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Angel Gilding vs Gold Leaf

There are four ways to apply gold to glass - two hot and two cold.

Gilding Hot Glass

  1. Gold leaf on molten glass: You can apply gold leaf to the molten glass while working at the glory hole.
  2. Liquid Bright Gold: You can paint the china painter's gold overglaze (Liquid Bright Gold) onto cold glass and fire it in a kiln. For more information, go to Dogwood Ceramics

Both techniques fuse the gold into the glass making it permanent and washable. Neither of these methods is suitable for gilding large areas.

Gilding Cold Glass

  1. Gold Leaf Gilding: You can use a Smith Tip to apply gold leaf to glass with gelatin water size. See our video. We carry silver and aluminum leaf. Because of its volatile price, we do not carry gold leaf.
  2. Angel Gilding: We have all the chemicals and tools you need to gild glass by chemical deposition. See our video and our Angel Gilding Kit.

This chart lists the differences between Angel Gilding and gold leaf gilding. The technique you chose will depend on the size, location and design requirements of the job in hand. This chart applies to silver and copper as well as gold.


Comparing Angel Gilding and Gold Leaf Gilding

Angel GildingGold Leaf
Apply to a horizontal surface Apply to a vertical surface
Apply to the back of the glass Apply to either side of the glass
Use on a work bench Use in any location
Requires careful measurements Requires well developed fine motor skills
Can be chemically removed Can be chemically removed
Uses gold efficiently 1 year if stored in a cool dark place
Requires two metal layers Uses more gold per square foot
Gilds textured glass easily Does not gild textured glass well
Faster for large areas Faster for small areas
Screen print for selective designs Screen print for selective designs
Apply over a vinyl mask Can not apply over a vinyl mask
Apply to the inside of a container Apply to porous surfaces
Seamless Shows lines between the leaves


1Our mirror removers dissolve metal leaf.

2In October 2007 Robert Frese of Chicagold Signs told me that he would need 32 gold leaves to gild one square foot of glass perfectly. At that time the spot price of gold was $750 a Troy ounce and a book of 500 gold leaves cost about $635. Robert’s 32 gold leaves would have cost him $40. He could have Angel Gilded the glass for $18.

3It takes the same amount of time to Angel Gild 4 square feet as it does 1 square foot. Gold leaves are applied one leaf at a time.


For detailed instructions on gold leaf gilding, read Gold Leaf Techniques by Raymond LeBlanc, edited by Kent Smith and published by ST Media Group International, 1986, ISBN: 0-911380-71-X