Add Gold Leaf
accents to furniture, wall panels and more!

Rating 3 -moderate
For use on: furniture, objects, fine arts

Gilding Features

7 Essential Steps for Perfect Gilding
Gold Leaf Techniques
Silver Leafing Techniques
Exterior Gilding
Gilding Ceilings
Gilding Terms
Gilding Books
Antiquing Methods
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Gilding Kits

Includes all the tools and materials to apply imitation gold leaf. Set contains one 4 oz. bottle of Gilding Size, natural hair brush, cotton and mixing sticks, wet/dry paper and book of leaf. Water-based. Each book contains 25 leaves.
Each leaf is 5.5" x 5.5" square. Approx coverage is 5.25 sq. ft.

$ 24.95


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Gilded Sconces tutorial

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Sepp Metal Composition Leaf  books gold pack of 20

Metal Composition Leaf Packs - 20 Books
Gold - Aluminum - Copper

Made from various metallic alloys that simulate gold or silver. Items covered with imitation leaf will tarnish unless they are varnished or sealed. Sheets of imitation leaf are approximately 5 in. x 5 in. 25 sheets per book, 20 books to a pack. Copper leaf is genuine copper.


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Gilding: Easy Techniques & Elegant Projects With Metal Leaf

Gilding: Easy Techniques & Elegant Projects With Metal Leaf

Decorating with gold accents can add sophistication, dimension, and importance, not just to the object it embellishes, but to an entire room.


7 Steps to gilding

1. Prepare work area
2. Prime surface
3. Apply 'bole' color
4. Apply adhesive 'size'
5. Apply leaf
6. Seal and protect leaf
7. Apply antique glaze


Gilding terms

Bole - Traditionally, bole is a term that identifies a pigmented clay. This clay acts as the base, or cushion, for the subsequent layer of gold leaf. Classically terre-cotta in color, the clay can be built up quickly, then polished to a very smooth surface. 

Contemporary gilding does not use clay, but simulates the effect by adding a colored paint that replicates the clay effect.

Size - General term used to identify the adhesive that attaches the leaf to a surface. 

There are different types of size, depending on the form of gilding. 

Water gilding uses a gelatin size.
Oil gilding (most common ) uses a oil-based size.
Acrylic gilding uses a water based size.

Holiday - A gilders term that refers to an area were the leaf did not initially adhere.

Tack - Refers to the state of the adhesive size. Proper tack for gilding is the point when the size is not longer wet, but not fully dry, hence it is 'tacky' or just slightly sticky.

Skewings - The bits of leaf that are left over after a surface has been completely gilded. Skewings can be saved for other projects, making excellent fillers for patching holidays.

Gilding products at artSparx and!

Get full packs!
That's 20 books per pack - or 500 leaves.

Also available in Rolls.
Get your project done professionally and quickly.

Gold Leaf Basics

Leaf Size Details
Leaf Coverage
Alloys and Karats
Types of Leaf



Genuine Leaf
  Genuine Gold Leaf
  Silver Leaf
  Palladium Leaf
Metal Leaf
  Composition Gold Leaf
  Aluminum Leaf
  Copper Leaf
  Variegated Leaf
Sizes and Adhesives
  Size and Adhesives

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Special order?
How much leaf will you need?


General gilding questions?
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Masking tip: 
Always test an area to be taped before beginning the masking job. Wallpaper is particularly susceptible to tearing. Lacquer and varnish surfaces on furniture may come off easily with the tape and the item could be severely damaged.


Quick-dry synthetic gold sizing is a clear gilders size designed for fast leaf work. Dries in one to three hours, can be used as a varnish, medium, or anywhere a durable, weather resistant finish is required. Thins with mineral spirits, and comes in an 8 ounce
re-sealable can.



This antiquing glaze creates the soft glow of slightly tarnished silver.

Learn more about
Silver Leaf Methods


"Techniques vary, art stays the same" 

- Claude Monet  1840-1926




The Antique Corner

The Antique Corner

Adding the finishing touches to your furniture, decorative object or gilt surface requires just the right know-how. artSparx delivers the expertise to give your project a sophisticated finish with an extra glow.

Exclusively at artSparx!

Setting up a production line can be a great method for gilding numerous objects at once, limiting you 'down' time while your size comes to tack.


Your antique glaze treatment should be harmonious within its setting.



How to Gold Leaf and Composition Gold Leaf
decorative objects
Oil size method -

The design for these sconces where inspired from antiques seen in a Tuscan Villa. Cast in plaster, they are gilt using Dutch Gold (or composition leaf) and antiqued to match an existing antique chandelier. Though Dutch Gold is not genuine gold, rather a composition of metals; primarily brass, the final appearance is a
near flawless match.


The Gilding Process

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


Step 1:  Cover working surfaces and floor areas with drop cloths or newspaper.

Step 2:  Remove dust and dirt with a tack cloth and prime as needed. In this instance we are using  Benjamin Moore's Fresh Start Alkyd Primer. Refer to the artSparx basic preparation resource for additional tips and techniques…. 

Prime the object completely and allow to dry.


Step 3: Once the primer is fully dry, you are ready to apply the base color for your leaf. Traditionally a deep terre cotte color is used, such as Benjamin Moore color # 2090-30. 

Applying the 'bole' color.

What is bole?

This base color is also referred to as the 'Bole' color. Traditionally, bole was made from clay. Today paint is typically substituted.
One can experiment with different colors and your choice will affect the overall appearance of the finished product. For example, the traditional terra-cotta color adds warmth to both gold and silver leaf. A black 'bole' color creates a hard, cold look - often appropriate for Art Deco pieces, and the like. A yellow 'bole' color evens out the overall appearance, and diminishes any cracks or 'holidays' on the gilded surface.

Special Feature - About gilding products

Aluminum Leaf

Purchase Aluminum and Genuine Silver Leaf.
Also available in rolls!

Dutch Gold or
composition leaf

Purchase Imitation and Genuine Gold Leaf.
Also available in rolls!

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.

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.


Step 4: Apply your '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. For most common gilding practices a 3 hour, 'quick drying' size is all you will need. It is an oil based product and can be cleaned with mineral spirits. Apply carefully and evenly, working the size to an even film as much as possible. When competed, clean your brush with mineral spirits.


A fully 'sized' sconce. Keep an eye out for 'pooling'.


When applying 'size' to an object that is ornate or has decorative features that are raised, pay attention not to 'pool' the size in the crevasses. Work it out evenly so the size dries evenly over the entire piece.

Do not apply the leaf until your adhesive 'size' is at the proper 'Tack'.

Step 5: Testing your tack.
This is an important phase, and determining the proper tack will result in the professional finish your are after. As your 'size' dries it naturally goes from a wet to a dry state. The proper time to apply your leaf is when the 'size' is not wet but 'tacky', just before it dries completely. 3 hour 'quick drying' size comes to 'tack' in approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, reaching full dryness at around 3 hours (hence it's name '3 hour quick drying size').

The gilder testing for 'tack'.

Use the back of your knuckles to test for the proper 'tack'. If the hairs on your fingers slightly tug then your tack is ready. Alternatively, you can very lightly drag your knuckles over the surface. Don't apply any pressure. If you hear a 'squeaking' sound, then you are ready to apply your leaf. If it is clearly quite sticky, wait a while longer and test again. Don't worry, with some practice, you will learn the subtleties of determining the proper 'tack' to begin gilding.

About humidity: Your adhesive size can dry at varying times due to atmospheric conditions such as heat and humidity. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on the drying process. If you leaf to soon, the leaf will get sticky and sag, and the size may never get a chance to dry out through the leaf. If you wait to long, the size will dry up and your leaf will not properly adhere to the surface


Hold firmly and carefully.
Attach leaf to surface.

Move methodically up the leaf to rap over and around surfaces.


After the leaf is laid on, rub thoroughly over paper to insure adhesion. Avoid touching the leaf with your fingers.

Gently remove the paper, leaving the leaf on your surface.


Repairing 'Holidays'

Step 7: Holidays. Fixing them. 
A 'holiday' is a gilders term that refers to an area were the leaf did not initially adhere. Simply use some left over leaf and apply to area.

Holidays are caused by 2 things. First, in the application process, the leaf just did not stick to the 'tacky' surface. Simply apply fresh leaf and rub down.
Secondly, when you applied the 'size' in step 4, you missed an area leaving a bald spot, and there is no adhesive for the leaf to stick to. After you have completed leafing the entire surface, including patching in all holidays, re-apply more 'size' to the missing spots with a small artists brush, allow to come to 'tack' as before, then apply leaf to the newly sized area.

Step 8: Burnishing and finishing off

Using fresh tissue paper, rub the surface gently and evenly. This insures all the leaf is properly rubbed down, with no air holes. 

Using a soft brush to remove excess 'skewings'.

Using a soft gilders brush, such as fox hair or rabbit hair, brush the surface removing any loose leaf (known as skewings). Cotton balls may also be used. Do not use regular painters brushes, such as bristle, or synthetic fibers, because they will scratch the leaf and dull the luster of the finish.

Step 9: Sealing with Varnish

Protect the leaf with a coat of oil based varnish, Satin or Semi-gloss sheen. This seals the leaf, protecting it from moisture and air. It also acts as a barrier coat between the leafed surface and the antiquing glaze that soon follows. Clean your brush with the appropriate thinner.

This is an important step. If you were to apply an antique glaze over untreated leaf, the leaf would become stained and dull, losing the highly reflective quality of genuine gilded surfaces.

Step 10: Antiquing and aging your leafed surface.

On a palette, mix some acrylic Raw Umber with Raw Seine. You can experiment with the proportions. 2 parts Raw Seine to 1 part Raw Umber will work fine. Dilute with water.

Apply over surface, smoothing out as you go. In case the glaze 'beads', allow to set momentarily then smooth out as before.

Using a dry rag, buff up 'high' points, allowing the recesses to remain darker, mimicking the processes of time.

Step 11: Clean up. Vacuum loose leaf and clean working area.

Step 12: Dispose of used material appropriately. 

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