Gilding a picture frame is a great way to breathe new life into tired, old or even cracked or splintered frames. While the results are literally brilliant, gilding itself is remarkably simple when you use artificial gold leaf. You will love the bright new look of your frames and find new uses for all your old picture and mirror frames.
Paint the frame with the acrylic bole. This will prime the surface so that you can apply the gold leaf. Do not make the primer coat so thick you lose details of the frame, but if you like you can use the primer to fill cracks or coat over rough patches.
Allow the primer to dry for at least 2 hours. Keep the picture in a warm, dry place and avoid touching it because your fingerprints will show up through the gold leaf.
Coat the frame with the gold size. The gold size is a special glue for gilding. It will go on clear, but it will begin to turn white in 2 to 10 minutes. As soon as it gets cloudy, you are ready to gild.
Gild the frame. Lay pieces of gold leaf flat against the frame. You should overlap them slightly. It is okay to have pieces that extend off the frame because you can trim them later.
Use the brushes to fix the gold leaf to the frame. The large brush will smooth the gold leaf into place. The small brush will enable you to bring out details in the frame. Brush gently to flatten down the gold leaf, and then use the soft brush to bring out the finer details.
Trim off any excess gilded leaf. Use the scissors to cut off extra pieces of gold leaf, hanging off the edges. Be gentle so that you do not tear the gold leaf.
Shellac the entire frame. This will prevent the gold leaf from tarnishing or tearing over time. Once it has dried, you will be ready to do anything you want with your bright and shiny new frame.