The Magic of Gold Leaf Adhesive

Gilding is an ancient art form that adds a touch of elegance and opulence to various objects and surfaces. But how exactly do you make that shimmering piece of metal leaf stick? The answer lies in the world of gilding sizes.

Understanding Gilding Sizes

Gilding sizes are adhesives that provide the necessary stickiness for attaching metal leaf to a surface. While there are numerous options available, including DIY recipes, it’s crucial to choose the right one for your project. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of gilding sizes and how to use them effectively.

Unveiling the Types of Gilding Sizes

Water-Based Gilding Sizes

Water-based sizes are ideal for surfaces with medium porosity, such as paper, plaster, and wood. Traditionally made from a mixture of gelatin, this type of size appears cloudy in the can but dries clear. If you’re working on a project that requires gilding indoors, away from harsh weather conditions, water-based gilding sizes are a reliable choice.

Alcohol-Based Gilding Sizes

If you’re looking to gild smooth and solid surfaces like plastic, gold, silver, or glass, alcohol-based gilding sizes are your go-to option. Perfect for both indoor and outdoor applications, these sizes provide a stable foundation for the metal leaf. By spreading the size thinly and evenly, you can achieve exceptional results and avoid any cosmetic imperfections.

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Oil-Based Gilding Sizes

Oil-based gilding sizes are widely used for outdoor objects, but they can work wonders on any oil gilding project. Whether you’re working with smooth, compact surfaces like glass or metal, or more porous materials like stone or wood, oil-based sizes offer versatility. Before applying the size, it’s essential to clean the surface thoroughly and consider applying a protective varnish or sealant.

Using Gilding Sizes

Oil-Based Gilding Sizes

To use an oil-based gilding size, prepare the surface by cleaning it and applying a coat of varnish. Spread the size thinly and evenly using a marten hair brush, ensuring that it covers the entire area. After applying the size, wait for the specified amount of time before proceeding. Test the dryness of the size by lightly touching it with the back of your hand. It should be sticky but not wet.

Water-Based Gilding Sizes

For water-based gilding sizes, begin by preparing the surface with de-waxed shellac or paint to reduce porosity. Use sandpaper to smooth the surface, and optionally apply acrylic color for a background hue. Apply the water-based size evenly and thinly, avoiding excessive coating. Afterward, let the size dry to a slightly sticky consistency. Avoid touching the size with your fingertips to prevent leaving marks.

Alcohol-Based Gilding Sizes

Similar to water-based sizes, alcohol-based sizes require a smooth and homogeneous surface. Apply a suitable primer and optional acrylic paint before spreading the size thinly and smoothly using a soft hair brush, pad, or spray gun. As with the other types of sizes, ensure that the size is slightly sticky to the touch before proceeding.

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Embarking on Your Gilding Journey

Armed with the knowledge of gilding sizes, you’re now ready to embark on your gilding adventure. Choosing the right adhesive size is essential for achieving beautiful results. Remember, a little goes a long way when it comes to gilding, so use these tips and let your creativity shine.

For more information and high-quality gilding supplies, visit Ames Farm Center.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q: What are gilding sizes?
    A: Gilding sizes are adhesives used to attach metal leaf to surfaces.

  • Q: What are the different types of gilding sizes?
    A: The three main types of gilding sizes are water-based, alcohol-based, and oil-based.

  • Q: When should I use water-based gilding sizes?
    A: Water-based sizes work best on surfaces with medium porosity, such as paper, plaster, and wood.

  • Q: Which surfaces are suitable for alcohol-based gilding sizes?
    A: Alcohol-based sizes are ideal for smooth and solid surfaces, including plastic, gold, silver, and glass.

  • Q: Can I use oil-based gilding sizes for outdoor projects?
    A: Yes, oil-based sizes are commonly used for outdoor objects, but they can be used for any oil gilding project.