The leaf in books is available both in the traditional loose form and in the transfer form.
The loose leaf is recommended both for the decoration of inlaid surfaces, mainly with the use of the bole and the water gilding technique, and for the gilding of smooth surfaces with the oil gilding technique.
For the application of the loose leaf, special tools are required such as tweezers or flat brushes in squirrel hair, the latter available in different sizes depending on the size of the leaf. In order to decorate surfaces of any kind and size, it may also be necessary to cut the leaf into smaller pieces with the use of a special knife and a gilder’s cushion.
The transfer leaf differs from the loose one because it rests on a sheet of tissue paper, which protrudes from the booklet, in order to facilitate and speed up handling and application. This form is always applied with the oil gilding technique and is recommended only for the decoration of perfectly smooth surfaces or for gilding to be carried out outdoors.
In the transfer form, the leaf adheres to the tissue paper by pressing without the use of any adhesive.
The transfer leaf can also be cut with ordinary scissors if it is necessary to shape the piece of gold to be applied.