Today, we will be talking about how to Gold Leaf your scroll. In the TV announcer voice, ” Gold leaf your scroll using these easy to follow steps! Pictures included!”
Please note, these steps are all done on separate pieces of vellum so I can show them live and in person when I teach this technique. Some are very light in color, and you can see the skin pores on at least one. I didn’t want you to think the pictures were playing tricks with your eyes.
Step 1: Draft design in pencil or silverpoint on paper or vellum. (Yes, this scan is very light. I draw my silverpoint or pencil lines very lightly so they do not show through the finished image.)
Step 2: Ink design outline (and erase pencil if on paper, not on vellum).
Step 3: Apply binder (Gesso or AquaSize). Let dry. (This looks almost like the picture in step 2, however, the gesso does have a very light pink tint to it. This so so I can see where I have put it on the page.)
If using gesso, apply at least 2 coats. The first will seal the surface. The second will act as the binding agent. The other subsequent layers will build up and make a raised surface. Let dry completely between layers.
Step 4: Breathe hot, wet breath on binder surface to reconstitute just the surface. This makes the top of the binder sticky enough for the metallic leaf to adhere. Apply metallic leaf quickly. Press a little, very gently to make sure it sticks.
Step 5: Remove excess metal leaf with big soft brush. To make the brush have enough static cling to grab the metal leaf, rub the brush back & forth on your pants/t-shirt quickly (like a balloon on your hair). Transfer the larger loose pieces of metal leaf to a holding jar for use later. (This is used for patching small areas that the leaf did not stick to originally.)
Note: This is usually where the tiny bits of gold leaf get onto the floor in the pet zone. Be sure you clean it up now so you don’t find sparkly bits in the litter box.
Step 6: Refine edges by very gently and lightly rubbing with silk. Be careful to not rub the metal leaf off. Replace metal leaf where it may have not stuck with the first application.
It is at this point the metal leaf can be burnished with a very smooth stone and/or embossed. Place the piece of leather on a hard surface, with the paper or vellum on top of it (design up). Then place the piece of acetate on top of the paper or vellum.
Step 7: Ink edges for a finished look. (Note: check the original manuscript or style you are working with, not all of them have this final step.)
That’s it! You’ve just gold leafed yourself something hopefully wonderful.