Gilding your stretcher bars

By: Bray Rory

This article aims to give some brief notions of gilding your stretcher bars, thus to be used as home made Frames. To those who are completely inexperienced. The concepts are described deliberately schematic to facilitate the understanding. In reality, there are many variations to the procedures that will illustrate below.
This article is divided into six sections, each of which will deal with a different method of gilding.
We summarize briefly the various procedures of gilding that we analyse later.

Coat Gilding
Apply first few coats of plaster and then some bigger chunks of bolus. Then apply the leaf, wetting the bolus to make it sticky. You can use the gold leaf, fine silver leaf or an imitation leaf. It then proceeds to polishing it with an agate stone. The gilding will not render the stretcher bars suitable to resist outdoors.

Gilding with solvents
This type of golden paint is suitable and can be applied to different types of stretcher bars: wood, metal, stone, cardboard, plastic, etc... Apply the solvents coating. When the coating becomes sticky apply the leaf (gold or imitation). The leaf can be burnished with the agate stone. This type of gilding is suitable for outdoors, as it is not damaged, if it is wet.

Gilding with water colours
Like the previous gilding, the only difference is that it uses a base for water colours which are faster to apply. These kinds of Frames can only be used for indoors, and cannot be applied to metals.

Paste based Gilding
The base procedure is similar to the coat Gilding we mentioned above that it is applied with a plaster coating ahead of the painting. But the difference is that the bolus of coat should not be a water base, but a solvent base. Instead of the leaf to give it colour, use wax based creams. You can gild any material with this method. You can burnish it with an agate stones or polish it with a cloth.

Liquid gilding
It is similar to the paste gilding, but instead of using creams or paste we use a liquid-based acrylic resin and bronze powder. This type of gilding (browning) is indicated for non-porous materials such as marble, stone and metals.

Hope you enjoyed the simple steps on Gilding your stretcher bars so to use them as home made frames

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