Applying Gold Leaf in easy steps – 24k vs. Imitation Gold

24K Gold Leaf Imitation How to do

At the present time, the use of gold leaf has become very popular as the supply is very easy to purchase online. A gold leaf is not a gold leaf, as 24K is different from imitation gold in many ways. In case you are at the beginning stages, this article will help to answer most of the questions you might have.

In short, we will tell you how to apply gold leaves to any given surface, and also explain the difference between real and fake gold.


diy gold leaf

It is quite crucial to use the correct techniques and correct approach to reach an exceptional result. Especially, if you are a beginner and working on your first project, the application method must be understood correctly. As a 24k gold leaf depends on the current gold prices, a trial and error approach can end up very costly. Therefore, I highly recommend using imitation gold in the beginning until you master to master how to apply the gold leaves.

Step by Step:

  1. Firstly, prepare the item which needs to be covered by the gold leaves. The corners should be taped with “painter’s tape” to avoid overlapping to other areas.
  2. Following, sand down the areas to remove all dirt using sanding paper. Remove all the dust with a piece of cloth until no dust is anymore on the surface.
  3. Generally, you can use a Gilding Primer to prepare the surface if you like. A lot of artist/guilders just leave the sanded surface by itself to create unique antique looking features
  4. Use Gilding Adhesive and apply on the dry and clean surface. As the adhesive will remain tacky for several hours it allows you in detail to apply the gold leaves on the areas you desire.
  5. Apply the Gold Leaf carefully by peeling off the paper wrapping and avoid touching the leaf. If you touch real 24k gold leafs it will stick at your hand, on the other side touching a gold leaf on base (imitation) it will not be so sticky and easier to apply.
  6. After you put the leaf on the surface, use a brush to apply. Gold on Base (imitation) can be cut easily into smaller pieces for easier application
  7. Use the brush to cover the desired areas of your item
  8. Finally, you can apply an acrylic topcoat to protect the areas from damage and usage. Normally guilders use a clear glaze to give it more an antique look (this step is optional and personal preference)



Imitation Gold Leaves are NOT EDIBLE and NOT suitable to HEAT

24K Imitation Gold Leaves on Base is a special foil called Base. On this base, the 24K Gold is evaporated via heat onto the foil sheet. The advantage of this is to give the user easier handling of the gold sheet and also cost less than pure 24K gold sheets.

Traditional Gilding/Antique Craftsmen do use Imitation Gold Leaf to finish their work more quickly. By all means, Gold Leaves on Base is not eatable and can only be used for crafting, decor purposes. Please keep this in mind

Imitation Gold Leaf Sheets are mainly used for Home Decoration, Gilding, Art Craft, and Design. As it is very easy to use, even a beginner can handle the application without much experience. In addition, many professional gilders use the imitation gold plating to create a beautiful and unique effect that would enhance every decor.

Ways to use Imitation Gold Leaf on Base:

  • Arts, crafts, sculptures, framing, design projects and decorations
  • Interior Design and artistic work
  • Home Decoration (furniture), Gilding, Design
  • Antique photo frame, Sculptures


24K GOLD LEAF – 24 Carat 999/1000 ( Edible Food Standard Code E175)

A 24K Gold leaf is gold that has been hammered into thin sheets of gold and professionals use it often for gilding. This Gold leaf is made out of pure 24 karats or 999/1000, consequently prices fluctuate with the gold market prices daily.

A very common method is layering gold leaves over a surface which is called gold leafing or gilding. Traditional water gilding is the most difficult and highly regarded form of gold leafing. It has remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years and is still done by hand.

CAUTION: Avoid touching the gold leaves with your hands, as it may stick to your hands. Instead, use a wooden skewer or a clean paintbrush to apply the gold leaves gently onto the cake, cookies, into your drink.

Is it safe to eat a 24K Gold Leaf?

gold leaf edible champagne

The 24K Gold Leaf is a very thin sheet of gold which is safe to eat. As a matter of fact, pure 24K is an inert material that can pass through the human’s digestive system without causing any harm to the human body. Food decoration of gold is known since Ancient Egypt BC believing that they become closer to the gods. Please make sure that the advertised gold leafs follows the E175 Food Safety Standard)

Ways to use 24K Gold Leaf:

  • Arts, crafts, sculptures, framing, design projects and decorations
  • Interior Design and artistic work
  • Antique photo frame, Sculptures
  • Food (Champagne, Cakes, Cookies, cheese, salad, etc)
  • Cosmetic (Facial Creams and masks)

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