Add color and shine with Gilders Paste

February 4, 2013

Gilders Paste, trying various methods and materials, and deciding I like it! 86-381-gilderspaste2 Rings & Things has added an assortment of colors. Each tin is 1.5 oz of wax-based medium, and is enough to cover 30 square feet of metal, wood, resin, et cetera. You can apply Gilders Paste with a cloth, cotton swab, or fingertip. Thin with paint thinner, turpenoid (but not turpenoid natural) or mineral spirits to transform the highly concentrated Gilders Paste for brushing, sponging, staining, washing or spray painting. I suggest having the following tools handy when you plan to colorize with Gilders Paste:

  • Soft Rag (an old cotton t-shirt worked well)
  • Baby Wipes
  • Small Mixing cup
  • Disposable (cheap) small paint brushes
  • Palette
  • Stir Sticks
  • Mineral Spirits – from the hardware or craft store.
  • Non Stick Craft Sheet
  • Apron

I don’t really mind getting my hands dirty. I didn’t have the foresight to use a craft sheet, so the table was gilded along with the objects. After I was done, the plastic table cleaned up good as new with some mineral spirits, and my hands cleaned up fine with soap and water. If you are more particular (and don’t want any gilding of your fingernails), you may want to wear latex or nitrile gloves. Drying time varies depending on substrate and surface preparation, approximately 60 minutes to the touch on dry debris-free surfaces and 12 hours for complete cure time. If polishing or burnishing is required, allow 12 hours drying time. Rubbing the base coat immediately after application with a dry cloth or slightly wet with thinner will remove Gilders Paste from the relief detail and highlight depressed details. Lightly brushing Gilders Paste over the top will highlight the relief details. This is patina color on a reproduction Ching dynasty coin. I scraped a little paste out of the tin, and then wet the paint brush with mineral spirits and mixed it together on the palette until I had a paintable consistency. mineral spirits I put on a fairly thick coat. 44-062 with patinaAfter an hour or so, I buffed off the excess paste, and this was the result (with a un-gilded example for contrast). 44-062 patina buffedThis is a nice use of the Gilders Paste for faux aging. The color was a bit paler than I hoped for so I mixed some African bronze paste into my patina color. patina and african bronzeI painted a new layer of paste onto the opposite side of the coin, and the new color was more to my liking. 44-062 dark patinaThis is a filigree cross in antiqued copper plating, which I colored with verdigris Gilders Paste. For this color, I still mixed in the mineral spirits, but I applied the color with a stir stick. verdigris cross After drying and buffing, the verdigris color is subtle, but it counters the reddishness of the copper metal. verdigris cross compare This color was nice, but I wanted a bit more shine, so I layered german silver Gilders Paste over the verdigris. german silver filigree crossHere is the filigree with the metallic layer lightly buffed off, and the original plating for contrast. german silver filigree cross buffedToo much of the verdigris was covered now, so I went back in for a 3rd layer, verdigris paste on top of the previous two applications. After some more drying and buffing time, this was my final result: filigree cross final My next experiment involved resin flowers. I was curious about the results on a highly dimensional, non-metallic item. I thinned out violet Gilders Paste, and applied it to 3 colors of resin flower with a paintbrush. violet paste on resin flowersAfter drying, this was too tricky to just buff with a cloth, so I touched up the high points with my cloth, and then used a dry brush to remove excess paste from the crevices. The two lower flowers are un-colored. The flowers with the paste have an almost velvety look to them. colored resin flowers This is another antiqued copper plated filigree. The piece on the right has iris blue Gilders Paste applied directly with a cloth. The piece on the left has been layered. White Gilders Paste on the filigree makes the iris blue top layer more visible. Both of these are dried and buffed. blue iris filigreeNext I tried colorizing some silver plated wavy disk beads. I thinned out the iris blue and damson pastes, and applied them to the beads with a brush. This is after buffing, with a shiny bead in the center for contrast. The lighter the metal color is to start with, the greater contrast the paste seems to make. wavy disksI tried out the rusty red pinotage color Gilders Paste on both silver plated flower charms and antique brass filigree. This was my chance to paint the flowers red. For these items, I added a bit of mineral spirits to my brush, and conditioned some of the paste directly in the tin. pinotageLastly, I wanted to mix colors, as opposed to layering them. I mixed the pinotage with the German silver Gilders Paste in the palette. Both of these colors happened to be creamier than some others, so I didn’t need to thin them down. I applied this mixture by brush to a raw brass filigree and got a lovely metallic pink finish. metallic pink The manufacturer says Gilders Paste will be permanent in 24 hours. It will accept an over coat such as clear lacquer, varnish, urethane, or powder coating to achieve a uniform appearance where the paste was not used, or to provide further durability to areas where repeated handling is required, such as a door knob. Due to the anticipated increased wear for jewelry, I tested 4 different products for sealing Gilders Paste.

The first 3 sealers all worked great. The spray sealer was the easiest to use, but the fumes from it can be quite obnoxious. spray sealed filigree I sealed one of the filigree crosses with the glaze, and the other with glossy accents. To me they look identical. sealed crossesThe renaissance wax, however, provided unanticipated results. Due to the cleaning components of this product, it stripped most of the color from the item I applied it to. The disk on the left was the original gilded iris blue wavy disk. The disk on the right has had renaissance wax applied, which lightened the color. It is good to know that this may work to lighten a color without fully removing it if that is ever your desired effect. waxed disk Be aware that the consistency of this product will vary from color to color and from tin to tin. If you have a tin with creamy consistency, enjoy it. If the product is crumbly, (whether it came that way, or you left the lid open) don’t ever consider it “bad”. You can re-constitute the paste with mineral spirits, a few drops at a time. So, having tried Gilders Paste, I’m hooked. Now I need to figure out what colors to buy to start my collection. ~ Rita

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  • Peggi February 7, 2013 at 7:37 am

    This article was very helpful. With a better idea of what needs to be done, it will be easier to get the results desired. I have 3 colors and have used all with fairly good results, but think I will use a sealer on my last piece which was a stone bezel 3 strand clasp. As I worked with it making the bracelet, the color wore off.

    • Polly February 7, 2013 at 8:55 am

      Hi Peggi,
      Gilders Paste works on a variety of surfaces, and some you don’t have to seal (such as the crevices of ceramic beads, or a wooden picture frame) but anything non-porous, such as metals, really benefits from a sealant, even on the low points. And it comes in such irresistible colors!

  • Cheryl Panico February 11, 2013 at 5:20 am

    To whom it may concern,
    I have used the gilders paste. Let it cure, sprayed it with clear coat spay paint, let that cure and I noticed that I could scrape the color off with my
    fingernail. This is not good. I did not sand my component before coloring it. What am I doing wrong. Do I need to mix the gilders with mineral spirits. I used it right out of the pot. I used a stipple brush to apply it. I really love this product, but if I can scrape it off with my nail that’s not a good thing. If there’s any help you can give me I would appreciate it. Thank you……..Cheryl

    • Polly February 11, 2013 at 9:00 am

      Hi Cheryl,
      Gilders Paste is designed to be used in crevices of books and picture frames, or for semi-porous surfaces such as ceramics. So to keep it looking good on high points of high-wear, non-porous materials such as metal jewelry, is a definite challenge.
      I highly recommend
      a) texturing your component, so there are some low points to hold the color.
      b) using a sealant that is recommended for jewelry. Try one of the sealants listed above in Rita’s post. They may be more durable than the clear coat spray paint that you tried. Yours may be intended for surfaces such as paper, cement or wood, rather than metal that will get scraped or frequently rubbed.

      • Hutch February 13, 2013 at 1:01 pm

        Hi Cheryl,
        I can’t tell from your post whether you buffed the paste after it was cured. I think you have to eliminate the excess paste before sealing it for the sealer to adhere to the base piece as well as the color. Please let me know if this helps. ~ Rita

  • Raymond Lee Jewelers March 13, 2013 at 7:40 am

    Great techniques!! Very creative. All of your stuff looks so great, it’s hard to pick a favorite. I love the final look of the brass filigree, but really everything turned out great. Experimenting always leads to discovering great new things.

  • sue July 14, 2013 at 1:20 am

    I applied gilders paste onto my etched piece of copper metal sheet & let it dry for 27 hrs. When I tried to apply Renaissance wax in a thin layer the gilders paste color all just came off. Could you please let me know how to seal the gilder’s paste ? Would appreciate. Thank you

    • Hutch July 15, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Hi Sue,
      Yes, the gilder’s paste removed much of the color in my testing, too. However, the envirotex spray sealer, the vintaj glaze, and the glossy accents all worked great. I think most any spray sealer would work. ~ Rita

  • Jean S. August 4, 2013 at 3:23 pm

    I’ve seen that Gilders Paste can be put on fabric.
    Do you have any experience with this and/or have any tips?

    • Hutch August 8, 2013 at 11:43 am

      Hi Jean,
      We haven’t done any testing at Rings & Things with gilders paste on fabric. Here is a link to the mfg. page of tips:
      They don’t mention fabric on their list of materials, either.

  • Eleanor Knight September 5, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Hi….I have nearly every color of Gilders paste, and have had great results using it on metal components and polymer clay…except for the Tulip Red (my favorite..) It is super creamy, and no matter how long I’ve left it to set (up to 24 hrs), it just rubs right off. All of it. Since I’ve had good results with the rest of the colors, and they were all purchased at the same time, from the same place, does anyone have any ideas? I wonder if I just leave the top of the tin off for a little time if that would help to “dry it out” a little? Any suggestions would be wonderful…..

    • Polly September 5, 2013 at 4:52 pm

      Hi Eleanor,
      I do think that might work, but I’m not sure. We haven’t run into that exact problem so you have us stumped at the moment.

    • Hutch September 6, 2013 at 10:46 am

      I had another thought in the middle of the night. You don’t mention, but it sounds like you are letting the paste air dry once you put it on your components. It might be worth a try to “heat set” the paste with a heat gun, or even a blow dryer on high heat, low air.
      If you do have success with either of these methods, please let us know. We’d love to add it to our tips. ~ Rita