It is now time to apply the gold. For this you will need to have mixed up some ‘Gilders Mordant’. The frame will need to be firmly placed in front of you and be laying at an angle. You will be applying the water from the top to the bottom and the angle will ensure the correct flow of direction. To apply the water, you will need to use a Gilders Mop. This is a very fine squirrel hair mop that will not scratch the surface of the bole. It is important that you wet each section immediately prior to the application of the gold as it only takes seconds for the water to start separating on the bole. So, ensure the gold is already on the tip, ready to be placed upon the water IMMEDIATELY after application. Once the gold is on the tip and hovering over the piece to be gilded, dip the mop in the water and soak the area to be gilded. Take the mop away and immediately lower the gold on the tip onto the wet surface. In this example, I have wetted the top edge and front of the frame. You will find that the gold will literally jump onto the surface! This part is extremely tricky and will take some practice to get right. For tips on how to cut up gold and place on tip, please gohere.
You can now gild the entire piece in sequence. Start on the top and work your way down, working from left to right (or vice versa). Each piece of gold should overlap the surface gold by 5mm on any edges. Do one piece of gold at a time, ensuring that the gold is ready to be placed the moment the water is on the piece. The edges of the frame can be gilded by letting the gold fold over, or more easily on their own with thinner slivers of gold. Don’t be afraid to be a little generous with the gold, as trying to be frugal can result in a patch and rough finish. Also, don’t worry at all if you have any misses or cracks in the gold as you place it on the frame as this is natural at first and there are further processes to eliminate this problem. This is just the first coat! Relax and don’t worry.
Now your frame should be totally gilded, even though, inevitably you have a few misses and cracks. Allow the frame to dry for a few hours. The next step is called skewing. Using a dry gilders mop, (or a decent soft make-up brush) move lightly over the surface of the gold to remove the excess gold. These pieces (the skewing’s) can be kept in a small container for other decorative uses if desired. Use very gentle circular motions over the surface. You will find lots of small holes will appear in the surface of the frame, but don’t worry, we will eliminate them in the next section!
At this point you should have a frame with one layer of gold over it, with a few small holes and cracks in the surface gold. The next step is to ‘fault’ these misses and holes. This is done by using a much smaller brush and much smaller pieces of gold to cover these areas. An artist’s brush is ideal. I start off with large misses (dividing the leaf into 16 squares) and then gradually decrease the sizes. The corners will no doubt need special attention as may the edges. Do not be disheartened if you have a lot of holes, as practice inevitably will make perfect. Once this process has been completed, leave to dry again and skew the surface just as before.
Once you are satisfied, it is time to re-gild the entire surface again! This is of course optional, but I think necessary. It will ensure a nice even colour on the finished surface. Try not to let any gilding water on any surface not to receive gold, as this will stain the surface. Again, leave to dry and skewer. Depending on how well it is going, if needed, you can repeat faulting and gilding again. I know when I first started, I did. About twenty times! It isn’t easy at first! But persevere, you WILL get it eventually. Leave to dry and skew. There may be light staining on the surface of the gold. You can gently remove this by breathing on the stain and using your skewing mop to polish the stain off. At this point, you may burnish the gold to bring it to a high shine. I hope this helped. Any questions, Email me!