Gold Leaf Glass Signs

Gold leaf can be applied to glass to create really different & attractive signs that are elegant & bestow a sense of permanence to the business. There are many examples of this type of work in the gallery section.

Acid Embossing on Glass Signs for Signwriters.

The acid used in embossing is hydrofluoric acid, which must be used with the utmost care. A sheltered outdoor area or highly ventilated workspace is best suited to cope with the fumes omitted by this acid. Any splashes on skin must be washed off immediately with water.

Make a drawing & lay it underneath the glass, which should be placed on bench, then paint around the letters with Brunswick black this, forms the resist. This will dry in about an hour; it may need a second layer. The next day the glass should be embossed.

The glass should surgically clean then make a wall around the glass using beeswax, at least 1 inch high. The should be layed flat & level to ensure an even coating. Pour on the acid to about half an inch deep & leave it until a bright sparkly matt appearance is achieved, which normally takes less than half an hour. Remove part of the wax wall & pour the acid back into its container. Then immerse the glass in cold water to neutralise the acid. Examine the embossing & if your happy with the results remove the Brunswick black, if not the process is repeated until the desired effect is achieved. The black is removed with white spirit; at this point the job is completed if embossed letters are the only decoration required. A lot of this class of work is the gilded, producing a matt gild effect. If a burnished outline of gold is required around the letters, it should be 1/16 of an inch. This should be carefully outlined around the letter using a long haired sable pencil a size 1 will do the job, the paint should be intenso paint & the entire letter can be backed up with this paint.

Your sign is the first thing people notice when they approach your business or property. It not only informs visitors of who you are and what you do, but it also helps create that always important first impression.
Work like this can be seen in pubs mainly with many different techniques & finishes being used. Backgrounds could be left plain or marbled or grained, many other painted backgrounds were employed including colour fades where one colour would gradually merge into another. All these effects were achieved in paint by hand, mostly during the Victorian period but some modern examples exist. The work is very decorative & extremely beautiful & is part of our artistic heritage. Also glass signs & mirrors were created to decorate the interiors of pubs by all the major breweries advertising their array of different beers & ales. There are many fine examples of this work in pubs all over the country.

Burnished gold leaf is the most popular finish on glass, this is when the goldleaf has a mirror finish. However it is not the only type of finish for gold leaf on glass. Matt goldleaf is created by painting a varnished area on the glass or gilding over an acid etched portion of the glass. Lettering on glass can have a burnished gold outline & a matt centre or the reverse of that. The matt areas can have patterns etched into the varnish to create really amazing effects, the possibilities are endless.


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British Inn Signs