gilding with instacoll and activator

Instacoll System Base and Activator

Instacoll is a size for the attainment of a high gloss (and matt too) weather-resistant exterior and interior gilding. It can be used on nearly all substrates that have been prepared using standard accepted techniques to create weather-resistant surfaces. Do not use directly on glass outdoors. For indoor gilding it is sufficient to have or to prepare a non porous surface. Agate burnishing is not possible nor even necessary.

Before gilding Instacoll needs to be a completely dry film. This film will be activated with Instacoll – Activator prior to leaf application, preferably patent gold (transfer gold leaf). After activating the Instacoll-surface is now prepared that gold leaf adhere superbly with a maximum of burnish effect.

Application: Porous surfaces such as row wood, stone, plaster… should first be coated with a 15% water/Instacoll diluted solution. After  30 minutes of drying this coating can be covered with a more generous, full strength layer of Instacoll. As mentioned above some materials in weathering need more than a simple pre-paint with Instacoll to achieve a weather resistant coating. – The rules of the craft of painting have to be strictly observed!

  • Apply Instacoll with a soft brush (nylon) or a sprayer. Dilute with water 5% to 10% if spraying.
  • One or two evenly applied coats are sufficient. The last coat should be completely dry before applying the next layer.
  • Wait at least 1 hour after application the last Instacoll layer.
  • Now you have about one hour “ open time” to apply the gold leaf without using the Activator.
  • After the one hour “ open time” you have to use the Activator. You can Activate again and again also after one day, two weeks, 6 months, also areas that has been activated can be activated again.


  • Activate the dry and tackles surface of Instacoll with Instacoll – Activator using a cotton rag moistened with Instacoll – Activator. Rub the moistened rag across the Instacoll film up to a very thin and even size film results. This „film“ must be sparse that drying results in less than 2 minutes. Now you can apply gold leaf for another 50/60 minutes.
  • Apply patent gold by pressing and rubbing a cotton ball on the back of transfer paper. Continues gilding require always activating the next plane. Overlapped activating onto a just laid leaf enables a seamless gilded surface. Always let the Activator Size dry before applying the next leaf! 
  • After the entire surface is covered with metal, press again with the cotton ball the entire surface, especially the overlapping from the gold leaf. After this you can rub the surface with a cotton ball in one direction to get a high gloss gilding
  • Faults can be filled using the above method or by applying Instacoll – Activator as described below.

Also you can use very easily the instacoll clear to improve your result when you are not satisfied

Loose leaf may applied directly if the gold is laid on the wet Instacoll-Activator. Therefore the size should be brushed thinly but repeatedly. Similar to traditional water gilding, the leaf is immediately laid on the wet surface. After the surface has dried sufficiently, the leaf should be pressed again onto the surface with cotton. The resulting shine is not so brilliant as with „dry gilding“ mentioned before.

For more details read High performance Interior and Exterior Gilding with Instacoll System