Introduction: Gilded Tray

About: I have been working with gold leaf and gilders for many years. It's a magical craft going back millenia. I love to introduce both adults and kids to the artistry of gilding with all types of leaf!

Following our theme of decorating what we have around the house, we’re going to gold leaf the inside of a serving tray to give it some panache. The gilded surface provides a reflective surface for your special drinks and glassware, or a glowing base for an arrangement of special objects you treasure.


Wooden serving tray, any shape

2 Small (1/2” – 1” wide) square-tipped brushes

1/2” wide foam brush

Sepp Gilding Workshop Red Primer or acrylic paint

Sepp Gilding Workshop water-based Gilding Size or oil-based Leaf Adhesive

Sepp Gilding Workshop Imitation Gold Leafbook of 25 leaves – or Imitation Silver Leaf or Copper Leaf

Sepp Gilding Workshop Acrylic Clear Coat, or clear varnish.

You can find the gold leaf where Sepp Gilding Workshop products are sold.

Step 1: Prime and Size the Tray Surface

Apply two coats of Red Primer using a foam brush, sanding between coats to remove any paint ridges. The primer lends a warm color and seals the surface so the size sits on top without absorbing into the wood. Once dry, use a brush to apply oil-based or water-based size.

Step 2: Gild the Tray

When the size is dry but tacky (about 1 hour for oil size, 20 minutes for water-based size) Cut the binding on your book of leaf. Gently slide one leaf with its tissue page over the sized area, beginning at one corner of the tray. Slide the tissue out from under the leaf. Place the tissue on top of the leaf and gently rub the tissue while keeping it stationery to ensure the leaf makes full contact with the size.

Step 3: Brush Down the Leaf and Topcoat

Once the entire surface has been gilded, you can use a soft, dry brush to do a final polish and remove excess leaf. Always save your scraps for future projects! Topcoat the gilded area and allow to dry for a couple of days before use. Your serving tray is ready to help you host with golden glamor!

Step 4: