Gild picture frames - that's how it works

If you want to make a picture frame precious and visually stunning, gilding is a great option. For which substrates gilding works and how to proceed step by step, read this article.

Gilding surfaces

If you simply paint surfaces with gold, that's usually not very convincing. The difference between true gilding and simple brushing is visually apparent.

Gilding works with gold leaf applied to a surface. At first this seems like a very expensive variant, but in practice it is not so much.

100 leaves of gold leaf are available from around 10 - 20 EUR, depending on the quality. Schlagmetall often has formats of around 15 x 15 cm. So you can gild your frame at a reasonable price.

Primer and adhesive layer

Before applying the adhesive layer, which holds the gold leaf, it is necessary to prime it. Best used for it Gesso. Thereafter, so-called Anlegmilch is used as an adhesive layer.


Gesso is a white color that consists mainly of gypsum, chalk and some other substances. The composition may vary slightly from case to case, but the properties of Gesso primers are usually very similar.

For rigid surfaces, the Gesso is well suited, but it should not be used on flexible surfaces.


Dressing milk is a special glue for gold leaf. It is also used as an adhesive layer for other metal coatings. Cheap meringue milk is usually available for about 10 EUR per 100 ml. Since it has to be used sparingly,

Gild picture frames - step by step

  • Picture Frame
  • Gesso
  • gilding
  • gold leaf
  • soft brush
  • soft cloth

1. Sanding and priming

Sand the surface carefully and prime with Gesso. Sand the layer and apply a second coat which you also sand.

2. Apply adhesive layer

Carefully apply the lay-on milk to the dried primer with a soft brush. Apply only a thin layer.

3. gilding

Gently squeeze the gold leaf into the adhesive layer and carefully wipe it out with a rag and brush until it is firmly in the adhesive layer. Let the adhesive layer dry, the gold leaf now holds permanently.

Tips & Tricks

Of course you can also use other leaf metals - such as silver. The application is then analogous to the one described above.

Video Board: Water gilding french baroque frame