The applying of the adhesive gold leaf is incomparably easier to achieve than the applying of free gold. Here is the technique I recommend:
- once you have defined your area to be gilded (artisanal base or industrial mixture), cut a slightly higher surface in your gold leaf, with sharpened scissors, and taking care not to lay your fingers on the leaf (just hold it by the margin)
- Grab this piece of gold leaf with a tweezers, and apply it on the area by pressing hard with your finger through the paper (place directly on the industrial mixtures; for the traditional gesso, just before applying the piece of gold you must warm with your breath to give it all its sticky power)
- remove the paper, the gold overflowing from the area to be gilded usually comes off at the same time as the rest but does not adhere to the parchment or paper. Just rub the edges with a soft brush to remove this excess
- the junctions between several pieces of gold are totally invisible, so you can « patch » without hesitating all the gaps you might see
- for the traditional gesso, do not forget to repeat the warm-up operation by blowing on it every time you place a new piece of gold leaf
- if you wish to burnish gold (operation consisting in polishing it rather strongly with an agate burnisher), I strongly advise you to lay two layers of gold leaves : indeed, the gold leaf is no longer beaten manually today, but mechanically, which gives it a very great finesse (about a few microns), but also a great fragility.
- before burnishing your gold, make a first test by interposing a sheet of silk paper (use the interlaying paper of the gold), to avoid directly rubbing the gold; once its solidity is verified, the surface of the gold can be rubbed directly