Gilding, the art of applying ultrathin sheets of real gold or silver to an object, is one of the easiest, least expensive ways to capture the luster of those precious metals. The technique dates as far back as the ancient Egyptians, who used it to embellish furniture, but today gilding is making its mark on everything from mirror frames to architectural ornaments. Happily, you no longer need to splurge on sheets of 24-carat gold or sterling silver to achieve this lustrous look. Many companies offer imitation leaf, made of alloys of aluminum or copper and zinc, that look nearly as luxe as the real thing. Whether you gild with the genuine article or opt for less expensive metal leaf, you only need a few supplies. Read on to learn the basics.
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