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Applying gold leaf to canvas

Understand how to master this delicate technique.


Video Transcript
0:07    Hi There. In this video I'm going to show you how to apply gold leaf to a primed canvas, or a sized gesso panel. Here's my primed canvas board, with a square painted in an off-white, some Japan Gold Size and gold transfer leaf.

0:24    Apply some Winsor & Newton Japan Gold Size - which is oil based - to the area you want to gild. Paint it on thinly - as a thick coat of size will make the surface uneven. Japan Gold Size is solvent based and can be used on a variety of sealed surfaces. If your surface is not primed the oil in the size will be absorbed too quickly. Remember when using solvent based materials, to make sure your work space is well ventilated.

0:58    Wait for the surface to become tacky. Now it's ready to gild. If it dries too much, paint on some more size and wait again until tacky. Carefully position a sheet of gold leaf over the size and lower into place. I'm using an aluminium gold leaf with a transfer backing. Loose sheets are much more difficult to handle. Don't try to reposition it as it is so delicate it will rip.

1:28    Press the gold leaf and backing sheet onto the size and leave to dry. Once dry, slowly and carefully peel off the transfer backing. Brush away the excess leaf with a soft dry brush. You can use this technique to add beautifully lustrous areas to your work.

I hope you've enjoyed this video.