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If gold or silver gilt is what you are looking for, we have multiple options available for a liner or frame that will compliment your artwork and at different price levels.

  • A silver or gold gilt liner (added to the frame and surrounds the artwork).
  • Standard closed corner frames from industry frame manufacturers.
  • Restoration of an antique frame - either one that you have or one from our collection of antique frames.
  • Select one of our gilded custom frames or restored frames from our stock.
  • Create a unique gilded frame for you.


Oil Gilding uses an oil based size or glue that the silver, gold or metal leaf adheres to.  Oil gilding is less expensive since it involves less steps and thus the labor costs are less.  You may also here the term "Dutch Metal", where less expensive metal leaf is used instead of gold leaf.  The disadvantages to oil gilding is it is not as bright as water gilding and it cannot be burnished (highly polished areas) as can be done with water gilding.

Water gilding requires a clay base (bole) and a mixture of water and alcohol is used on the clay to adhere the gold or silver leaf.  Water gilding is more expensive than oil gilding because there are more materials involved (several layers of the clay bole) and more steps.  A water gilded frame can have areas of the frame burnished using a shaped agate stone that compress the gold or silver leaf and the clay to give it a very smooth and highly reflective surface.   Burnishing is often done on alternate parts of the frame, such as the inner most part of the frame, and on highlights of ornamentation on the frame.


  • Select the frame profile(s) desired.  Multiple frame profiles can be combined to create more elaborate frames.
  • Determine if any additional ornamentation is desired for the frame.  This can be carved ornamentation, composition ornament can be applied to the frame, designs that can be made either in or with the gesso, or a design that will be applied after the gilding is completed.
  • Determine if silver, gold or metal leaf will be used and the gilding process (oil or water gilding).  Some frames are a combination of oil and water gilding.
  • Apply gesso (white chalk base with glue) to the frame.  This provides a smooth base for the rest of the gilding process.
  • If water gilding, apply bole in the desired colors.  Bole is a clay based material with the traditional colors of black, red, yellow and a grayish blue.  If oil gilding, to keep expense down, a paint can be used that emulates the traditional clay colors.
  • Apply the desired metal using the oil or water gilding method.
  • If water gilding was used, burnish the parts of the frame that you want to be highly smooth and reflective.  Burnishing can only be done with water gilding and when silver or gold leaf has been used.
  • Apply any ornament that was to occur after the gilding.  This might include stamping a design into the gilt, or, using tempera paint and then etching a design (sgraffito).
  • Gold or Silver frames are often too shiny and require "toning" or "antiquing" to soften the reflectiveness and give more character to the frame.  Depending on the desired look, the frame may also be distressed to emulate age.

 
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