how to apply gold leaf on headstone

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. 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.