The following method is adapted for working in the open air, when the ordinary process with the cushion is rendered difficult if there is much wind to blow the gold leaf about. Take a sheet of tissue paper and rub it over on one side only with a piece of white wax. This should bis rubbed rather briskly over the surface of the tissue paper, placed on something fiat, so that the wax is spread evenly throughout. The paper which has thus been rubbed will possess a certain sticky quality, scarcely perceptible to the touch, but sufficient to cause the gold-leaf to adhere to it. After a whole sheet of paper has been waxed as described, it should be cut into squares a little larger than the leaves of the book of gold. The gold leaf book must be ■opened and the waxed side of the tissue paper gently pressed upon the gold-leaf with the hand. On removing the paper the gold leaf will be found attached to it. The gold leaf being thus secured upon the tissue paper, is ready for use. It is evident that the difficulty experienced through the thinness of the gold is by this means to a great extent overcome. The tissue paper may be used over and over again.
It is supposed that the letters to be gilded have been written in the most suitable material, and that they are ready to receive the gold leaf. Take up the tissue paper and j)lace it with the gilded side to the letters, and having rubbed the back lightly with the hand, the gold will come off the piper and adhere firmly to the mordant with which the lettering has been written. By this method very little gold is wasted, as the tissue paper being semi-transparent, the gold leaf shows through it, and the operator can see where any portion of the gold adheres to the paper, and can accordingly place it on such portions of the work as it will best fit without an undue number of joinings, though by this process, if the gold leaf is good, not the slightest trace of joining is discernible. The gold leaf should be gently dabbed over with a pad of cotton-wool, which will smooth the surface of the gilt, and remove all superfluous pieces of gold leaf. As a newly-painted surface is sticky, if the gold leaf were to be applied to it, it would adhere to parts of the ground colour where the mordant had not touched and where the gold was not required.
It is needful, therefore, before the letters or parts to be gilded are marked out, that the newly-painted surface should be dabbed over lightly with dry whiting; but care should be taken that the loose particles are dusted off by the gentle application of a silk handkerchief. If the ground is dark, this pouncing will so far lighten it, that the gilder will be able to distinguish any lines he may make with size, as the size will restore the ground to its original colour. But if the ground is light, the pouncing will not have this effect, and it becomes necessary to mix some kind of colour with the size to enable the gilder to make certain that he has thoroughly covered the portion to be gilded. For pouncing, put some powdered whiting in a small linen bag, tie it up tightly, and gently dab it over the parts to be pounced. The whiting is removed from the ground after the gold leaf is applied, by means of a damp chamois leather. The mordants for gilding are of different kinds. Picture-frame gilders generally use gilders' size, made of fat oil, in which yellow ochre has been ground. This is a good material for the sign-writer, but it is too thick for general adoption, especially in cold weather, when it is unmanageable with the sable pencil.
In hot weather, however, it is not so thick, and may often be used with advantage. The gold leaf must not be applied to this size for at least 24 hours after its application, and it will remain tacky for 2-3 days. When the gilding has to be finished more rapidly, japanners' gold size is generally employed. The gold leaf may be laid on this in about 1/2 hour after its application, as it dries very rapidly. Sometimes the gilder is compelled to prepare his work and put on the gold leaf a few minutes afterwards; in this case, gold size alone is used. But if an interval of a few hours is no object, it is customary to add oil varnish to the gold size, regulating the quantity according to the time at disposal. Linseed oil should not be mixed with gold size to retard its drying properties, because it is apt not only to destroy the adhesiveness of the size, but to sweat through and discolour the metallic leaf. A few drops of boiled oil may be added to the size occasionallyi but as a general rule varnish will be found preferable to the oils.