What Is Gold Leaf?
What is Gold Leaf
Gold Leaf is gold that has been beaten into thin sheets by goldbeating. Gold Leaf is used for gilding and has been used to decorate a wide range of different objects such as picture frames, signs, furniture and monuments for thousands of years. Gold Leaf is a very bright material especially when exposed to sun light. Gold Leaf can be used on practically any surface. Gold leaf can also be called gold leaf foil because of how thin the gold leaf is. Gold Leaf is about 0.5 microns in thickness. In comparison human hair is around 60 microns in thickness. Gold leaf is so thin that when it is held up against light it is possible to see through it. Gold Leaf needs to be handled with care in order to prevent any damage being done to it.
Different Shades and Carats of Gold Leaf
Gold Leaf is available in wide range of different shades and carats. 24ct Gold Leaf is the purest form that gold leaf is available in as it is 99.9% pure gold. 24ct will not tarnish or oxidize over time unlike imitation gold leaf or lesser karats as it is 99.9% pure .24ct Gold Leaf is quite yellowish in colour. 22ct gold leaf can be referred to as moon gold and it is typically 92% gold, with other elements of palladium. It is usually used on picture frames. 12ct gold is commonly called white gold as it only contains 50% gold and the rest is typically silver. This gives the gold leaf either a whiter or redder colour. 12ct gold leaf will tarnish or change colour when it is exposed to weather conditions.
How is Gold Leaf packaged?
Gold Leaf is packaged in paper books and is available in two different formats the first is Loose Gold Leaf. Loose leaf is leaf placed loosely between the sheets of the book. The leaf cannot be handled and is normally lifted directly from the book with a special brush, tip or tweezers and then placed onto the surface.
The second way that Gold Leaf can be packaged would be transfer leaf. Transfer leaf is leaf placed on a sheet of acid free tissue paper within the book which is larger than the leaf, therefore each sheet can be removed individually. It can then be placed face down and with slight pressure the metal will be released onto the surface, rather like a child’s transfer. It is usually easier to use transfer leaf then loose. Each of the books of both loose and transfer are normally made up of 25 leaves
What Size is the Gold Leaf?
The industry standard size for gold leaf is 80mm x 80mm, however other sizes are available. Imitation gold leaf is available in a range of different sizes depending on the producer of the imitation leaf.
Imitation Gold Leaf – Add a Gold Shine to Anything
The same process that is used in the application of gold leaf onto surface is used in imitation gold, copper and silver too. Gold is available in three colours, shade 2.5, shade 2 and shade 1. You can virtually use imitation gild on any material including furniture. For gilded statues, crafts and other decoration projects you can use the gold leaf to give it a fine touch.
What is Imitation Gold Leaf?
Whilst there is no real substitution for the finish that Gold Leaf can provide. There is an alternative to using genuine gold leaf which is Imitation Leaf. Imitation Leaf is a cheaper alternative to using genuine gold leaf and it is quite easy to use. Imitation gold leaf is suitable for use on pretty much any surface such as wood panels, canvas , panels , glass and ceramics. Imitation gold leaf is applied in much the same way as genuine gold leaf. Imitation gold leaf is also available in a 3 different shades which as commonly referred to as Shade 1 , Shade 2 and Shade 2.5.
What are the features of Imitation Gold Leaf
Imitation gold leaf can also be known as Dutch metal or Schlag Metal. Imitation gold leaf is typically made of a brass alloy that is then hammered into fine sheets in much the same way as genuine gold leaf. Imitation gold leaves are not as thin as genuine gold ones. However Imitation gold leaf is more cost-effective than standard gold leaf. Imitation gold leaf is also capable of leaving a golden finish on the surface that it has been applied to.
What is Transfer Leaf?
Transfer leaf is leaf placed on a sheet of tissue paper within the book which is larger than the leaf, therefore each sheet can be removed individually. It can then be placed face down and with slight pressure the metal will be released onto the surface, rather like a child’s transfer. It is usually easier to use transfer leaf then loose. Transfer leaf is suitable to be gilded onto flat surfaces. Transfer leaf is recommended when applying gold leaf to gilded ceiling , walls , furniture and flat frames.
How to finish will Imitation Leaf leave
When using Imitation gold leaf, it is important that the area that is gilded is sealed before you apply the imitation gold leaf, as it will tarnish over a period of time. To make sure that the Imitation gold leaf will receive the best possible finish. Once the gilding has been completed the imitation gold will need be covered with a lacquer or a varnish in order to protect the metal leaf. Imitation gold leaf can be applied with a varnish in order to give it a timeless look , when applied correctly it can be difficult to tell the difference between genuine gold leaf and imitation gold leaf
How can Gold Leaf be used for headstones?
Gold Leaf is used for many different purposes within the gilding trade. One of them is that it is used to gild headstones. The most common carat that is used to gild headstones is 23.5ct. Applying genuine gold leaf on a stone surface helps to create an elegant headstone. When applying gold leaf to an exterior surface adhesives, tack and drying time are some of things to consider. It is also important when gilding the surface to use a suitable primer and this will make sure that the gold leaf will have an appropriate surface to rest against.
How long will a headstone take to dry?
One of the most important parts of applying gold leaf onto a headstone is to recognise the tack time of the size on the surface itself and how long it will take to dry on the surface. For a good professional finish , you will need to know the exact time it will take the size to dry. The correct time to apply the gold leaf itself is when the surface is tacky and not completely dry , when the gold leaf is applied during this point will help to produce a fine finish. When using gold leaf on exterior surfaces headstones it is important that the gold leaf is at least 22ct , this will help to leave a perfect finish and any lower carat can tarnish over a period of time.
What is Gilding?
Gilding a decorative technique that can be used to apply gold leaf or powder onto any surface such as stone , wood and metal in order to leave a fine finish. In order to start the gilding process you will need to have all of the necessary materials to carry out the job. One of the materials you will need will be a size , there are two different sizes that you can use either a water or oil-based sizes are both suitable to be used to apply gold leaf or silver leaf to metals or any surfaces both internal and external. Water- based size is not suitable for external gilding as this can lead to the finish tarnishing over a period of time due to the weather conditions.
Preparing the surface for gilding
Before starting the gilding process it is important to prepare the surface correctly, this can be scrubbing the surface will sandpaper in order to remove any debris that could course issues when applying the gold leaf. It is important that the surface that will be gilded will be nonporous. If the surface that is to be gilded is metallic it is also quite important to remove any of the dirt or any grease from the surface and make sure that it is completely clean.
Applying gold Leaf
Before applying gold leaf to an area, a size will need to be selected. Oil-based sizes varying in drying times and this will also depend on the surface area that you are working on. It is quite important that you know the drying time in order to gauge the tack. A thin layer or size should be applied to the surface . The tack you are looking for is like the dry tack on a post it note which will allow the gold leaf to be placed on top of it. It is important that the gold leaf should not be applied whilst the surface is still wet. Doing this can tarnish the surface. The gold leaf can be applied from the booklets using either a gilders tip or a soft brush. Once all of the gold leaf has been applied it should be left for several hours in order to drive. Genuine gold leaf of 22ct and above does not need to be sealed because it will not oxidize. All high carat gold leaf does not need to be varnished, though anything lower than 22ct will need to be varnished in order to prevent oxidation.