The Art of Gold Leaf-Instructions for Use

The Art of Gold Leaf-Instructions for Use

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Preparation
Clean glass well using mild dishwashing liquid and warm water. Do not use commercial window cleaners. Be sure to protect the surface of your glass with bumpers or pads.

Applying the Size
Open your can of Size carefully and pour a small amount into a small container. Immediately reseal the can of Size so that you do not expose the contents of the can to air any longer than necessary. Choose an appropriate size of brush for the area to be covered, and apply an even coat of Size to the carved glass design.

Cover the carved area completely while being as careful as possible not to get excess Size outside of the textured area.

Allow the Size to set according to the directions on the can - approximately 3 hours. In dry climates, it may be slightly less and in humid areas, somewhat more.

Test for readiness by gently touching the coated area with your little finger knuckle. You will hear a faint "snick" sound when the Size has set to the proper tackiness. Now the Size is ready to receive the Leaf.

Applying the Leaf
Choose a very soft brush (sable or a sable blend) of an appropriate size for the area to be filled. Gently scrunch up some Leaf, pick it up on the brush, and lay it into the carved area. Always make sure the brush is covered with the Leaf and apply with the side of the bristles.

Don't get any Size on this brush, as the brush will get stiff and be useless for Leafing in the future.

When you have covered all the areas to be gilded, smooth all the areas again with the side of your brush. Blow off any loose or excess Leaf, set aside, and allow to dry - approximately 8 - 24 hours.

There will probably be pinholes or areas that you have missed. You can correct this by repeating the first two steps.

Brush excess Leaf off your piece and apply Size, test for tack ("snick"), and then apply Leaf according to these directions. Then let dry again for approximately 8 to 24 hours.

Sealing
Before applying the Window Spar, you must clean up the edges of the gilded areas. Using a razor blade, hold the blade as flat as you can while pushing along the edges of the carved areas.

Gently brush or blow off excess. Open Window Spar can and pour out a small amount into a paper cup or other small container. Close the can. Again, choose the appropriate size brush for the gilded area. For sealing, choose from the nylon brush assortment included in the kit. Apply a generous, even coat to the gilded areas. Make sure that the Window Spar doesn't puddle in any area. Allow drying completely.

Finishing
When the Window Spar is completely dry, use a razor blade again to clean up the glass. If there are any areas that are still stuck, you may use lacquer thinner on a cotton swab. Blot the cotton swab on a paper towel to remove excess lacquer thinner before removing these spots.

Work in a well-ventilated area. Be very careful not to breathe fumes when using lacquer thinner.

The piece may now be cleaned gently with mild soap and water.

Voila! You've created art!

Leafing Tips

  • Always use clear or crystal glass for your carving when you intend to gild it. Gold gild gets a brassy look on green-tinted glass
  • Practice with a less expensive silver leaf before trying gold leaf.
  • If the piece will never be viewed backlit, you may be able to get by with only one coat of leaf. However, it is recommended that you apply at least two coats to eliminate the pinholes that let the light through.