Can you Use PVA Glue with Gold Leaf? And How to Apply It

Gold leaf sometimes is also known as gold foil or gold leafing. It is an extremely thin sheet of actual gold that’s far lighter than a sheet of aluminum foil the same size. 

It can be very tricky to apply on different surfaces. However, the application process can be made easier, if you’re using the right kind of glue. There are various kinds of glue with different properties but most crafters prefer to use standard PVA glue.

So, can you use PVA Glue with Gold Leaf? PVA glue can be used with gold leaf. However, the degree of its effectiveness depends mostly on the kind of surface you’re applying the glue on. PVA glue will work on various surfaces including wood, ceramic, and various kinds of paper but it won’t work on plastic. You can also use PVA glue to seal gold leaf and protect it from wear and tear.

Keep reading to learn more about PVA Glue and how to apply it to gold leaf

What You Need to Know About PVA Glue

PVA glue, also known as white glue, is a kind of synthetic glue that is made from a combination of polyvinyl acetate, water, ethanol, acetone, as well as other chemical substances.

The glue comes in a liquid form due to the presence of water which acts as a solvent. Once the glue is applied to a surface and exposed to air, the water will evaporate and the glue will start to harden as the PVA polymers form a bond with the surface.

PVA glue can be applied to different kinds of surfaces including wood, ceramic, metal, rubber, and various kinds of paper. However, it doesn’t work on smooth surfaces like glass and most kinds of plastic materials such as polypropylene or polyethylene. You can learn more about what types of glue work on plastics here.

This kind of glue is commonly used in various crafts as it’s easy to apply, accessible, and cheap compared to other kinds of glue.

What Is Gold Leaf?

gold leaf to answer can you use pva glue with gold leaf

Gold leaf is basically a thin sheet of actual gold. It’s often used by artists in their paintings or by crafters to decorate different objects such as wooden sculptures or ceramic vases.

Because of how thin the sheet is, it can be very delicate and tricky to apply. So, you need to use a kind of adhesive that will ensure it will stick to the surface it’s applied to without falling apart.

What Kind of Glue Is Used for Gold Leaf?

There are various kinds of glue that can be used for gold leaf, but most artists and crafters prefer to use PVA Glue. That is because PVA glue is fast-drying and works on various kinds of surfaces. It’s also transparent when it dries, so it will not be too noticeable on the surface.

How to Glue Gold Leaf Using PVA Glue?

Here are the steps you need to follow to glue gold leaf to a surface using PVA glue:

  • Make sure that the surface you are applying the glue and gold leaf on is completely clean and dry.
  • Pour a small amount of PVA glue into a small container then use a gilding brush to apply a thin layer of glue onto the areas you want the gold leaf to stick to. Use tape to cover any area on the surface that you do not want the gold leaf to get on.
  • Wait for the glue to set and change from an opaque color to a clear color, following the manufacturer’s instructions. The time it takes the glue to set will mainly depend on the surface you’re applying it on.
  • Cut out the gold leaf sheets and make sure the pieces are slightly larger than the areas you’re applying them to.
  • Peel the gold leaf off its backing, using your fingers or tweezers. Make sure to be very careful so that the gold leaf won’t fall apart as it’s very thin and delicate.
  • Pick up the gold leaf carefully with the tweezers then place it on the areas covered with PVA glue. Smooth the gold leaf gently over the area using your fingers so it lies flat. Repeat until all the glued areas are covered.
  • Brush over the areas with gold leaf using a soft-bristled paintbrush. Move the brush in a very gentle, circular motion as this will help press the gold leaf into the glued areas to form a permanent bond. This will also help clear away any excess gold leaf.

Here is a simple video explaining how to use gold leaf:

Can You Use PVA Glue to Seal Gold Leaf?

You can use PVA glue to seal gold leaf. This will help protect the surface you applied the gold leaf on from wear and tear. It will also give it a more finished look making the gold color stand out more as it adds a semi-reflective sheen to the surface.

You can also learn about using pva glue to seal acrylic paint here.

How to Seal Gold Leaf Using PVA Glue?

To seal gold leaf with PVA glue, you first need to prepare the sealing varnish by mixing two-thirds of the glue and one-third of water into the container then stir them until you reach a suitable consistency. 

Now that you made the varnish from PVA glue, here are the steps you need to follow to seal gold leaf:

  • Make sure the surface you’re applying the PVA sealer is completely and that the gold leaf is not flaking off.
  • Use a wide-based brush to apply the first coat of the sealer. Make sure you’re brushing in the same direction using the width of the brush.
  • Wait for the first coat to dry completely before applying the second coat. Make sure to brush in the opposite direction to maximize the efficiency and protection of the sealer.
  • Wait for the second coat to dry completely before displaying the surface.

Related Questions

How Long Does It Take for PVA Glue to Dry?

It usually takes between 12-24 hours for PVA glue to dry completely. However, the drying time can vary depending on several factors including the kind of PVA glue used, the amount of glue applied, the kind of surface or material you’re applying the glue on, and the room temperature

How to Remove PVA Glue from a Surface?

To remove PVA glue from a surface, you can heat the glued surface using a blow dryer for a few minutes. You can also place a cloth soaked in hot water over the glue spots for a few minutes. This will help soften the glue and loosen the bond it has with the surface, so it will be easier to peel or wipe off.

Helpful Resources 

What is Gold Leaf

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