While gilded objects look beautiful and fascinating, fortunately the acutal gilding isn't all that difficult (and not necessarily expensive).
A couple of words before I start:
There are several gilding techniques. I'll cover the simplest one here, which is usuallly referred to as "oil gilding". The technique itself is very simple:
- prepare surace
- apply glue
- apply gold leaf to now-sticky surface
This is NOT the same technique as "water gilding" (which I haven't done so far). Water gilding is more complicated and involves more steps (preparing and applying gesso & bole). After applying the gold leaf, it is polished with agate-polishers (which cannot be done with oil gilding), so the gilded surface looks better.
However, oil gilding does have advantages, too (besides being easier to do): it can be waterproof, meaning objects gilded with this technique can get wet without damaging them (good for objects that are outside).
So let's start. I carved I a little something for this tutorial:
I want to gild the flower petals here.