Sevres Plate with Roman Gold Scrolling

  1. The old Regal or Salton heating trays (the kind used to keep food warm at a buffet) are suggested by Bonnie Crandall as ideal for warming gold and china for the gold application. A heating pad works equally well.

  2. To soften Roman gold, first use a few drops of acetone or nitro benzine solvent, then add just enough thinner to keep the right consistency of gold. You can use lavender oil as your thinner, but be careful not to add too much at a time as it will not evaporate as quickly as the solvent. The lavender oil will keep the gold workable for a longer time.

  3. Regular resist can be used to protect areas when you apply the gold. Be sure to let the gold dry enough that it will not smear when you remove the resist.
    (added by Marci Blattenberger): Auto body striping tape, which can be purchased at most auto supply dealers, also makes an excellent mask for gold. It is stretchy and can be pulled tightly around box and vase corners.
    It is also available in a wide width that is actually multiple strips with spaces in between covered with a clear strip. After burnishing the tape to the surface of the china, remove the clear over strip and you have perfectly spaced strips with open areas in between that make excellent fine lines....
    Be sure to remove the tape carefully before firing

  4. If you don't have a banding wheel to paint even smooth circles, try contact paper. Use a compass to mark out a circle the size you want, cut it out and carefully smooth it over the surface of your plate. Place 2 or 3 layers of masking tape over the center and use the compass to find the exact center of the plate and mark it on the masking tape.
    The tape will hold the point of your compass while you cut the contact paper. First draw the circles with pencil or pen, where you want them. Place a thin Xacto knife in the compass (you may have to bend open the part that normally holds the pencil). Secure the Xacto knife with tape in the compass.
    Use a #11 blade and be sure it is at the correct angle for cutting the circle. Carefully and slowly rotate the compass, cutting through the contact paper. Gently remove the cut portions of the contact paper where you want the gold band. Burnish the cut edges with a spoon or other smooth object to assure a tight adhesion.
    Inspect the open area to be sure there is no glue residue and remove any you find with a cotton swab. Paint the gold.
    When the gold is set firm, but not dried hard, carefully peel away the contact paper mask and you have clean circles of gold.
    A banding wheel is much faster and easier.

  5. Keep separate small containers of lavender oil for each type of gold. Wash the separate brushes in the oil, then in alcohol. When the oil has become heavy with gold residue, let it set and reclaim the gold at the bottom for first applications.
    The residue from Roman gold can be washed in solvent to remove the oils. When the gold has settled, pour off the top layer of solvent. Over time, you will collect enough gold to form a new paste by mixing it with a few drops of Balsam Copaiba. Use it as unfluxed gold.

  6. If you don't want to wash your gold brushes, store them in a tight container with a small container or blotter saturated with lavender oil or Clove Oil. The brushes stay soft.

  7. Gold and lusters can be applied with a small wedge of cosmetic sponge clipped in an electrical alligator clamp which has a small brush handle or dowel stuck into its open end. These sponges work nicely for applying gold to rims of dishes, or can be used to dab the gold or luster onto a surface.

  8. Ann Cline recommends letting the Roman gold decoration get cool before burnishing with sand. She says "if you aren't careful you can burnish the gold right off the piece if it is still warm from the kiln."

  9. A wayward scratch in your burnished gold can sometimes be removed by rubbing with a silver polishing rag or by polishing with toothpaste.

  10. Those annoying purple smears can often be removed with a gold eraser, or use the pencil style typewriter eraser. Be cautious not to scrub so hard you scratch the glaze surface. If the eraser doesn't work, use a cotton swab moistened with Whink and then wash it throughly.

  11. Lusters can be applied over fired gold to achieve some unusual and striking effects. For antique gold look, use Roman gold (burnished), then apply one or two fires of green luster over the gold. Several painters also recommend putting mother of pearl luster over gold for unusual effects.

  12. Many of us have discovered that liquid bright gold does not always fire the same way over some fired china colors. Liquid bright gold over greens often result in ugly black or brown spots on the fired gold. To be safe, don't put liquid bright gold over green without testing it first.
    However, Leona Julian reports that liquid bright gold over Coral Brown (a peach pink from Kay Knapp) produces an antique silver which can be very attractive. Rule of thumb: Test your colors with gold before using it on a major piece.

  13. For those wanting a matte gold look, without the cost or trouble of burnishing, Freddi Kay recommends painting first with yellow brown, padding it smooth and firing. Then cover with liquid bright gold and fire again.

  14. Marci Blattenberger has a solution to getting gold on the raised paste and not on the surrounding china. Use unfluxed gold. It will stick to the raised paste, because the paste has flux in it, but won't stick to the clean glazed china. When you burnish the gold, you will rub off gold on the unfluxed china surface. Be sure there is no paint underneath, or the gold will stick to the fluxed paint.

  15. Refer to Marci's web site for a discussion on how to use Base for Gold.
    (Note from Marci: The information is curently on Betty Gerstner's original website):Click here to go to Marci's pages on textured gold and dichroic glass fusion

  16. Round box with base for gold texture
    (LB Gold over)and Dichroic glass
    by Marci Blattenberger

    heart box with raised gold texture
    by Marci Blattenberger

  17. A drop or two of liquid bright gold in a bottle of Mother of Pearl luster will make it more colorful. However, use caution; too much will make it a gray color. Ann Cline advises one drop at a time and test fire.

  18. Betty Turner suggests mixing one part liquid burnish gold with one part liquid bright gold for a richer look.

  19. The following tip is from Frackelton's book, Tried By Fire, published in 1886 and shared by Bonnie Crandall:
    "If you want the burnished gold to have a brilliant shine, mix a little whiting and water into a paste; after you have gone carefully over the whole surface with your burnisher, put a little of the whiting with a soft cloth, to remove the grease which arises, in spite of Fate, on the surface.
    This will dry immediately. Wipe it lightly and carefully away, and then repeat the burnishing, and unless you have made some egregious blunder, your work will shine like the rising sun."

Gold Opening Page

The Three Different Types of Gold and How to Mix and Apply Them

Frequently Asked Questions and Troubleshooting

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