Dry some white of egg by spreading it somewhat thickly over glass plates, preserving it from dust. It will chip off readily, when dry, if the glass has been previously very slightly oiled or greased. It must not be exposed to a greater heat than 122° F. (50° C.) or the quality of the albumen will be destroyed. The dried mass is well powdered in a porcelain mortar.
Put it into a box or bottle, and tie 3 or 4 thicknesses of fine muslin over the mouth. By tapping the inverted box, or shaking it over the lines or letters, the dust will fall through in a fine shower. The powder should fall only on the part to be gilt. Cut the gold into strips, take it upon the tool, and work it rather hot. The overplus of the powder must be brushed away when the finishing is completed.
Velvet is very seldom finished beyond having the title put on, and this should be worked in blind first and with moderately large letters, or the pile will hide them.
Silk is finished more easily, and can, if care be taken, have rather elaborate work put upon it. In such a case, the lines or tools, which must be blinded-in first, may be glaired. For this purpose, the glaire is put in a saucer or plate in the free air for a day or two, so that a certain amount of moisture may evaporate; but it must not be so stiff as to prevent the brush going freely over the stuff. Great care must be taken, or the glaire will spread and cause a stain. A thin coat of paste-water will give silk a body and keep the glaire from spreading to a certain extent; but the best medium for silk is the dry one, as it is always ready for instant use. In using glaire, the gold is laid on the silk, but on no account must any oil or lard be rubbed on it for the temporary holding of the gold. Rub the parts intended for the gold with the finger (passed through the hair) or with a clean rag lightly oiled, and when the tools are re-impressed, use a clean piece of flannel to wipe off the superfluous gold.
Blocking has been used lately on silk with some success in Germany. The blocking plate is taken out of the press, and the gold is laid on it, and then replaced in the press. The finishing powder is freely distributed over the silk side, which is laid on the bed of the press. On pulling the lever over, the block descends and imprints the design in gold on the silk. This process may be applied to velvet, but velvet never takes the sharpness of the design on account of the pile, so that as a rule it is left in its natural state.