Keep your filing sorted and stylish at the same time
Imitation gold leaf comes in individual sheets attached to a piece of backing paper – a booklet of around 25 sheets costs about £7.
‘Size’ (also called gilding paste) is the name given to the specialist glue that bonds the gold leaf to a surface; it comes in both water-based and oil-based solutions.
You can apply gold leaf to a variety of surfaces, including wood, card, ceramic, primed canvas, metal – anything that is non-porous. It’s best to work indoors with the windows shut because gold leaf is very thin, so the slightest draught will blow it away.
How to apply golf leaf
1 Apply a little of the size to the area you would like the gold leaf to stick to. Leave for at least 15 minutes as you need the surface to be tacky – you can test this with the back of your finger.
2 Take a sheet of the gold leaf from the booklet, with the backing paper still attached. Hold it over the area you want to cover, then cut a piece slightly bigger.
3 Press the gold leaf face down on to the sized area and gently rub on the back of the backing paper to release the gold on to the surface. Leave to dry for a few hours.
4 If you have masked an area, carefully peel back the washi tape. You will know if the area isn’t completely dry as the gold leaf will start coming away from the sized area. Take off all the tape.
5 Brush away all the loose bits of gold leaf that are hanging off using a soft paintbrush. Brush over the whole surface lightly to create a soft burnish on the leaf. You may want to use a soft cloth on larger areas.
You will need:
✤ Old newspaper
✤ 2 clipboards
✤ Turquoise paint
✤ Medium-sized paintbrush
✤ Washi tape
✤ Gold leaf size
✤ Glue brush
✤ Soft paint brush
For The Turquoise Clipboard
1 Cover your work surface with newspaper and remove any plastic around the clipboard.
Apply a layer of turquoise paint to the whole board, taking care when you work around the clip at the top – any paint can be scratched off when it’s dry. Apply a second coat and then leave to dry.
2 Paint a triangle design along the left edge of the board using size. You can either paint it freehand or use washi tape to mask off the area, being careful not to lift the paint when you remove the tape. Apply some size to the clip, then leave to go tacky – around 15 minutes.
3 Press the gold leaf on to the tacky areas and leave to dry. The triangles will dry quicker than the size on the clip, so this may have to be finished off in two stages.
For The Gold Clipboard
1 Prepare the work surface and board, as before. Cut a long strip of masking tape and position it diagonally across the board.
2 Apply the size to the lower exposed area and to the clip. Leave to go tacky and apply the gold leaf.