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Gilding is the application of gold to an object, be it a wooden sculpture, stained glass window, food or illuminated manuscript. There are many different techniques for each of the various things that can be gilded.


Types of Gold for Gilding

  • Leaf (loose, beaten)
  • Patent Leaf (attached to paper by static for ease of use)
  • Powdered
  • Shell Gold (gold powder suspended in a pigment binder.)

Tools for Gilding

  • Gilder's tip (brush)
  • Gilder's pad
  • Gilder's knife
  • Brush for applying size
  • Fluffy brush for removing excess gold
  • Stamps or stylus for incizing decoration into raised gilding
  • Burnisher

Manuscript Gilding

Gilding is applied to a manuscript page after the initial drawing and ink has been done, and before illumination. The gold will stick to paint, thus why it should be applied first.

Gilding sizes

  • Hide glue, Fish glue, Rabbit skin glue
  • Armenian Bole (gilder's clay) mixed wtih hide glue, Slaked Plaster and honey
  • Garlic juice
  • Wood glue prepped with denatured alcohol (modern)

Gilding on Food

Gold may be adhered to food by the use of a sugar solution, egg white or honey. See Delights for Ladies (1609) or Banquetting Stuffe for a description of using egg white to gild desserts.

See also: Cooking

Gilding on Leather

I have seen a reference to using egg white and heat to gild on leather (in Bookbinding specifically). The area to be gilt is painted with the egg white, the gold applied and then a heated tool is used to emboss the gold into the leather. (memo to me: Dig up your reference and post it here!)

Probably one of these:

Foot, Mirjam, ed. Eloquent Witnesses: Bookbindings and Their History British Library. New Castle Delaware Oak Knoll Press 2004

Marks, P.J.M. The British Library Guide to Bookbinding Toronto, Buffalo University of Toronto Press, 1998

See also Leather working

Gilding on Wood

Gilding on Wood may be done to decorate furniture, sculpture or for wooden pannel paintings.

Gilding Sizes

  • Armenian Bole and Hide Glue
  • Wood glue prepped with denatured alcohol (Modern)

Gilding on Glass

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