There is nothing quite like the transformative power of gold leaf, whether you are restoring an antique mirror, sprucing up your furniture, or channeling Gustav Klimt. Choices abound: You can use real gold or imitation, traditional loose leaf or the newer transfer-style products. Your pick will depend on your project—but don’t sweat it: While there are noticeable differences, all options will add luster and warmth to your work. Below, find some fail-safe options for artists and craftspeople alike.
1. Speedball Mona Lisa Composition Gold Leaf
Speedball’s Mona Lisa metal leafing has long been a bestseller for artists for its value and consistent quality. The metal alloy of these sheets is made up of 80 percent copper and 15 percent zinc. Loose sheets like these are very versatile, and with the right adhesive and a gilder’s tip or mop (brushes to help transfer and burnish the gold leaf), shaping it around uneven surfaces like decorated art frames becomes an easy task.
2. Bememo Imitation Gold Leaf
With 100 sheets to a pack, these metal leaves can’t be beat for affordability. This product comes without much instruction or explanation, so it’s best suited for experienced artists who know what they are doing—or who don’t mind diving in head first.
3. Speedball Mona Lisa Simple Leaf
For those working on flat surfaces like canvas, the “simple” innovation of a waxed backing makes life easier and wastes less product. Just place the leaf metal side down on a surface prepared with adhesive and press firmly, then lift the backing off. Much of the unused leaf will stay attached to the backing for you to use later. And with fewer tiny bits to burnish off, cleanup becomes markedly easier.
4. Genuine Gold Leaf Sheets by Barnabas Blattgold
Like the Simple Leaf option above, these sheets are the more approachable transfer style—but unlike that option, they are real gold. The minimal waste of wax paper–backed sheets is even more important in a higher-priced product like this. Even to the untrained eye, the warmth of genuine gold is apparent.
5. Sim Loose Leaf Genuine Gold Sheets
Any genuine gold leaf under 22 karats will tarnish just like imitation gold. These beautiful leaves are made of 24-karat gold, ensuring a brilliance that will not tarnish even without sealing.