Instacoll is a size (adhesive) for high-gloss, weather-resistant exterior and interior gilding. It can be used on nearly all substrates that have been properly prepared using standard methods to create weather-resistant surfaces. Do not use directly on glass outdoors. For indoor gilding it is necessary to use or to prepare a non-porous surface. Do not burnish the gold leaf with agate or other stone as this is not necessary to achieve a high-gloss surface.

Instacoll Base (Yellow)
Instacoll Base (Yellow)

Instacoll Base (Clear)
Instacoll Base (Clear)

Instacoll Base needs to dry before gilding. The base coat is then activated with Instacoll Activator prior to applying gold leaf, preferably patent gold (transfer gold leaf). After activating, the Instacoll surface is now ready to adhere gold leaf to create a surface with a highly-burnished appearance.

How to Apply

Porous surfaces, such as wood, stone, plaster, etc., should first be coated with Instacoll Base diluted with 15% water. After allowing about 30 minutes to dry this initial coat can be covered with a more generous, full strength layer of Instacoll. As mentioned above some substrates need more preparation than a simple pre-paint with Instacoll to achieve a weather-resistant coating.

• Apply Instacoll Base with a soft hair brush (preferably nylon) or with a paint sprayer. If spraying, dilute the Base with up to 10% water.

• Apply one or two even coats. The last coat should be completely dry before applying the next.

• Wait at least one hour after applying the last Instacoll base coat.

• Now you have about one hour of “open time” to apply the gold leaf without using the Activator.

• After one hour “open time” you must use the Activator. You can activate repeatedly; one day, two weeks or even six months later. Areas that have been previously activated can be activated again.

Activating Instacoll

Activate the dry and tackless surface of Instacoll Base using a cotton rag moistened with Instacoll Activator. Rub the moistened rag across the surface of the film of Instacoll, applying a very thin and even film, over the area you will apply gold leaf. This film must be thin so that it dries in less than two minutes. Now you have another 50 to 60 minutes of “open time” to apply the gold leaf.

Apply the leaf or piece of patent gold by pressing and rubbing the back of the transfer paper with a cotton ball. To continue gilding always activate the next area in the same manner. Applying Activator onto overlapping areas of just laid leaf enables a seamless gilded surface. Always let the Activator dry before applying the next leaf.

After the entire surface is covered with metal, rub it again with a cotton ball, especially areas where the leaf overlaps. Afterwards rub the surface with the cotton ball in one direction to attain a high gloss gilded surface.

Faults can be filled using the above method or by applying Instacoll Activator as described below.

You can use Instacoll Clear to make improvements when you are not satisfied with the results.

Instacoll Activator

Loose or surface leaf may applied directly if the gold is laid on the wet Instacoll Activator. Therefore the Activiator should be brushed on thinly and repeatedly. Similar to traditional water gilding, the leaf is immediately laid on the wet surface. After the surface has dried sufficiently, the leaf should be pressed and rubbed again onto the surface with cotton. The resulting gilded surface is not as brillant as with the “dry gilding” method described above.


Where to buy Instacoll System