Gold has been attracting people magically for thousands of years because it stands for value, prestige, wealth and beauty. Almost all rulers had sent out armies, researchers and sometimes even pirates to discover or capture the valuable precious metal and thus fill the treasury. But also  private adventurers wanted to make a fortune and went to the last unreal corners of this planet to explore gold and diamonds.

But not only the jewelers and designers love the material (which depending on the content sometimes appears white, yellow or reddish), but also the fashion industry holds on to glossy golden effects sinceyears.

Consequently I wanted to participate in a „gold-plating class; either receiving instructions for the chemical version using gold electrolyte (= galvanic method) or the “manual” gilding process using gold leaf.

In a magazine called  “Ideas with Heart” I finally found a safe and simple alternative: gold plating with inexpensive gold leaf imitation. Of course this method is not suitable for all or hard-wearing/ durable surfaces such as fittings, tiles or jewelry, but at least for many decorative objects such as stones, leaves, fruits, nuts, wall elements, picture frames, vases, bowls, lamp bases, and much more. Above all, you can also restore older pieces that have become unsightly.

So, … you are in the mood to pimp up grandpa’s deer antler? This is how to do it:

All you need ares 1-2 packets of gold leaf (imitation), the so-called contact-milk, 2 fine-haired brushes and the object to be decorated, e.g. a glass plate. Some providers even deliver everything in a set (starting from about EURO 25.-).

STEP 1:  Coat the surface to be decorated (e.g. the backside of a glass plate) as thinly as possible with contact-milk and let the application dry for about five to ten minutes until the surface is sticky and no longer humid.

STEP 2:  The wafer-thin gold leaf sheets are each stacked with a protective paper on the surface. First take the gold leaf stack out of the package by carefully arching it and slowly lift/ pull out the entire content. Make sure that the sheets do not bend so that the gold leafs are not damaged. Sometimes also gold leaf rolls are available.

STEP 3:  Now the gold leaf imitation can be applied. Take a sheet from the stack and place it on the prepared surface.

STEP 4:  Then press on the gold leaf evenly. Be sure to use a dry, clean and soft brush. Make sure that the brush does not come into contact with the contact-milk. Alternatively, you can carefully press the gold leaf with your finger.

STEP 5:  If there are still small gaps or uncovered cracks, you can simply close them with an additional small pieces of gold leaf or overlay.

Advice:  The gold leafs can also be applied to other strongly adhering substrates such as n adhesive tape, as desired.

Removing and applying the feather-light and wafer-thin square pieces is sometimes not that easy and you should avoid deep breathing or any air-drafts in the room. Don’t worry, sooner or later after some practice you will manage to be succesful. Under no circumstances there should be any residues of the contact-milk or other dirt particles on the fingers, otherwise the gold leafs will stick on your fingers before they can be placed onto the object and the material consumption will increase immensely (eventually put on thin gloves).

Furthermore, especially when working with round shapes, you should think of a suitable holder for all-round application in advance. However, often I love to decorate only a part of an object and deliberately leave a other part raw or original.

If you choose fruits, I would rather recommend to only use varieties with a hard skin in a dry condition. In my opinion, particularly beautiful is the shape of pomegranates and the structure of walnuts.

Of course the whole thing works not only with gold, but also with other batted metals, such as silver or copper.

With this method and a some skills, you cannot only initiate a make-over of your home, but also create individual gifts. And why not making your friends laugh by handing over the “golden rolling pin” or the “golden wrench” to the host on the occasion of an invitation. Show a golden hand … you don’t need a lot of space or an atelier.

By the way, you can even eat this wafer-thin gold leaf particles without worries. At some online shops for bakery supplies you can order the so-called „Gourmet gold leaf“ quickly and inexpensively. So … currysausage deluxe? I like to use it as a highlight in the glass enjoying a sparkling wine or some Prosecco – if there is something special to celebrate!

And if all of this is too complicated for you, in some cases you can also use a shiny metal  spray for certain objects. Then, however, the famous saying becomes true: It is not all gold that glitters!


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