We tell you how to add luxury to your home us­ing gold leaf

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Home Decorating -

The ma­te­rial Gold leaf is made of pieces of gold that have been ham­mered into a thin foil (sil­ver and other met­als are also avail­able). It can be bought as trans­fer sheets within a book or on a roll. Pure gold can be very ex­pen­sive, es­pe­cially if you are ap­ply­ing it to large ar­eas, but ar­ti­fi­cial gold is more af­ford­able and, as it tends to be sold in thicker sheets, can be eas­ier to ap­ply. The prepa­ra­tion Lightly sand the sur­face that you want to gild. Use a gilders primer as an un­der­coat – it’s im­por­tant that the sur­face is non-por­ous – in a colour that will act as an un­der­tone for the leaf. Red will cre­ate warmth be­neath gold, while grey or blue will com­ple­ment the cooler tones of sil­ver leaf. The ap­pli­ca­tion The ad­he­sive used to ap­ply the gold leaf to a sur­face is called size. It will dry to a tacky con­sis­tency within a few hours and, im­por­tantly, will stay that way long enough for you to ap­ply the del­i­cate leaf. If you are us­ing trans­fer leaf, take a sheet out of the book­let and place it face down onto the ‘sized’ area. Gently rub the back­ing pa­per to re­lease the gold onto the sur­face. As you con­tinue gild­ing, over­lap each leaf by about two mil­lime­tres. Loose leaf is trick­ier to han­dle and re­quires prac­tice to ap­ply – use a gilders knife to lift each leaf and blow on it to en­cour­age it to lay flat. The trade trick If you are gild­ing a small area, cut each leaf into small mo­saic squares. Dab some Vase­line on to your hand to lift each square and ap­ply with a cot­ton bud. The fin­ish Leave the gold leaf for a few hours be­fore brush­ing lightly with a soft gilders brush to pro­duce a bur­nished fin­ish. 22-carat leaf does not ox­i­dise and, there­fore, does not need to be sealed, but a lower qual­ity or ar­ti­fi­cial foil should be sealed with an acrylic top­coat to pre­vent tar­nish­ing (try Gold Leaf Sup­plies). ➤

‘I have al­ways seen my­self more as a col­lec­tor than a de­signer. It may seem devil-may-care to mix such dis­parate el­e­ments in my home. But it works’

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