Gesso is a mixture of gilder’s plaster and rabbit skin glue. You will need to apply about eight coats before you can start gilding. Suitable for all kinds of surfaces, including wood, concrete, plaster, hardwood, and boards.
How to make gesso for gilding with gold leaf
- To make gesso ready for application, you need some Rabbit Skin Glue to mix with the gesso. The gesso has to be sieved to ensure that it does not contain any lumps or impurities. When adding the gesso, the rabbit skin glue must be at about 40-50 degrees temperature. Place a spoon of gesso at a time inside the sieve gently.
- There is no proper ratio of gesso to rabbit skin glue, but you should stop adding gesso as soon as the gesso is no longer incorporated with the rabbit skin glue anymore.
- Now stir the mix gently until you see the rabbit skin glue has the same consistency as before. Please do not shake it, as this will create air bubbles in your mix.
- Always apply the gesso when it is warm, not hot and not cold. Any leftover can be stored in the fridge for use later on.
Gesso Making Tip: The best way to make or to reheat gesso is by putting the rabbit skin glue in a glass jar and placing the jar in a pote that has hot water in it. Keep the pot on a hot element from when you start making the gesso right to finishing application.
How to mix for castings and moulds
Very fine gesso with medium-density and porosity, hence it is most preferred by gilders. Suitable for making moulds, ceramics and any decorative objects.
- Use clean, warm water between 15-25 degrees.
- About 1.3 L of water for every 20 kg gesso powder.
- Add the gesso into the bole or container that has clean water.
- Leave to soak for about 3-5 minutes; it depends on the room temperature.
- Mix gently to the desired consistency.
- Pour the gesso now into the mould.
- Shake gently for the air bubbles to disappear.
- Remove from the mould.
- Oven-dry your mould or air it.
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