I’m just teaching myself the kum-boo process and would like to
find out the results other people are getting with it. I use a
hot plate for a heat source and can attach snippets of 23K gold
leaf reliably. Is it possible to apply leaf cut in complex
shapes ? What are other people doing with this technique ?

Allyson Morrison


You should be applying the leaf in two or more layers. Leaf is
thinner than what the Korean’s use and it tends to start looking
transparent. It is easier to cut if you keep it between layers of
tissue paper. I have not seen anything with individual complex
cutouts. Complex shapes can be built up bit by bit. A few years ago
I was in a workshop taught by Komelia Hongjia Okim and although I
haven’t used it much since then I still do it her way. She uses a
hot plate for small objects and the torch for large one. She has a
good section in “Metals Technic.”

Marilyn Smith, from the cool damp American mid-west.

Allyson - I forgot to mention that I have cut many types of shapes
out of the gold foil. I have used different shaped hole punches.
Place the foil between 2 pieces of paper - I use grid drafting
paper, in case you need precise dimensions. Usually don’t have any
trouble with the foil tearing. It’s still a dance to keep the foil
from tearing while burnishing. I think you should just design for
a looser pattern and not too precise. Gini in Tampa Bay, Fl.

Allyson - I have done a good bit of kum-boo using a torch to heat
the metal. It’s not as reliable as the hot plate - but I don’t have
a hot plate. It’s important to keep your burnisher cool - dip in
water periodically. I recently learned that if you use my method,
you can put a piece of clean steel next to your piece. Heat with a
bushy light flame - when the stell turns dark, apply the gold. I
use 24k foil from Thompson Enamels. Just love this technique! Good
luck - Gini from sunny Florida

Thanks for the advice. I’ll try to loosen up a bit with the
designs in gold leaf. Hopefully, I’ll be able to improve with
time. Also, the metion of the steel plate is useful. I just put a
sheet of bronze or titanium on the hotplate. Helps control the
heat much better than the bare element.


Thanks for the tip about kum-boo. I have Metals Technic- thats
where I got the idea. So far, I have been cutting the leaf
between layers of tissue and applying it to silver dampened with
water or gum arabic. The basic technique works well. My problem
is with manipulating the leaf. I have been using design punches
to get intricate desgns. I may try placing the foil on the dry
metal and applying water “size” by capillary action if needed.
Using a thicker, foil weight metal would solve eveything. I
started this whole business by experimenting with soldering
copper foil shapes. BTW, I like the transparency of the leaf. It
gives the appearnce of a green gold wash on the sterling.