When you learn how to apply gold leaf into embossed surfaces, a process called gilding, you can make things from garage sales, thrift stores and dollar stores look pricey. Gold leaf comes in sheets which are just a few atoms thick, and implementing it’s comparable to painting. Because the sheets are thinner than tissue, applying them to embossed and textured surfaces can be complicated, but watching the transformation occur may make you feel like an alchemist waving a magic wand.
Clean the embossed item by brushing off any loose dirt and wiping it down with a damp cloth.
Ventilate your work area. Paint the item with acrylic paint and let it dry completely. To make quick work of the job, take the item outdoors and spray paint it. The paint does not have to be perfect, since the gold leaf will cover it.
Cover your work surface with plastic garbage bags or newspaper to protect it. Lay the embossed item on the covered surface.
Paint the embossed item using a coat of stone size, the glue which allows the gold leaf to stick. Use a foam brush to help block brush marks from revealing through the leaf.
Enable the gold size to dry until it’s tacky but not wet. Read the gold-size bundle for the advised tack time.
Employ a sheet of gold leaf into the surface of the item. If the leaf is attached to tissue paper, then roll the leaf onto the surface by peeling the paper away. If you’re using loose sheets, use a gilder’s tip to pick up the corner of the sheet and lay it gently on the surface.
Brush the leaf gently with a dry paintbrush to push it in the indentations in the embossing. Duplicate the gold leaf application and dry-brushing before the surface is covered.
Rub the surface of the item using a white rag to come up with the contrast. This rubs away a piece of the gold leaf on lifted points, demonstrating the paint shade under.