Gilder’s Whiting is a high quality fine white powder, soluble in water and odorless. The chalk for gilding (often called “Bologna Gesso”) is obtained from the gypsum by thermal treatment at a controlled temperature.
You will need to apply about 5-7 coats before you can start gilding. Suitable for all kinds of surfaces, including wood, concrete, plaster, hardwood, and boards.
How to make gesso for water gilding
- To make gesso ready for application, you need some Rabbit Skin Glue to mix with the Gilder’s Whiting. The Gilder’s Whiting has to be sieved to ensure that it does not contain any lumps or impurities. When adding the Gilder’s Whiting, the rabbit skin glue must be at about 50-55 degrees. Place a spoon of Gilder’s Whiting at a time inside the sieve gently.
- There is no proper ratio of Gilder’s Whiting to rabbit skin glue, but you should stop adding Gilder’s Whiting as soon as the Gilder’s Whiting is no longer incorporated with the rabbit skin glue anymore, about 1 part prepared RSG to 1 part gilder’s whiting.
- 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 50-55 degrees.
- Apply the gesso in several layers:
• Three layers for oil gilding.
• Five to seven layers for water size gilding.
- After application of each layer you must wait for the gesso to dry.
- After drying it must be sanded and polished.
- Any gesso 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.
There is also a ready-made gesso/clay called KGGG-System Fond:
KGGG-System Fond Gilder’s Gesso/Bole is a one-layer gilder clay that replaces the traditional gilding system’s Gesso and Bole layers. Fond is a water-based burnishable gesso primer for water golding. Fond in suited for creating water gilded and burnished frames, interior architectural elements, and furniture ornaments to achieve a traditional look for less effort.