When gilding externally on stone we would recommend that you use 23.5ct Gold Leaf or above, as anything lower in carat will tarnish due to the elements outside.
When carving the lettering in stone, hand cut lettering will always look better than sandblasted lettering, this is because the V shape catches the light and reflects the Gold. If sandblast lettering, try not to blast too shallow as this will make the leaf look flat and will not last very long or too deeply as this can make the leaf look bronzed and will not reflect the light.
Once the lettering is all ready it will need an undercoat either in the form of Transparent Sealer or a gloss enamel paint. This seals the stone prior to gilding so it is no longer porous and will not absorb the gold size. You may need more than one coat of undercoat and this will need to dry hard before applying the Gold Size.
Once dry, it is now ready to apply the Gold Size, this will need to be an oil based Gold Size and many Gilders prefer the tinted size which is off a yellow ochre colour, this enables the gilder to see where they have painted the size and also if any small parts have been missed when gilding, this will not show as it will blend in, being close in colour. Most preferably when gilding on stone most gilders use the Lymmit 1 hour tinted gold size. This is brushed onto the lettering thinly and once tacky like the dry tack on a post it note it is then ready to apply the Gold Leaf. The drying time for the size and enamel may vary depending on the temperature of where you are working. It will be anything from approximately 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Most Monumental Masons use Loose Gold Leaf when gilding on stone and there are several ways to apply the leaf, everybody having their own technique that works for them. The leaf is usually rolled from the booklet onto the prepared lettering and then brushed over with a Gilders Mop to brush away any excess leaf. If the lettering is not too small and deep Transfer Leaf can be used which when working outside can be easier for you as it eliminates the risk of the leaf blowing away. The Transfer Leaf is adhered to a piece of acid free tissue paper and this is placed Gold faced down onto the prepared lettering and then with a rubber eraser or a soft cloth, gently rub the back of the tissue paper and this will allow the leaf to be released from the tissue paper. Again, gently brush over the gold leaf with a Gilders Mop to brush away any excess leaf.
Once the gilding has all been completed this should be left to allow the size/paint to dry hard. Once it is completely dry you can then use a sharp blade to scrape away the excess size/paint and undercoat. Wash away all residue with clean water.
To pick out colour on headstones, Monumental Masons use Wright-it Gloss Enamel Paints or One Shot Gloss Enamel Paints, these are available in a large range of colours, in 118ml, 236ml and 250ml tins.
Transparent Sealer - Series 3886, Available in 250ml
Wright-it Gloss Enamel Paints - Series 6263- **, Available in a wide range of colours in 250ml tins
One Shot Gloss Enamel Paints - Series 6280-**, Available in a wide range of colours in 118ml & 236ml tins
Lymmit Gold Size - Series 3890 & 3891, Available in 1 hour and 4 hour drying times and in Clear or Tinted, 250ml tins
Ox Hair FillingIn Brushes - Series 1392, available in 12mm, 18mm, 25mm, 37mm, 50mm, 75mm and 100mm
Squirrel Hair Gilders Mops - Series 1420 & 1422, available in Sizes 2,4,6,8 and 10
Gold Leaf Loose & Transfer - Available in carats from 24ct down to 6ct, Palladium Leaf, Genuine Silver Leaf, Imitation Gold & Silver Leaf, Copper Leaf.


Wrights of Lymm also offer a comprehensive range of gilding starter kits that would be ideal if you are looking to start gilding for the first time and the starter kits can be found on the Starter kits page of our website.