Aiming for the Gold Standard (Gilding as a Beginner)
So I've seen a quick demo on how reverse glass gilding is done, and had a couple of tries on a smaller scale. I've also tried my hand at some basic signwriting, so now it's time to dive in to something big.
Someone once said 'go big or go home' and that's what I intend to do.
I'm feeling inspired after having seen some great work by Harry Mytton Signs (@harrymyttonsigns) in Chester today. Shame I didn't get to bump into Harry, he's a really nice bloke, he commented on my Instagram post and gave me some encouragement. I think that deserves it's own blog post.
The first thing to remember when doing reverse painted glass is to reverse your template so that it can be placed on what would be the outside of the glass so that you can paint it on the reverse. Seems simple enough, but when you're painting on a piece of glass it's not as easy to remember than if you were painting on a window.
So the basic principles apply when working with glass, you have to first of all respect the medium you are using, and in this case I have chosen toughened glass as it is my first attempt with it, I wanted it to withstand the occasional knock as I move it around so that any hard work doesn't go to waste, and because it is safer.
I cleaned the glass using Fuller's Earth which is a kind of clay powder that binds to any grease and helps remove it, I did this by dusting it on with a dry paintbrush. When I had brushed off any excess Fuller's Earth I worked a lather of Pierre d'Argent onto the glass which also removes grease, but has a sort of grit to it which I thought might help the glass surface form a 'tooth' for binding to the paint and later, the gold. I rinsed this off with warm water ensuring that there were no places on the glass where the water forms beads, as this would show that there was still some grease present. Then I sprayed the surface with some Avery Dennison Surface Cleaner (contains Propan-2-ol ; d-limonene) and wiped it off with a dry paper towel, this stuff is used in the vinyl sign industry, but like methylated spirits, it's flammable and should be used with care.
After I was happy that both sides of the glass were as clean as possible, I applied my template to the opposite side of the glass, making sure to find the centre of the glass and the template and measuring a whole bunch of times to make sure my placement was correct before using some low tack masking tape.
Painting the glass seemed straight forward in principle, but was in fact much more difficult than I had imagined. The issue came from the fact that the glass was 6mm thick, and the template was on the back of it. This made it difficult to decide where exactly to apply the paint, since simply closing one eye then the other makes a noticeable difference to where the template appears to be.
As with any signwriting, the key is to be slow and steady without over thinking. I had to clean up the odd mishap here and there, either by cutting back into the lettering using a rag with white spirit on it, and repainting, or waiting until the paint was dry, and using a razor blade to scrape off some excess marks.
So far so good. Onto the gold next.