Hingst’s Sign Post: Traditional Water Gilding

Sign Builder Illustrated Contributor Jim Hingst writes: “While you might have experience in oil gilding exterior signage or water gilding on glass, you may never have attempted traditional water gilding, or what is also called bole gilding. This technique is used for interior applications, primarily gilding wood picture frames. The process involves coating the wood with several layers of gesso and clay bole.  After the bole is applied, its surface is rewet with what is called gilder’s liquor, and gold is applied onto the object. The final step in this time-consuming process is burnishing or polishing the gilded surface to a brilliant finish.

“Because traditional water gilding is labor intensive and requires additional material and special skills, it is much more expensive process than surface gilding with oil size.  The quality of the gild, however, is worth the additional expense, if you are trying to achieve the most brilliant and most highly polished gild possible.”

To read more about Jim’s take on this subject matter, be sure to read his latest “Hingst’s Sign Post” blog.


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