Metal Leaf / Composition

Imitation gold leafs, metal leafs or composition leafs are to be used indoor only. We stock Noris Imitation leaf (German), Nazionale (Italian), Taiwanese and Chinese. Available in booklets of 25 leafs or in packs of pack 10, 25, 100, 500, 1000 & 5000. All can be used on all surfaces with any gilding size. Recommended gilding adhesive: Permacoll Gilding Size and Mission or using the traditional method of Rabbit Skin Glue, which is a far cheaper option.

Gold Flakes

Edible gold flakes are made from genuine gold leaf. Honey, chocolates and cake manufacturers buy these flakes to add a luxury touch to their products. Use our edible gold flakes to beautify your desserts, chocolates, pastries and many other foods and beverages.

How do you apply edible gold leaf to a cake?

  • For the loose gold leaf, slide the gold leaf onto the cake. You can also use the Edible Leaf Application (Gilder’s Tip) to place the gold / silver leaf precisely where you want.
  • Always avoid touching gold leafs with your fingers.
  • Apply the leafs in a non-draught environment.
  • Avoid breathing over the leaf as this will cause the leaf to wrinkle or fly away.
  • Always keep the leafs in a dry place, between 10c and 30c.
  • Use the supplied edible gold or silver leafs within three years from the date of purchase.
  • For the edible gold leaf to stick, make sure your cake is free of any powder or sugar.
  • If the surface of the cake is wet or moist already, then that’s best, if it is dry and hard (such as biscuit) brush a thin layer of water over the area where you will apply the gold leaf using a food paintbrush.
  • Use the Edible Leaf Application Brush for picking up the gold leaf and place precisely where you want on the cake, the Gilder’s Tip is perfect for applying gold leaf vertically such as on the cake outside walls.
  • If you do not have the Edible Leaf Application Brush, slide the gold leaf to drop where you want. For Transfer gold leaf, face the gold side on the cake and then use cotton or the Transfer brush and press down gently on the back of the tissue paper to transfer the leaf from its tissue paper onto the cake.

How long does edible gold leaf last?

The edible gold leaf lasts up to three years from the date of manufacturing. Edible Gold is used in gourmet foods, such as cocktails, pastries as a decorative ingredient.

Is edible gold leaf real gold?

Yes, edible gold leaf or flakes are made of pure Gold 24k, however, it also comes in 23k, (99% gold and 1% silver) both genuine Gold and silver are safe to consume. Thus edible gold leaf is relatively inexpensive.

Can you use edible gold leaf on buttercream?

Buttercream is the perfect foundation for loose edible gold leaf because the leafs are so thin they will follow the contour of the butter and stick easily.

What does gold leaf taste like?

Edible Gold has no taste at all, it is nothing but a shiny glitter that adds luxury style to your food.

What is best: Loose or Transfer gold leaf?

Loose Edible Gold leaf: are best for soft surfaces such as cream, butter and jelly. Drop the loose-leaf, and it will stick by itself without having to press down on it.

Transfer Edible Gold leaf is best for the solid or hard surfaces where you can press down on the tissue paper to ensure that the gold has stuck on all the dentation and curves. Besides, the Transfer gold leaf is great for gilding the outside of your cake vertically.

How to gild on headstone with gold leaf

Turn your headstone into a long-lasting piece of art by using genuine gold leaf to preserve the details of the headstone. To gild on stone (headstone), you can follow two methods: one is by using KGGG System Fond and the second method is by using Instacoll Gilding size.
For using KGGG System go to How to gild with Kölner KGGG System Fond and follow the same instruction as in the article.

For Gilding Headstone with Instacoll Gilding Size, continue reading:

1- Preparing the headstone surface
The surface must be dry, free from dust and grease. The stone surfaces must be so smooth for the gold leaf to stick correctly and give that metallic shine.

2- Applying the Gilding Sizing (Adhesive)
Gilding Size, sometimes called adhesive, which is what makes the gold leaf stick to the surface. Remember, High-quality gilding size can last years, Kolner Instacoll gilding size (1hr) and Kolner Instacoll gilding size (4hr) are world best size for indoor and outdoor gilding. It is suitable for all genuine gold, silver and all metal leaf.

  • Apply one coat of a diluted mix of 9 parts Instacoll Base to 1 part water using Gilder’s Brush For Size Application. Allow about 40 minutes to dry.
  • Now apply a normal (undiluted) Instacoll size one or two layers to cover the surface well.
  • Let Instacoll dry entirely about an hour or so.

3- Gold leaf application
– Gold leaf for outdoor headstone
Genuine gold leafs are for indoor and outdoor gilding. However, for outdoor gilding use at least 23k to avoid oxidization. Genuine gold leafs are available in Transfer and Loose. The Transfer leafs are best for outdoor gilding where wind and draft make it challenging to handle the loose leafs.

  • Transfer gold leaf
    The individual gold leafs are pressed onto a tissue paper. It is more easily handled. It is also possible to cut the patent leaves into desired shapes/forms with scissors. The leafs are placed onto the prepared surface and carefully rubbed with Gilder’s Soft Wool Brush For Transfer Leaf Application. The tissue paper may then be removed as the gold leaf will adhere to the surface/object.
  • Loose Gold leaf
    The gold leafs are placed loosely and individually between folded tissue or in paper booklets, loosely inlaid in 25 compartments, one for each leaf. To cut the leaf, one may take it from the booklet with the gilder’s knife and place it on the gilder’s cushion or drop it directly from the booklet onto the gilding cushion. Then, pick up the leaf with the gilder’s tip and place it onto the prepared surface.
  • If you prefer to use loose gold leaf on the headstone, remember to apply the gold leaf before the Instacoll dry out.

– Gold leaf for the indoor headstone
If your headstone is going to be indoor only, you can use less than 23k gold you can even use metal (Imitation/composition) leaf too. However, it would be best if you used Leaf Protect or Shellac to seal the metal leaf and prevent oxidation.

4- The Activator
After the Instacoll has dried completely, apply the Activator (1hr) or Activator (1hr) with a Gilder’s Brush For Size Application and let it dry (5-10 min).

  • Firmly press down the gold leaves and rub with cotton over the transfer paper or use Gilder’s Soft Wool Brush For Transfer Leaf Application to press down the gold leaf.
  • Peel off the transfer paper, gently press down the gold leaf with the Instacoll Tissue once more and brush off the redundant gold. Burnish the gold with the Instacoll Tissue carefully.
  • Gilding time is unlimited, so if you are gilding a large project, you can re-use the Activator to reactivate the Instacoll adhesive and continue gilding, even months later.

5- Protecting the gilded surface
There is no need to varnish genuine gold leaf that is 23k and above unless it is in a high traffic area, in this case, use the Leaf Protect or Aqua Size. All metal leaf and genuine gold leaf which is less than 23k will tarnish over time, therefore, apply one or two coats of any of these two seals.

Choosing The Right Gilding Size (adhesive)

Whatever you want to gild, we have it for you. Bellow is our full range of gilding systems for gilding anything on anything:

Instacoll System

Instacoll gilding is for interior and exterior gilding. It can be used on wood, stone, plaster, metal and glass. For gilding with genuine gold leafsilver leaf, palladium leaf and white gold. It comes in gloss or matt finish.

The Instacoll Systemis made up of two components: The Baseand the Activator. The perfect adherence is achieved in two steps. Firstly the surface is treated by a base and secondly the adherence activating Activator is applied.

The application of the Activator can be applied at any time, even months later. Instacoll HA has a slightly better adherence and is especially developed for metal leaves that are thicker than the standard gold leaves. Instacoll HA Grey is especially developed for the processing of Silver and Palladium leaves. The proces- sing with Instacoll HA is the same as processing with normal Instacoll with the exception of an extended drying time.

Instacoll Base HA must dry a minimum of 48h before it can be activated with the Instacoll Activator HA. Instacoll Base can be used for signwriting without Activator. Let the surface dry after the application of Instacoll for about one hour. Then you will have about one hour for gilding. Use soft cloth for pressing down the gold leafs, e.g. the special Instacoll Tissue.

The activation can be done after 1-2 hours but also after 1 day, 1 week, 1 month or even after a year. This is why Instacoll Base should be applied to the complete surface.

All drying and processing times are base on temperatures between 15-20°C and a humidity of 50-80%).

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Kolner Classic Poliment

For professional gilding and associated restoration work. Poliment —also known as bole— is a clay-like substance. It serves as a base layer for the gold leaf when gilding poliment. It is applied to the prepared surface, which is usually Gesso. Gesso is a mixture of chalk and glue (rabbit skin glue). The poliment layer and the underlying layer of Gesso create a layer that permits the polishing of gold with agate burnishers. Poliment gilding can only be used on absorbing surfaces.

The polimentcomes unprepared and has to be mixed with a rabbit skin glue before it can be applied. But also available premixed boleand ready to be applied as is.

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Kolner Permacoll Size

For interior applications only. Permanent contact adhesive on acryl base. It is usable for interior applications only. It has more adhesive strength than Instacoll and is therefore particularly well suited for gilding with imitation metal leaf,silverand copper. This high-quality adhesive ensures a special shine for all metal leaves. A poliment gilding effect can also be easily imitated with the red Permacoll.

The Permacoll Size offers far more flexibility than oil sizes with their long drying times and short working times. Permacoll Size dries within 15 to 30 minutes, depending upon thickness and remaining pourosity of surface. Metal leaf can be applied hours or even days later. This product is designed for the attainment of decorative metallic surfaces that are not exposed to the weather or excessive wear. It is not burnishable.

Permacoll Gilding Size is recommended as an adhesive for metal leaf on all types of non-porous surfaces, smooth or textured. Uses include the preparation of frames, the decoration of sets for theater, film, and window displays as well as architectural ornaments.

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Permacoll Patina

Patina on acryl base. Suitable for simulated aging of gilded surfaces indoors. Creates high contrast and vivid gilding. Suitable for all kinds of gold leaf and metal leaf with the use of all adhesive techniques.

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Kölner Leaf Protect Varnish

High quality transparent water-based protective lacquer. To protect the gilded surfaces from external influences and oxidation. The metallic luster is not lost and the adhesive base is not destroyed. Kölner Leaf Protect on gold and metal leaf is only suitable for interior use.

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Kolner KGGG System Fond

The Kölner KGGG system consists of three components: Component 1 is impregnation agent (Sealer PSealer 123A), Component 2 is burnishing clay (Fond) and Component 3 is a size for water gilding (Colnasol).

Formulated for brush application, Kolner Fond is a water-based burnishable gesso primer for gold, silver and composition leaf.

The components are water dilutable and applied without warming. Thereby you safe time and get a good adhesive between the different layers.

Kölner Fond is a water-based, one-layer gilders clay, which replaces the Gesso and bole/poliment layers of the traditional system. The Fond can be applied directly in the correct colour without warming the product. Usually, 4 to 6 layers are applied, depending on the type of the present reliefs. A dry film thickness of 150 μm must be reached everywhere where later the leaf metal will be burnished.

Firstly, the Fond must be stirred. Don’t shake, otherwise air bubbles will arise. Applying the Fond occurs in at least 4 layers. As soon as the last layer has dried, it should be mildly polished with a damp cloth. Afterwards, it is polished with Polishing Paduntil it shines.

This product – available in 7 colors- is ideally suited for creation of water gilded and burnished frames, interior architectural elements and furniture ornaments, to achieve a traditional look for less effort.

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KGGG-System Sealer Pand Sealer 123a

The impregnation agent is used to seal an absorbing surface, which forms a film inside the material without building a closed layer at the surface. Such materials are, amongst others, plaster and paper material. The impregnation agent improves the adhesion between the work material and the following primer coat. Therefore, it is very important that the correct impregnation agent is used.

The impregnation agent provides a better adhesive for the KGGG-Fond.

Kölner Sealer P is a water dilutable, acrylic resin dispersion. The solvent content is < 1 %. After film building, the layer can only be removed with acetone or ethanol. Brushes should be washed out with water. The product can be stored for at least 1 year.

Advantage of Sealer P over Sealer 123 A are an enhanced provision of adhesion of Kölner KGGG Fond and spray fond, as well as a lower impregnation depth for extremely absorbing underlayers, e.g. plaster. Sealer 123a is diluted with water. It is applied to diminish absorbing surfaces, and to secure the adhesion of the next layer of fond. It can be used for gilding on plaster, stone and wood.

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Kolner Relief Plaster

The Kölner Relief plaster is a repair compound used for picture frames, or for relief from wood or plaster. The special thing is that the dried Relief plaster can be poliment gilded directly on small repair areas, without applying KGGG fond.

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Rapid Stone Mason

Kolner Rapid is specifically developed for stone mason requirements such as headtone gilding and statues, stone buildings. The adhesive is applied undiluted in two layers with a brush. After approximately 15 minutes of drying (depending on the thickness of the Rapid layer, temperature, and relative humidity), you can either apply a second layer of Rapid or you can start gilding. Beware that the Rapid layer must be completely dry before gilding. After that, you have three days open time to make a high-quality gilding.

If it concerns a strongly absorbing surface, several layers of adhesive can be applied. Make sure that the layer is always completely dry before painting a next layer.

Sealing the stone is then no longer necessary. Working with Kölner Rapid is comfortable and safe, and will quickly feel natural. Especially work outdoors can be done fast, yet with high quality, for example on site or/and at the cemetery.

For large surfaces, Kölner Rapid can be sprayed as well after diluting it with no more than 8 % distilled water. A low pressure sprayer with a nozzle size of 1 – 1,5 mm is recommended.

Kolner Rapid can also be applied with a brush. Colours: Yellow or clear, drying time only 15 minutes, open time up to 8 hours guarantee.

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Miniatum Gilding On Paper & Leather

Kölner Miniatum Size for high gloss for gilding on paper, vellum, leather and flexible surfaces. Kölner Miniatum products are developed for the gilding of paintings and writings (calligraphy).

It is easy to use. Apply, let it dry and metallize it with transfer gold leaf within the next 24 hours. Product feature: On the basis of a watery, glycol-containing acrylic dispersion. It contains small quantities butylcarbitol. Make sure that there is sufficient ventilation while working with this product!
High gloss gilding and silvering. Particularly used on paper and other flexible surfaces, but can also be used on non-flexible surfaces. Kölner Miniatum should be processed at a room temperature between 15 – 25 °C. Additional dilution with water is possible. However, this should not exceed 5 %. It can be stored for at least 1 year after production. Brushes, pens and so on should be cleaned with soap and water, as long as the size has not formed a film. For longer works, periodic cleaning with water can become necessary, in particular with high temperature surroundings. Cleaning with alcohol or acetone is possible after filming.

The elastic nature of the size assures a long lasting gilded surface. The turning of illuminated pages will not cause the leaf to delaminate. Adhesion is guaranteed on paper, vellum (degreased), smooth leather and different plastic foils (plasticizer-free), as well as on metal-concealed papers (aluminium) and a lot of other materials.

Miniatum is especially important for gilding in the domain of book illumination. Even without agate burnishing, surfaces with spectacular high-gloss can be achieved. Miniatum works perfectly when high gloss is desired, especially for small surfaces.

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Ceramic Gilding

Ceramic is a gilding adhesive for complementing and repairing imperfections in high gloss gildings on porcelain or ceramics. A dilution with water is possible. The products KT-5 and KT-5-hv can be mixed with each other.

Ceramic gilding size kt5 in gel form. With this product, small imperfections and bursts in ceramic material can be filled. After film building, it can be gilded with transfer gold. The result is a high gloss gilding.

Gilding size for mirror gloss gilding on china and ceramics. Formulated for repairing of small injuries of gilded china or ceramics. KT 5 / KT 5hv is a water based non burnishable size for patent gold. KT – 5 hv should be applied with a small spatula or surface knife. The metal shine is mirror like after polishing with cotton wool. KT 5 / KT 5hv can be intermixed and thinned with water.

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Traditional Water Gilding

Traditional water gilding is time consuming but very rewarding and much cheaper than todays new products. You will need to make your gesso. Mix the Rabbit Skin Glueand apply layer or two of clay(bole). The bole allows for polishing the gold with an agate stone burnisher to get a very smooth and shiny effect. The results of water gilding is an impressive gold finish.

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How to gild with gold leaf – for new gilders

1. Preparation
Gently, sand the surface if necessary, with 220 grit sandpaper for a smooth finish.

2. Prime the surface
Ensure that the surface is sufficiently primed with a water-based primer. A can of spray primer or a liquid primer applied with a brash would do the job.

3. Apply the bole or the base colour
Once the primer is fully dry, you are ready to apply the base colour for the leaf. The colour you use now will have a significant effect on the final look of your gilded object. To get a vibrant old red colour for both genuine and imitation gold leaf use red bole but if you want a yellow shiny gold colour then use a yellow bole  colour. Remember the base color will be showing through on the finished gilded object. Best practice is to do a test first, one with yellow bole and another with red bole, just one leaf for each to see the results. 

Choosing the right Bole: Bole is made from clay, and they come in three colours: red (Terra-cotta)black and yellow. The red colour adds warmth to both gold and silver leaf. A yellow bole colour creates an overall gold shiny appearance and hides any cracks on the gilded surface. However, a black bole colour creates a cold and hard look, which is suitable for Neoclassical, and Art Deco look.

4. Apply the gilding size/adhesive
The gilding size will bond the leaf to the surface. For interior gilding, use a water base gilding size. Use a brush to apply the size making sure that you create an even film all over the surface that need gilding.

5. Water-based adhesive
Water-based Gilding size usually has a working period of 30 minutes up to 24h to apply the gold leaf. However, sometimes it dries faster while applying the gold leaf and in some cases, it leaves some brush strokes. To avoid this problem stair the adhesive regularly just before using. 

6. Applying the Gold Leaf
Gold leaf (loose): The gold leaf is placed in paper booklets, loosely inlaid in 25 compartments, one for each leaf. To cut the leaf, one may take it from the booklet with the gilding knife and place it on the gilding cushion or drop it directly from the booklet onto the gilding cushion. Then, pick up the leaf with the gilder’s tip and place it onto the prepared surface.

Gold leaf patent (Transfer): The individual gold leaves are pressed onto a tissue paper. One uses patent gold, also called tempest gold when gilding outdoors. The tissue paper is larger than the gold leaf. Thus it may be more easily handled. It is also possible to cut the patent leaf into desired shapes or forms with scissors. The leaf is placed onto the prepared surface (Instacoll Gilding Size) and carefully rubbed with cotton wool or Kölner Instacoll Tissue. The tissue paper may then be removed as the gold leaf will adhere to the surface/object.

7. Burnishing the leaf
If you are using water-based gilding size, then use a soft brush to clean any excess of gold flakes. Do not use regular painter’s brushes because they will scratch the leafs and wipes off the shiny gold finish. Instead, use gilding brushes. Professional gilders use an agate stone burnisher for water gilding, which is easy, move your hand in all directions while pressing down softly.

8. Finishing quality
Search for areas that you have missed and apply some gold leaf to cover up all surfaces to your liking and burnish them too.

9. Seal the gilded surface
To protect the gold leaf, especially the imitation one, use Leaf Protect or make your own using Shellak, which will protect the gold leaf from tarnishing and ensure durability, especially in high traffic areas or for heavy use objects and furniture.

10. Old and Antique
To create an antique finish, use Patina Aging on acryl base to simulate aging. Patina comes in red, brown, and transparent.

For gilding without making gesso and clay read: Kolner KGGG System