LOOSE LEAF: Very delicate, thin sheets or leaves of gold. Commercially available in booklets of 25
sheets laying between prepared tissue with out adherence of any kind, hence the term loose leaf.
Each leaf is about three and one third inch squares square. Gold leaf is available in many karat grades
24K is preferable nothing below 23K should not be used.
PATENT LEAF: Gold leaf adhered to tissue. Patent leaf is excellent for oil mordant or dry gilding
techniques however it is not suitable for water gilding on panels or wet method gilding techniques
in manuscript illumination.
COMPOSITION LEAF: A substitute for actual gold leaf, composition gold leaf is a foil comprised
of alloyed metals such as copper and zinc. It is thicker than gold leaf and will not burnish. It is
stable over time. Composition leaf comes in many varieties and is sold in 6 inch squares.
SHELL GOLD: Powered gold bound with gum arabic as a watercolor would be. It is used in the
manner of a watercolor tablet for embellishments on illuminations. Shell gold is sold in small pellets
or buttons from gold leaf supply houses. It is more expensive to use than leaf gold, but very easy to
work with. A few drops of water on the gold button allowed to sit will reconstitute the shell gold, it is
actually a paint.
GILDERS TIP: A flat brush with a single, or double, layer of hairs held together by a flat card used
to move gold leaf and lay it onto the surface to be gilded. Modern gold leaf is much thinner than
historic leaf and can not be touched. The tip is made just very slightly oily either from the gilders skin
or by rudding a little petrolium jelly into the skin on the back of the hand and then running the tip over
the spot a few times... it should not be greassy.
GILDERS KNIFE: Long straight edged knife used to cut leaf into manageable or appropriate size. The
knife is not sharp but must have a very clean, smooth edge free of the smallest imperfections to
avoid tearing the leaf.
GILDERS CUSHION: A flat surface on which to lay and cut gold leaf. The cushion is typically a rectangular
board with a cotton or felt padding covered with suede. It should be fairly solid but with a little give to
the touch. The gilders cushion is usually about 5 or 6 by 10 inches in size, smaller cushions are difficult to use.
BURNISHER: A very smooth stone held by a wooden handle used to polish the finished gilding to a bright finish.
ADDITIONAL STUDIO TOOLS
MEASURING CUPS/ SPOONS
FINE SAND PAPER, KNIFE, RAZOR BLADES
MATERIALS: see section "Preparations and Recipes"
FILLERS: slaked plaster, chalk, gypsum, whiting