Gilding the edges of a book not only makes it appear special, but gives it the appearance of an older book. Gilding the edges of a book is simple, and the necessary supplies can all be found in an ordinary craft store.
Things You'll Need
- Butcher paper or wax paper
- Dust cloth
- Fine-grain sandpaper
- Bole color
- Water-based adhesive
- Gold leaf
- At least one small soft-bristled paintbrush
- Two clamps, correct size to hold book pages together
- Sealant (optional)
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Preparing the Page Edges for Gilding
Cover your work surface with butcher paper and tape down the edges.
Clean the book with a cloth, removing all excess dust.
Sand the page edges lightly with sandpaper. Use your breath and the cloth to remove any excess sanding dust.
Clamp the page edges together along the long side of the pages.
Apply the primer with a soft-bristled paintbrush. Move the clamps as necessary to reach all the page edges. Clean your brush thoroughly. Allow the primer to dry completely before proceeding.
Apply the bole, a pigment traditionally used as a base color for gilding, over the primer in a thin layer. Allow the bole to dry completely. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for drying time.
Apply the adhesive, again using the paintbrush. Allow the adhesive to dry until it is tacky. The adhesive will appear dry but will still pull at your finger when touched. Follow the manufacturer's recommended drying times to find the optimal "tacky" stage.
Applying the Gilt
Gently remove the gold leaf from its paper backing.
Carefully lay the gold leaf over the page edge, covering as much surface area as you can with each piece.
With light, smooth strokes and gentle taps, press the gold leaf into the adhesive using the paintbrush. If the gold leaf sheet reaches past the page edges, gently fold it over the edge with the brush and sweep it away, tearing the sheet gently.
Repeat these steps until all the adhesive is covered with gold leaf. Move the clamps as you work around the page edges. Allow the adhesive to dry completely. Do not move the book while the leaf is setting.
Apply sealant over the gold leaf with the paintbrush. Allow the sealant to dry completely before removing the clamps and opening the book. When the sealant is completely dry, flip through the pages a few times to loosen them.