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The rich glow of gilding of everyday objects transforms them&leaves the people spell bound. The rich glow of gilded picture and mirror frames, ornaments and decorative items enhances their appeal and kindled a desire to learn the art of gilding.

The application of gold leaf is a process known as water gilding.It needs long training, skill, time, hardworkand patience to master so itschallenging for beginners. Gold leaf is extremely fragile by nature, and will adhere to almost any moisten surface. Professional gilders could take months of practice to become proficient at handling gold leaf.

Today’s gold beaters have entered the world of high technology with computerized beating machines and modern substitutes of essential raw materials The modern method of creating gold leaf involves the use of metal rollers capable of compressing gold to a thickness of only 1/250,000th of an inch.

The finished gold leaf can be cut into small sheets and sandwiched between layers of glassine paper, one of the few substances to which gold leaf will not adhere.

There are two main types of gilding: oil, and water gilding. The names indicate the method by which the metal leaf is applied to the surface. Oil gilding is the cheaper and easier method for applying gold leaf. The advantage of oil gilding is that it can be applied to any smooth non-porous surface, so a piece of furniture, or a frame, only needs to be painted beforehand. The disadvantage is that it cannot be burnished. Traditional water gilding is complicated to learn, more expensive in labour, but much more beautiful. Gesso must be used, as the burnishing which takes place soon after the gold has been layed actually compresses the softened gesso ground so creating a smooth, polished surface to which the gold is melted in an apparently solid mass.