Those geniuses at Mona’s Smile have been busy creating the ultimate gold leaf sheets booklet. These alluring metallic sheets have been used in the art and craft industry for millennia. Gold leaf history started with the use of thin applications of beaten gold on sculpture, thrones, and murals way back in the antiquities of Egypt. The first thing Howard Carter, the discoverer of King Tutankhamun’s tomb, said when he peered through the freshly made crevasse in the tomb wall was “I see wonderful things”. It was gold leaf-covered treasures he saw glittering in the light of his candle. Ever since then, these delicate metallic sheets have been used for gilding candelabras, making gold frames, and ornamenting mirrors. More recent contemporary uses include the embellishment of artwork. Where would Klimt have been without it?
Gold leaf can adhere to just about anything, both two and three-dimension surfaces. Whatever you decide to coat with these ultra-purposeful sheets is as unlimited as your imagination. Stretched canvas, timber panels, watercolour paper, Polymer clay, papier-mâché; even pottery can be enhanced by the addition of metal sheets. Foiling techniques are routinely used by designers and can also be found in all forms of print stationery. Where would wedding invitations be without it?
Contemporary artists who sell limited edition print runs love to add gold leaf embellishments. It allows you to individualise the artwork even more. The one-off placement of hand-shaped leaf in the form of mark-making, adds a different dimension to your work and can give your print a bit of razzle-dazzle and pop. Make sure you use the right gold size and tannin sealer when gluing the gold leaf. If you do not, it will tarnish and go green.
How to Apply
When you use the metallic sheets, simply mark out the area that you would like your gold leaf metal sheets to cover. Apply a thin layer of gold size or tannin sealer with a paintbrush. This is a water- or acrylic-based adhesive for use with materials made of pure gold for the purposes of gilding. Gently lift out a sheet of leafing and backing paper and lay over the gold size or tannin sealer. Smooth out air bubbles and crinkles with a dry hake brush. Hake brushes are the popular go-to tool for this job, as they are made of soft goat hair and won’t tear the wet gold leaf as easily. Let the glue dry with the leafing on it – don’t be tempted to pull the leaf off while the glue is still wet. Be patient if you want to get the best results. It’s best to leave it in place and untouched for 24-hours if you can. When you return to your work the following day, brush off the excess gold leaf, wherever it did not attach to the glue. Et voilà, you have accomplished your gold leaf enhancement.