I made this at TechShop.
Only use tools that you have had the appropriate training for. Always wear appropriate protection for environment and tools in use. Understand and accept the inherent risks associated with any operation.
Xacto (brand) Knife
Straight Edge (chunk of CLEAN aluminium)
Arches Hot Press Watercolour Paper
Strathmore Coal Black Drawing Paper
Glad Press'n Seal or Scotch Artist Mount (any laserable low tack mask)
3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive
Spray Adhesive for Metal Leaf
Composite Metal Leaf
Step 1: Design
The aspect ratio was chosen to match US standard business cards, but shrunk a bit so the longest dimension is that of a credit card. This is to allow the finished product to reside in a wallet without damage.
Make sure your design has cut marks and fit as many into one sheet as reasonably fit. I calculated that on my first production run each card took 6 minutes of my time to create- That is I completed four sheets of ten in four hours. If the sheets fit 12 I would have reduced that time per card by 20%.
Step 2: Cut Layers
Careful testing and documentation of the correct settings is required to produce the cleanest cuts and etchings.
Once the sheets are cut, weed out any stuck parts with something pointy.
Step 3: Gild
If you don't have the proper tools (pad, knife, size, bole...) you can get by with some wax paper and no intentions of cutting the leaf to size, that is fine with relatively inexpensive leaf, and faster too.
Before applying the leaf a cheap spray size can be found at the store that sold you the leaf. The one I got is advertised as a low mist formula, which seems to mean it comes out in large blobs.
Make sure your work space is CLEAN. Any dirt will cause lots of problems.
Open the book to expose a leaf. If it is wrinkled use a light puff of air to flatten it out. Place a piece of wax paper on the bare leaf (pictured). Press medium firmly on at least the corner that is facing the primary direction of movement to keep it from peeling back while in motion.
Gently pick up the wax paper and move the leaf to the final location. Press down. Slightly overlap the leaves, and press very firmly where overlap is. I have found that laying a sheet of card stock over the wax paper can help you apply pressure without distorting the leaf. Good application will reduce the chance that when removing excess a large area will peel up.
Step 4: Laminate
Step 5: Cut
Tables don't like knives. Cutting mats are very important. I don't have a big enough one for full sheets like this, so I used a piece of particle board.
Step 6: Enjoy
I used a 300 gsm white paper combined with a 160 gsm black paper. When a single card is viewed edge-on the black is nearly invisible.