For centuries, artists have embellished their creations with gold leaf to make them shimmer and shine, beginning with the use of it in sculptures and paintings in Egypt. Evident in everything from ancient artifacts to modern masterpieces, the glistening metallic accents can add an ethereal touch to any work of art. It has since been used for gilding candelabras to fixing gold frames and mirrors and much more.

Imitation gold leaf has been used in the art and craft supply industry for decades. Besides offering a less expensive and more versatile alternative to solid gold, gold leaf is celebrated for its ability to accentuate colour and form through luminous details.

Many contemporary creatives adorn their artwork with gold leaf. Adding gold leaf to a print or sculpture makes it that much more special. The one-off placement of hand-shaped leaf, which is a form of mark-making, adds an unexpected, rich layer to your work. Use a tiny bit in strategic places to give your piece a subtle pop or go big with large sheets of layered gold leaf to add a lot razzle-dazzle! The only limitation is your imagination.

The Mona’s Smile gold leaf set comes with 25 pieces of 15x15cm gold leaf metal sheets.

It can adhere to almost any two or three dimensional surfaces such as stretched canvas, timber panel, watercolour paper, polymer clay, papier-mâché, pottery, glass, and can even be applied on skin for fanciful costumes. Foiling techniques are also commonly used by designers and can be found in all forms of print stationery such as invitations.

To use and apply the gold leaf, mark out the area you would like your metal sheets to cover.

Apply a thin layer of gold size (gilding size) or tannin sealer with a paintbrush; either will do but make sure you use the right gold size and tannin sealer when gluing otherwise it will tarnish and turn green.
Gently lift out a sheet of gold leaf and backing paper and lay it over the gold size or tannin sealer. Smooth out any air bubbles and crinkles with a dry hake brush. We strongly recommend using a hake brush for this application because they are made of soft goat hair and won’t tear the wet leaf as easily. Let the glue dry with the leafing on it and don’t touch it for a minimum of 24 hours if possible.
Once the glue is completely dry, brush off the excess gold leaf where the glue hasn’t been placed. Voila, you’ll have a stunning piece and are good to go!

Gold leaf is fun to experiment with and provides an opulent, sophisticated touch to everything from furniture to paintings to hand-crafted gifts.