Gilders Tip (Gold Leaf)
The gilder's tip is a squirrel hair brush used to pick up pieces of gold leaf on the tips of the hairs. Our soft, single-thick pure squirrel hair brushes have long, stiff hairs. Learn more about Gilder's Tips.
The gilder's tip is a squirrel hair brush used to pick up pieces of gold leaf on the tips of the hairs. Our soft, single-thick pure squirrel hair brushes have long, stiff hairs. Choose a brush width to handle full leaves of gold (75 mm to 100 mm wide) or smaller widths wide enough to pick up cut pieces. A tip is not usually needed for composite metal leaf, which is heavier and typically easier to handle than gold, but may be necessary for silver leaf, in which case a tip with double thickness of hairs may be used (which can be made by taping two brushes together), or a gilder's tip made with hog bristles.
How to Use
To use our gilder's tip, stroke it against your hair or skin. This technique is believed to work for different reasons. Some believe that it imparts a trace of oil that allows the brush to pick up gold leaf for placement onto the sized surface. Others think that it creates a static electrical charge on the brush that allows the gold leaf to adhere lightly to it. Whatever the reason, you can follow these directions to lay gold on a surface sized with glue (water gilding):
Lay a leaf of gold on a gilder's cushion and cut it into whatever sized pieces you need. Pass the gilders' tip through your hair, pick up a piece of gold and put the tip with the gold on it between the fingers of your hand holding the cushion. Then with a clean sable watercolor brush in the other hand wet the area at the top of the surface you are gilding and that is a little larger than the space that the piece of gold will occupy. The surface must be wetted generously and you will probably have to pass the brush over it twice as the bole will take up the water quickly. The surface should have a thin film of water standing on it when the gold leaf is put in place, because if parts of the surface have already become dull there is a good chance the gold will not adhere properly. The gold will be pulled off the tip by capillary action the instant it touches the water, so the tip must be almost parallel with the surface when the gold contacts it.
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