The Art Of Gilding: Surprisingly Easy And Rewarding

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Are you looking for a creative project that is quick and easy but produces something quite special? Then you should try gilding. It is surprisingly simple to get started and the results are extremely satisfying. You can give everyday household objects a touch of class and a warm, stunning glow. If you are not familiar with the gold leaf used for gilding, it usually comes in the thinnest possible sheets of either imitation or real gold. Naturally, because of cost, it's best to use the imitation to work with until you become very skilled, or have a very special piece to gild.

Try this easy project which is perfect for a first attempt: turn an old fabric lampshade into a decorative and stylish piece.

Items You Need

  • Paint brushes - medium and small with soft bristles or makeup blusher brush
  • Tub of water-based size (Size is the term for the type of adhesive used in gilding.)
  • Imitation gold leaf sheets (The gold leaf is usually packaged in small booklets.)

These supplies are readily available online or at the larger art and craft stores. The great part about this lampshade project is that your technique can be less than perfect. The application of the gold leaf does not need to be completely flawless and you can learn as you go.

Preparing The Surface

Paint the surface of the lampshade with the size using a medium-sized brush. It will appear milky white when applying but will be clear when dry.

Allow it to dry until it is slightly tacky to touch, similar to the feel of the underside of sticky tape. It is important not to apply the leaf when the surface is too wet, as the leaf will break up.

Applying The Gold Leaf

  • Take a foil sheet and gently place it on the surface
  • Proceed to cover the entire surface by slightly overlapping each successive sheet
  • Use a brush to assist with moving the delicate leaf into position and smoothing it out to make the joins less visible.
  • Allow it to dry overnight

When the project is completely dry, use a small brush to remove any little bits of excess leaf that may gather around the joins. If any gold leaf sticks to the brush, it means that it is not yet thoroughly dry and will need more time.

Now you have a succeeded in transforming a common object into beautiful, gleaming work of art. Having experienced this sense of achievement and satisfaction, you will no doubt be keen to further your skills. Taking some gold leafing lessons or joining a class through a company like Art Gilding Academy Pty Ltd to learn gilding techniques would be a great way to take your skills to the next level. There is much more to gain by delving further into this unique and decorative art.