gold will not tarnish and outlive any exterior painted surface.