This section is from the "Henley's Twentieth Century Formulas Recipes Processes" encyclopedia, by Norman W. Henley and others.
Oilcloth can very easily be gilt if the right degree of heat is observed. After the engraving has been put in the press, the latter is heated slightly, so that it is still possible to lay the palm of the hand on the heated plate without any unpleasant sensation. Go over the oilcloth with a rag in which a drop of olive oil has been rubbed up, which gives a greasy film. No priming with white of egg or any other priming agent should be done, since the gold leaf would stick. Avoid sprinkling on gilding powder. The gold leaf is applied directly on the oilcloth; then place in the lukewarm press, squeezing it down with a quick jerky motion and opening it at once. If the warm plate remains too long on the oilcloth, the gold leaf will stick. When the impression is done, the gold leaf is not swept off at once, but the oilcloth is first allowed to cool completely for several minutes, since there is a possibility that it has become slightly softened under the influence of the heat, especially at the borders of the pressed figures, and the gold would stick there if swept off immediately. The printing should be sharp and neat and the gold glossy. For bronze printing on oilcloth, a preliminary treatment of printing with "varnish ground should be given. The bronze is dusted on this varnish.
Imitation leather is generally treated in the same manner. The tough paper substance is made to imitate leather perfectly as regards color and pressing, especially the various sorts of calf, but the treatment in press gilding differs entirely from that of genuine leather. The stuff does not possess the porous, spongy nature of leather, but on the contrary is very hard, and in the course of manufacture in stained-paper factories is given an almost waterproof coating of color and varnish. Hence the applied ground of white of egg penetrates but slightly into this substance, and a thin layer of white of egg remains on the surface. The consequence is that in gilding the gold leaf is prone to become attached, the ground of albumen being quickly dissolved under the action of the heat and put in a soft sticky state even in places where there is no engraving. In order to avoid this the ground is either printed only lukewarm, or this imitation leather is not primed at all, but the gold is applied immediately upon going over the surface with the oily rag. Print with a rather hot press, with about the same amount of heat as is employed for printing shagreen and title paper. A quick jerky printing, avoiding a long pressure of the plate, is necessary.