Gilding Recipes

There are several different ways to make up the components used in gilding and, in many instances the recipes themselves tend to be well guarded secrets. Depending on the jobs being completed, a range of mixes may need to be of varying strengths and consistencies for different purposes and many factors can have a bearing on the ideal strength of the mixes - such as humidity or if the surface to be gilded is flat or carved. This all comes down to personal preference.

It has been said that there are as many recipes for gilding as there are gilders, and this has a sense of truth to it, as each gilder will tweak the recipe for their own use. What I have provided here is a basic guide for the creation of rabbit skin glue size, gesso and bole. With time and experience however, these recipes can (and should!) be tweaked to produce products that are best suited to your own unique and individual style and needs.

Rabbit Skin Glue

The base material for all the other recipes, here is where you will learn to make Rabbit Skin Glue.



Gesso is the white coating that's found on the wood and forms the foundation for the gilding itself.



Purchased as a very refined clay, bole needs to be mixed with RSG before use. Details are here.


Gilding Water

Gilding water is the mixture that is used to apply the gold onto the surface - hence water gilding. This mixture is also suitable for glass gilding.