Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How we did it: The Gilding Process

The gilding process dates back over 4000 years in ancient Egypt. Among the finest gilding was that carried out in France in the 18th Century and established France's undisputed leadership in decorative arts. 

Gilding in gold, silver and copper leaf can add beautiful accent and detail to any piece of furniture or accessory item. Gilding can be used on glass, metal and wood. It is important that applied gild shows wear in the gold or silver leaf to look authentic.

Here we have a wooden carved mirror frame that we brought into the studio originally painted in white.  We thought that it was a perfect piece, with all of its detail, to paint first and then add an
aged gild finish. 

The Process:
~ We started by painting the frame using Amy Howard's One Step in Black. (Further details on using Amy Howard's One Step paint can be found here: 

~ Using an accent artist brush, we applied a nice even coat of Amy Howard's Gilding Size, applying in long clean strokes much like we would apply nail polish. The Gilding Size (adhesive) is white so that helps in making sure that it is applied to all areas we want gilded. Then we let it dry for about 10 minutes, to a tacky finish.

~ The silver sheets come in a book and each leaf will be in between sheets of tissue. We cut the silver leaf just a little larger then the area that we are gilding. Removing the tissue off of one side, we laid the silver gilding sheet down and with the tissue on top of it burnished it with our fingers to made sure it was laid into the size adhesive. 

~ After dry-brushing off the loose leaf, we buffed the leaf with a clean rag to make sure it has a shiny patina.

~ Clear wax was then applied and buffed.

~ Then using a dry brush we powdered the frame using Amy Howard's Dust Of Ages and buffed off excess using a rag like one would buff a shoe. This step brings out the highlights and sheen of this beautifully gilded piece.


And here is the amazing looking finished mirror, gilded in silver leaf and ready to be a show stopper in any room.

It is available for sale in our store at 235 Market Street, in downtown Mount Airy.

Hope you enjoyed the walk-through of the process of this gilded piece.