Little did I know that I just had to do away with the glue and replace it with lasers .
This is a method for applying gold leaf to a laser printout, like what you would get from most copy machines or any old laser printer. It turns out that with a little heat, the toner will bond the leaf too. In my short time using this technique I've not been able to get an absolutely clean gild, but I suspect that it is possible with better materials and techniques than I am using now. (Besides, I rather like the distressed look.)
Step 1: Gather Supplies
- Gold leaf
- Laser printout
- Pressing cloth (I'm using a scrap of linen, but it could be a piece of old sheet or something similar)
- Something to press the paper on (like another stack of paper -- it may be printed, but inkjet only, please! Don't use anything important.)
- Sheet of glass (optional, but may be beneficial to a cleaner gild)
- Burnisher (such as a spoon or a bone folder)
- Piece of felt or fabric (could be another piece of an old sheet -- I use cheap polyester felt)
- Iron (not shown)
Most of these things you'll already have around. The gold leaf and felt can be obtained from a craft store. Note that I am using a bag of leaf scraps instead of a far more expensive book. I suppose a book of quality leaf, all smooth and shiny, would work; however, the book I have is pretty much crinkled leaf steamrolled to waxed paper. It works, but it's not easy to get off of the wax paper, and ironing it with the wax paper attached will ruin the paper surrounding the gild.
Step 2: Prepare Your Gild Platform
Place your laser print face-up on the platform. If you're gilding a larger document, you probably don't want to cut it up. Experiment a bit with your platform size (or lack of a platform) to avoid creasking a larger sheet.
Step 3: Lay the Leaf
When you are done placing the leaf, lay another sheet of paper on top very gently. Lay the pressing cloth over that.
Step 4: Ironing
Step 5: Burnishing
Step 6: Iron Again
Step 7: Gratification
You can burnish further at this stage if you want to, but I don't think it does much good. Firm burnishing is a good way to distress the gild, though.
Step 8: Finish!
Further notes and thoughts:
I like the way the A and the E look with the color showing through, but if that's not your thing you could match the print color to your leaf color. You can also re-gild spots that didn't take. I had to do it for the A and the C, and obviously I didn't have complete success, but it did help.
The B was my attempt to apply the book leaf with the wax paper still on. It's a little hard to see, but the paper left an oily impression around the B and caused leaf to adhere where it was not wanted. Not cool. If you can apply sheet leaf without the paper, I would expect superior results to anything shown here.
I haven't had the opportunity to apply this to anything useful, but I'm expecting to use it in some custom bookbinding. It could also be used in cards, invitations, certificates... the list goes on.
In my research I've seen (in a PCB etching tutorial) a toner transfer method that involves printing on glossy photo paper, ironing the toner to metal, and dissolving the paper in water. This could theoretically be used to gild (waterproof) things other than paper. I haven't tried it, but if you do, please let me know how it goes!