Gilder’s clay—also known as bole—is a clay-like substance. It serves as a base layer for the gold leaf. It is applied to the prepared surface, which is usually Gesso. Gesso is a mixture of chalk and glue. The gilder’s clay layer and the underlying layer of Gesso create a layer that permits the polishing of gold with agate burnishers. Gilder’s clay gilding can only be used on absorbing surfaces.
How to prepare Nazionale Gilders Clay:
- Although it has been already processed with RSG, we still recommend adding some Rabbit Skin Glue before use.
- Add four parts of this clay and one part rabbit Skin Glue (liquid form) depends on how thick or thin you want your clay to be.
- The rabbit skin glue must be warm when adding it to the gilder’s clay. Mix gently not to create air bubbles and until the texture is consistent, runny and smooth.
- For best results, apply two to three thin coats of this clay onto a perfectly smooth surface, such as Gesso.
- After the gilder’s clay has dried, polish the surface with the Steel Wool Pad or with the Fiber Clouth to a perfect state. Your gilder’s clay at this point must look clean, shiny, smooth and free from dust.
- Prepare the gold leaf water using the rabbit skin glue tablet or use a pre-made Kolner Colnafix Gilder’s Size. This mixture will make the clay surface a little wet for the gold leaf to stick.
- Apply the gold leaf, and let it dry for at least 5 hours.
- Your gilded surface is now ready to be burnished with the Agate Burnisher Stone.
- Buff any gold flakes that sits on the surface with the Gilder’s Wool Brush.
- Normally, 24k gold leaf does not need to be varnished to protect it from oxidization. However, for less than 24k, use Kolner Leaf Protect Varnish to seal the surface.