Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Gold leaf


#1

I have some gold leaf. What can I do with it–Keum-boo?

Janet


#2

If the gold leaf is very thin, it is used for enameling, and is not
suitable for keum Boo. If it is thickish almost like aluminum foil
you can use it for Keum Boo. The thin foil, cannot be handled,
whereas the kind used for Keum boo will not crumple up when
handled----but do handle it very gently, and when cutting it, place
it between two sheets of paper. I use tracing paper. Alma


#3
    I have some gold leaf. What can I do with it--Keum-boo? 

Gold leaf is way too thin for keum-boo. But you can apply it to
other metals or materials the same way it is used to gild letters
for illumination in antique (or modern) manuscripts. Apply a coating
of gesso or acrylic matt medium, let it dry, then lay the leaf over
it and burnish it on. Never touch gold leaf with your fingers; use a
tiny paint brush with a trace of moisture on it to lift and move it.
Small pieces may be blown away by incautious breathing, but exhaling
on a piece slowly with wide-open mouth (like for cleaning glasses,
but less vigorously) may help it stick. This can look very gorgeous,
but should be reserved for protected areas, as it is somewhat
delicate. You can put as many layers as you think you need, without
more gesso–the gold should stick to itself with careful burnishing.
A hematite burnisher is traditional, but I imagine steel would work.
Gold leaf has a particular look, usually-- the edges don’t usually
become invisible over each other. Noel (who did many years of calligraphy
and illustration to stay fed)


#4

Some top-flight calligraphy uses gold leaf. I’ve seen gold leaf
initials with a Hand-painted border/motif going for $100…


#5

My grandfather was a bookbinder who used gold leaf on the titles and
decorative stamped embellishments on leather books. I inherited a
book of his 23K gold leaf. I have used it in Keum-boo to get an
antiqued looking, rubbed away border on a brooch I made with an
etched photo of him. You can also layer it to get heavier coverage,
but it really doesn’t compare with using the thicker foil for
Keum-boo.

Donna in VA


#6

To add to the gold leaf discussion…

At art stores, they sell a variety of adhesives other than gesso or
medium that can be used to guild, some which will be ready in 15
minutes.

Also note that it isn’t necessary to cut the leaf much – it will
tear so easily that you set the glue where you want gold, then apply
large leaf pieces, and the leaf will tear off itself.

There’s 3 stories so far about why gold sticks to a brush. Either
static cling, oils from your hair, or moisture are the three I’ve
heard… I think there might be some sort of proper physics
explanation for it, but leaf wants to stick to your fingers BAD.

There is nothing like gold leaf for gilding. It illuminates in ways
that powders and paints don’t. Beautiful stuff. :slight_smile:

– Ken, who reminds everyone that going to the store for gold leaf
supplies is going on a gilt trip. :wink:


#7

I’ve been using gold leaf in my jewelry for years. It is fragile, so
it’s best to limit its use to protected, interior surfaces and
lacquer it. But iwth careful treatment it lasts a long time. Here;s
the method I’ve arrived at after years of experimentation:

To apply, first treat the surface with a gold leaf adhesive, called
size, which comes is several formulations depending on the amount of
drying time you need. I find the 3-hour drying time most useful.
(This means the surface is ready to gild 3 hours after sizing and
remains workable for 3 more hours.) The standard brand is Rolco.

Traditionally, people use brushes to apply the leaf and hard
burnishers to rub it into the size. I find this (a) unnecessarily
clumsy and (b) not well-suited to jewelry. I "ve found that those
hard-ish rubber “paint brushes”, sold in art supply stores, work
really well as both appicators and burnishers. They come in various
shapes and sizes which allows me to gold a variety of small surfaces.
They also come in 2 hardnesses – white and grey, I believe. I find
that the grey, which is the harder, works better. I just pick up a
piece of leaf on the tip of my selected rubber brush, lay it down,
rub a little with the same brush, and pick up another piece of leaf.
When I’ve covered the area to my satisfaction, I give the whole
thing a good all-over burnish with a blunt-nosed rubber brush and
that’s it. I wait at least a day to laquer, just to be sure the size
is really dry.

So there you are – easy. People seem to like to make big
mystification over how tricky and delicate gold leaf is. But truely,
it’s not a big deal. The main thing is to work with good quality leaf
that doesn’t turn to dust when you pick it up, as some cheezier
brands do. You can get all leaf supplies, good brands, mail order
from New York Central Art Supply. 800-950-6111. Hope this helps. Carla
Reiter


#8

My grandfather was a bookbinder who used gold leaf on the titles and
decorative stamped embellishments on leather books. I inherited a
book of his 23K gold leaf. I have used it in Keum-boo to get an
antiqued looking, rubbed away border on a brooch I made with an
etched photo of him. You can also layer it to get heavier coverage,
but it really doesn’t compare with using the thicker foil for
Keum-boo.

Donna in VA


#9

I have seen someone do a process with Gold Leaf where he annealed
and pickled a piece of silver four times or so. He then took the
silver and laid it on a hot plate with a piece of Gold Leaf on top
of the silver and as the silver heated up he then used a burnishing
tool to smooth out the gold leaf fusing it to the top of the silver.
It was a pretty neat effect and I might have forgotten a step, if
anyone has used this process please correct me if I left something
out.

Joe


#10
    he annealed and pickled a piece of silver four times...then
laid it on a hot plate with a piece of Gold Leaf on top...used a
burnishing tool 

Joe, Isn’t that the same as keum-boo?

The Ganoksin article on keum-boo said extra gold can be fused on to
make a thicker layer. Anybody know how many layers of gold leaf
would be needed to equal a single layer of gold foil?

Janet


#11

Joe,

The process you described is called Keum-Boo and it’s of Korean
heritage. You have the basic steps correct, except that it will
likely take more than 4 rounds of heating to fully depletion gild the
silver. And in that heating process, you shouldn’t be going as high
as annealing temp – just enough to raise the silver to the surface.
You know you’re done when no more “brown spots” appear when you heat
the silver and the white surface stays white.

Also, gold leaf is VERY thin for use with Keum Boo and will not show
as visibly as gold foil will. The foil will also be much more
manageable to apply.

Hope all this helps - you should look up more details on the process
before trying it, though. It’s a neat technique and can be quite
lovely.

Karen Goeller
@Karen_Goeller


Handcrafted and Unique Artisan Jewelry