How to Apply Gold Leaf Lettering


Gold leaf lettering is a unique way of applying gold onto books and other objects to create a sophisticated look. Thin sheets of gold are applied to wording or a design. Gold leaf lettering is an interesting hobby to take on, and the options are endless when starting a project. In many cases, 23 carat gold leaf is used for projects. You can use imitation gold leaf; it is much thicker than the authentic leaf and can make handling slightly easier.

Things You'll Need

  • 23 carat gold leaf or imitation gold leaf
  • Gilding cushion
  • Gilding knife
  • 2-3 cotton swabs or cotton wool
  • Cloth
  • Vaseline
  • Pumice powder
  • 1 or 2 small paint brushes
  • Gold leaf adhesive

Preparing the Gold Leaf

  • Prepare your supplies for this project. Make sure you have a clean, flat space to work on.

  • Scoop out half a teaspoon of pumice powder with the gilding knife and place the powder on the gilding cushion. According to, it is vital that the gilding cushion is free of grease. The pumice powder eliminates grease from the cushion. Use the edge of the gilding knife to spread the powder over the entire cushion. Wipe the knife on a cloth to remove excess pumice powder.

  • Find a place in your home that is free of drafts. Open the gold leaf book and gently place the gilding knife under one of the gold leaves. states you should create a shield around the cushion to prevent drafts that could blow around the gold leaf.

  • Lift the gold over to the gilding cushion and gently place it down. You should lay the gold leaf as flat as you can.

  • Cut the gold leaf into small pieces. The amount of gold leaf pieces depends on your specific project. The gilding knife should be sharp enough that one cut should be enough.

  • Apply a dab of Vaseline on the back of your hand. Rub the Vaseline in, creating a thin film. Press a cotton swab lightly on the back of your hand. According to, with the greased cotton swab you can easily pick up the gold leaf pieces.

Applying Gold Leaf onto Lettering

  • Apply a small amount of gold leaf adhesive onto the lettering. Trace the letter or letters with the adhesive. You can purchase gold leaf adhesive from your local art supply store. According to, you should cover the letter with two thin coats.

  • Let the adhesive dry. It will take approximately 30 minutes. Even though the adhesive will be dry, it will be sticky and the gold leaf will adhere to the lettering.

  • With the cotton swab, place a piece of gold leaf and rub it down firmly onto the letter.

  • Use a small paintbrush to wipe away the excess gold leaf. The letters you designated should be completely covered in gold leaf.

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