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  • can anyone give me some advise on gold leaf?

    Posted by eddie cotter on March 3, 2002 at 5:03 pm

    does any one know about gold leaf, i am told it comes in a book of sheets & you stick it on. is that right. what size is it, ive heard its deer stuff, any help please, eddie

    hedge replied 20 years, 1 month ago 11 Members · 23 Replies
  • 23 Replies
  • Robert Lambie

    March 4, 2002 at 9:57 am

    Hi Eddie
    Ive dabbled in it myself but I don?t know a lot about it.
    You need to be patient, it?s a time consuming job. Its not easy but then again not the hardest thing ive learned. A good steady hand is needed when applying this stuff, as you would not believe how thin it is.
    The cost is not cheap like you say but its not to bad considering the cost of these letters to your customer. I don?t know how to price the job but I know there is a good return on them.
    If you don?t know where to get it I can look it out for you. I basically bought a couple of books of leafs, a bottle of the glue & a beginners hand book that they sold also. This helped me out & kept me right when using it.
    Any more thoughts let me know!

  • eddie cotter

    March 4, 2002 at 5:12 pm

    thanks robert, any info is greatly apreciated
    i have a jewellers shop to do, he told me he wants raised letters in shiny gold,
    i think gold leaf is the only option
    i dont know of any realistic bright gold in
    a spray can. eddie cotter

  • Robert Lambie

    March 4, 2002 at 9:43 pm

    what about gold moulded letters.
    they are pretty bright and it takes the headache of having to make the things & leaf them away from you. just buy them in.
    there is also a perspex out now that is a mirrored type of gold. looks pretty classy to. so they could be flat cut raised on locators. just a thought mate.
    ill look out that supplier and post you back a.s.a.p.

  • Deleted User

    Deleted User
    March 4, 2002 at 9:44 pm

    Hi Eddie
    I see you are from tipperary i know a guy in clonmel. is that far from you?
    i think he does trade work .you might give him a call. he trades under smart art
    i hope this helps.
    see you mate

  • Robert Lambie

    March 4, 2002 at 9:54 pm

    hi robin
    nice to see another new member taking participation on the boards.
    i welcome you back anytime!

  • Deleted User

    Deleted User
    March 5, 2002 at 2:33 pm

    Eddie, are you going to apply the leaf to the glass or is it to be applied to lettering? You get two kinds and methods of gilding, one is transfer amd the other is loose gilding. Transfer is usually the easiest to apply without experience, you have what is basically vinyl (but thin) without adhesive, you apply goldsize to your substrate, when it is tacky and almost dry you apply the gold to it. The other method is very tricky if you are not used to it, the gold comes loose in booke with no backing, again you use the size and this time you transfer with a gilders tip, you actually use static from your head to charge the tip then pick up the gold with it. You should be very carefull if the lettering is inside a window as you will need to protect with a varnish, this MUST be a non acidic varnish as the gold will tarnish without this. Gilding is very expensive so dont be too soft on the Jeweler, we did some hotel doors a while back and charged Β£100 per pair for a logo and lettering 90mm high by 450mm long.

  • Mike Brown

    March 5, 2002 at 4:05 pm

    interesting stuff Stuart…bought both types of gold a few months back, the ‘tip’ and size etc. – haven’t even got round to trying it yet, but I will…perhaps I can give you a call if I loose me bottle’! πŸ˜†

    and as for that ‘charging it from your head’ – just try and remember that Robert reads all this stuff too and if he tries that it’s just gunna end up covered in grey fluff!!!…or even worse, black heads… uurrgghhh!! πŸ˜†

    love to all

    thought for the day!…"the only cheap vinyl is the stuff that falls off the back of a lorry!"

  • Deleted User

    Deleted User
    March 5, 2002 at 4:43 pm

    Mike, the first time you use the leaf get an old pair of tights and make a wee ball full of chalk dust, pounce the general area around where you are going to gild, then apply your size, it stops the gold sticking where it shouldn’t. Also apply a bit of a test sample to an area next to your sign, the size takes longer or shorter to set up with temperature fluctuations, you can use the test area to see if things are ready.

  • Robert Lambie

    March 5, 2002 at 6:17 pm

    stuart thats why mike aint got round to trying gold leaf. he cant stand the thought of taking a pair of scissors to his american tan tights. πŸ˜†

  • Joe McNamara

    March 5, 2002 at 7:08 pm

    Eddie, a chara,
    Try getting your hands on a book called gold leaf techniques by Kent H Smith. I got it at the signshow 2 years ago but haven’t really had a go at goldleaf yet…..looks like there might be a bit of a knack to it!!!

  • eddie cotter

    March 10, 2002 at 5:37 pm

    lovely stuff lads, thanks for the intrest,
    the moulded letters sound good, hows it done rob.

  • Robert Lambie

    March 10, 2002 at 8:12 pm

    hi eddie.
    accent signs make moulded letters. a few others do but cant mind there names.
    give them a call & ask for a free brochure & price list. i think thats the best & quickest bet.
    as far as i know you call it injection moulded. the process i am unsure about but i guess the name gives you an idea.
    maybe paul davenport could help you there. try asking him in his forum he should know a fair bit more than me in this field. πŸ™‚

  • Paul Davenport

    March 11, 2002 at 9:49 pm

    hi chaps

    moulded letters, well putting it simply you take a piece of gold acrylic, heat it up, drape it between a male/female mould and close together leaving you with a raised ‘drape’ formed letter, then you remove the excess of on the bandsaw leaving you with a 3d letter to which you can gold leaf, Accent do the best letters, good shape and form usually free from stress marks.

    as for the mirror gold, its not external anyway and you will have difficulty sticking locators to the back surface covering

    you may actually be able to get a gold plated letter (like chrome plate) from Accent if they are still doing them

    hope things are less cloudy now !!

  • eddie cotter

    March 11, 2002 at 11:03 pm

    thanks for the help everyone, uksg is the biz!!! eddie

  • Joe Cieslowski

    March 11, 2004 at 12:15 am

    Hi, I just joined onto the site and although this thread is a little old I thought I might share some of my experience with surface gilding. First the Kent Smith book is the Bible! Well sorta….seems everyone has their own little tricks.

    1st consideration: The surface that you are gilding will be reflected in the gold…bright shinny surface, bright gild….matte surface, matte etc.
    2nd: Most add a little chrome yellow to the size so that it can been seen when applied. Apply a very, very thin coating….you are NOT Painting. The size is an adheasive. I use a short, artists flat brush and almost rub the size on.
    3rd: WAIT!!! the size is available in Fast (1-2hrs), medium (12 -24hrs) and slow (24 to 48+ hrs). Depending on which size you use you must WAIT untill it reaches the right "Tack". The closer the size is to "dry" the more brilliant the gild. One easy way to test for the tack is to size a tin can lid at the same time you size the job. Wait according to the size you used and then to test it, using a knuckle, touch the size on the can lid…if it lifts the lid….WAIT! When the lid barley lifts and then releases…the tack should be about right.
    4th: The gild. The gold is generally available in Patent (attached to a tissue backing) or surface (loose). The patent is easy to use. Just hold the paper over the size with the gold side down and press the gold onto the size. You will be able to see through the paper and easily apply the leaf where it’s needed. For incised letters, a short stiff brush can be used to push the the tissue and gold into the letter. The loose can be lifted with a gilders tip or what a lot of folks here are using is a make-up brush. To "charge" the brush you can brush it over your hair….if your hair is a little greasy….I have quite dry hair so I wipe it next to my nose….it’s a little oily there. Open the book and the gold will jump to the brush. Apply it to your sized letter, brushing over the seams and dabbing it into the "Holidays" (places where the gold didn’t stick the first time).
    5th: Using surgical cotton, gently buff the gild….this will remove any seams or flakes.

    That’s basically it. Give it another 24 hrs to dry completely. It is not necessary to clear over the gild….clearing will only dull the gold…not protect it (unless it will be handled or put near a fire…like on a fire truck)

    Then there are the tricks….most of my signs are made of wood. I can apply two primer coats, two gloss coats, size and gild in under 2 hrs πŸ™„ , but thats another story πŸ˜€

    I would have liked to post this on the tips and tricks but I guess I can’t go there….so I am here!

    Come back if you have any questions.
    Hope this helps.


  • Robert Lambie

    March 11, 2004 at 12:36 am

    Some great tips there Joe. Im reading with real interest…

    I have promised myself to dig out my small box of leaf and size and try again. I bought a book on leaf work also.. It tells me to run the back of my finger over the size dragging the hair on my finger over it. If it starts to catch/tug my hair in the size, its ready. Is that fair comment?
    Im currently messing about with some small sign samples for my reception using sign foam2. Im using a dremmel (spelling) and some carving chisels and attempting to carve a sort oak tree from it. (that’s the idea anyway 😳 )
    I plan to apply gold leaf to it once its finished.
    What would you say the best way/method to attempt this would be? πŸ˜€

  • Joe Cieslowski

    March 11, 2004 at 1:14 am

    I’ve never heard the "hair on the back of your finger" thing….it seems pretty subjective….to me if hairs are sticking it’s not ready yet…..WAIT! πŸ™‚

    When working with signfoam (they must be dumping SF 2 all over the UK cause ya can’t get it here anymore), getting rid of the dust is the first trick. Blow it off then take it outside and wash it off with a hose! I’m serious!!! Let it dry good! Then Prime, dry, sand and wash again πŸ™‚ …Repeat. Three coats of a water base high build primmer should fill all them little holes. Two top coats (1 Shot?…you got?) Size and gild.

    Please, Please, Please do this on a scrap piece FIRST!!!!! Don’t invest a ton of time and effort on the carving and then take a chance on something you’ve never tried before. I can tell you hours of horror stories about folks who do it for the FIRST time on a job……bound for failure! Practice….like me, I’m a practicing carver πŸ™‚

    What Brand of High Build primmers do you folks have?

    Hope this helps.


  • Dave Bruce

    March 11, 2004 at 10:08 am

    Brilliant Joe, I too am interested in doing some Gilding, bought a couple of secondhand basic books (more for interior stuff) so great to see your tips, I know who to ask when my workshop is up and running and I have a go.



  • Steve Broughton

    March 11, 2004 at 10:38 am

    Anyone wanting to know about gold gilding then go to the Sign show at the end of the month, have a look at the live demo section and speak to either Alan Brindle or Dave Smith 2 of our top gold men.

  • Joe Cieslowski

    March 11, 2004 at 5:29 pm

    The BEST way to learn gilding is seeing a demonstration by a pro!!! Sounds like Steve is offering a unique oppertunity!!!!

    I’d go in a minute!!! πŸ˜€


  • signworxs

    March 13, 2004 at 12:26 am

    Or even better steve go to a letterhead meet as we have and catch up with that old bugger John Jordan. I’ve known the guy for a few years now and he never ceases to amaze me.

  • Robert Lambie

    March 13, 2004 at 12:29 am

    im going too mate.. i wanna see steve at work. when he isnt looking im gonna blow real hard πŸ˜† πŸ˜† πŸ˜†
    seriously though.. im totaly a vinyl man but im so interested in traditional methods it hurts πŸ˜₯ i know i will never have the time for it but i do love to see this kind of art.
    lets not get it wrong, it is an art. πŸ˜‰

  • hedge

    March 21, 2004 at 10:51 pm


    Backing up what Joe said about protecting the gold…

    During my first experience with gold leaf (raised letters on an outdoor sign sandblasted from sign foam), the supply house that I bought the gold from suggested that I apply a clear. I observed that on my test piece, the clear dulled the brilliance of the gold. So, I called the manufacturer of the leaf itself. Straight from the manufacturer: Only cover the gold if it is going to be vulnerable to excessive touching or some other kind of unusual wear.

    I’ve used gold leaf 5 times or so – you just can’t beat the brilliance!


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