How to apply Silver Leaf

Easy Silver leafing tutorials.

Learn these essential steps to gild just about any surface with genuine silver leaf. Depending on your project, you can choose from a variety of adhesive sizes that best suits your skill level and desired results. Silver leaf is great for furniture and objects, picture frames, walls, ceilings and more.

Digital images of Silver leaf are representational only.

how to silver leaf with oil size
Oil size method - solvent based adhesive size
For interior and exterior applications
how to silver leaf with aquasize
Water size method - Water based adhesive size
For interior application only.
Nazionale metal leaf color chart
Silver Leaf Color Chart

Special Feature - Oil Size Technique

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how to aluminum leaf

Quick-Dry Oil Size will reach tack in approx. 2 hours and will remain open for gilding for 2 to 3 hours. In very dry and warm environments, it may reach tack in as little as 1 hour and the open time for gilding may be greatly reduced. It produces excellent results with genuine and metal leaf and is recommended for small projects or when time is limited. Allow to cure for 24 hours before sealing. Download complete specification sheet for this product.

Slow-Set Oil Size is recommended for projects that may require a longer open time for gilding than Quick-Dry will allow. It will reach proper gilding tack in 10-12 hours and will remain open for gilding with genuine or metal leaf for an equal amount of time. The open time for gilding with metal leaf is usually less, as it is with other oil sizes. Allow to cure minimum of one week before sealing.

Special Feature - Water Size Technique

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Size refers to the adhesive material used to adhere gold, Silver, copper or metal leaf to the surface being gilded. There are different forms of size depending on the gilding method; oil based, water based and 'water gilding'. Gilding with water based adhesives should not be confused with traditional water gilding methods or the Kolner Water Gilding System. Water based adhesives form a tacky surface gluing the leaf to the surface and are not burnishable.

Aqua Size and Wunda Size are popular water based sizes and serve as an alternative to oil size for interior projects. Both have an extremely long tack time making it suitable for large scale interior projects or production gilding in manufacturing plants. Aqua Size and Wunda Size are most appropriate when used to gild with metal leaf, but will produce acceptable results with genuine gold. Porous surfaces should be sealed with A primer prior to sizing. Aqua and Wunda Size are for interior use only. Clean up as soon as possible with water or acetone.

Oil Gilding Video Tutorial

Quick Dry oil size gilding. This detailed demonstration shows you how to apply genuine gold, Silver, imitation gold, aluminum and copper leaf to objects and furniture using the classic 3 hour oil size method. Brought to you by the folks at, you'll learn about types of adhesive, testing for 'tack' and drying rates, easy leaf application tips and cleaning and burnishing the leaf.

Featured Product

Gilding Kits

Professional and starter gilding kits Complete gilding kits for the beginner to professional.

Basic Gilding kit Includes all the tools and materials to apply Imitation Gold, Imitation Silver or Copper Leaf. Contains: step-by-step instructions, book of metal leaf, Aquasize (waterbased adhesive size), natural hair brush, cotton and mixing sticks, wet/dry paper,

Professional Gilder's Kit Includes step-by-step instructions, book Genuine 23kt Gold Leaf book (Patent leaf), yellow/ochre oil based Gilding Primer, natural hair brush, oil based gilding size, Acrylic Top Coat Sealer, cotton and mixing sticks, wet/dry paper and book of leaf. Solvent-based.

Learn more and purchase Gold Leaf Kits.