Thursday 1 December 2011

How To Gild: Part 2: Transfer Leaf

Welcome to Part 2 of our
How To Gild series,
perfect for achieving a festive finish.

{If you missed Part 1,
which covers what you'll need to get started,
then you can find it here.}

This week, we're looking at transfer leaf.
{All materials are available to purchase from Relics of Witney - just click on the links.}

Metal leaf can be bought in two forms:
Of the two, transfer leaf is less daunting for a beginner as the waxed-paper backing allows you a firmer hold, as well as strengthening the leaf.

We've used walnuts in this tutorial to allow us to show you, in detail, the techniques involved when applying transfer leaf.

Begin by brushing your surface with a layer of emulsion. By applying the paint thinly, the details of the surface will show through more clearly. Bear in mind that if you like a distressed finish then the colour of the paint is the colour that will show through beneath the gilding. We used {left to right} Farrow and Ball Calke Green, Hague Blue, Brassica and Plummet.

Coat the painted surface with size (the special glue used for gilding) and wait for the allotted time (usually about fifteen minutes). When ready, the size becomes tacky and transparent, and has a slight sheen.

How you apply the transfer leaf depends on the shape of your object. These walnuts are spherical so we rolled the transfer paper around the nuts, pressing firmly to ensure that all lumps and bumps were coated. The waxed paper peels away, leaving the leaf clinging to the size.

Unwrap the nut and check for any unleafed areas. Then reapply a new area of the transfer leaf until you're satisfied with the coverage.

Softly rub the nut with a clean brush to remove any loose flakes of leaf. Then apply a thin coat of wax with a soft cotton cloth to protect the gilded finish. We've used Liberon's Antique Pine wax. If you want a distressed look then rub a little harder in places, particularly over corners and edges.

After the allotted time, buff the waxed surface with a clean cotton cloth.
Rub harder if you need any further distressing. We left one walnut completely covered with the silver transfer leaf and distressed the other so that you can easily see the effect of the Brassica paint peeking through the gilding.

Then stand back and admire your handiwork.
Don't they look lovely and festive?

Come back next week for a closer look at loose leaf gilding.

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