Introduction: Mardi Gras Gilded Masks

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!

Mardi Gras marks the end of Carnival season, and we’re celebrating with a gold leaf mask party – partygoers can decorate their own mask to their heart’s content, and then wear it for the fête!

Two layers of gilding add glamor and glow to the festivities. A variety of leaf – gold, variegated and flakes add to the excitement, and the free-hand nature of the designs makes it easy for everyone to make something special and unique!

Step 1: What You'll Need

Unpainted masks - the materials listed provide enough to make about a dozen masks

2 x 1” flat brushes – one each for applying primer and size

1 x ¼” brush for applying finer lines of size

Sepp Gilding Workshop Yellow, Red and Gray Gilding Primers

Sepp Gilding Workshop Water-based Gilding Size

Mixol universal tint #10 (optional)

Sepp Gilding Workshop Imitation Gold Leaf, Aluminum Leaf, Variegated Blue and Variegated Green Leaf, envelopes of 25 leaves

Sepp Gilding Workshop Tamisé Flakes – 5g box – we used Imitation Gold, Variegated Fall and Variegated Spring, there’s an array of color combinations to choose from.

#2 pencil

Cotton gloves

You can find the gold leaf, size and gilding supplies where Sepp Gilding Workshop products are sold

Step 2: Prime and Size the Masks

Brush your choice of primer evenly over the front of the mask and allow to dry. Use the second brush to apply water-based Gilding Size to cover the front surface completely. In a few minutes, the size will turn from milky white to clear, this tells you it’s ready to gild.

Step 3: Time to Gild!

Wearing cotton gloves, slide a leaf from the book, and gently drape over the mask. Press the leaf with your hands to ensure full contact. Continue until the mask is completely covered with leaf.

Step 4: Complete First Gild

Smooth leaf and brush away any excess. Now your masks have their first gold or silver layer!

Step 5: Preparing the Second Gild

You can tint the size with a tiny drop of Mixol to help it show up better over the first layer of leaf. Mixols are beautiful, concentrated colorants that disperse beautifully into all kinds of mediums.

Step 6: Second Gild

Here’s the extra fun part! Sprinkle Tamisé flakes or drape the newly sized areas with Variegated Leaf, until all the new areas are covered. Press the leaf down to ensure its smooth and completely adhered. Brush away the excess and save the flakes for use in future projects.

Step 7: Time to Party!

Let’s get this party started, or as they say in New Orleans - laissez les bons temps roulez!

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