Tools for Gilding: An Overview

Gilder’s Cushion

The Gilder’s Cushion by Giusto Manetti Battiloro is an essential element in the gilding process, especially for those using loose leaf gold. The leather surface allows for optimal leaf placement before cutting. On the underside of the cushion, there is a leather loop for the thumb, allowing the cushion to be held like a palette during use. Alternatively, it can be used to secure the knife when not in use.

Gilder’s Knife

Available with one or two cutting edges, the Giusto Manetti Battiloro gilder’s knife allows for the cutting of leaf by applying light pressure and a cutting motion. It is also useful for transferring the leaf from the booklet to the gilder’s cushion. The blade, approximately 15 cm long, enables cutting leaves of various sizes in a single motion. It is used interchangeably for cutting both precious metal and imitation leaves.

Gold Leaf Brush

Available in various sizes according to specific needs, the Giusto Manetti Battiloro gold leaf brush is useful both for picking up the leaf from the booklet and, once cut, for transferring it from the cushion to the surface to be decorated. For better tool utilization, it is recommended to rub the brush on the face before picking up the leaf: the warmth, slight oiliness of the skin, and the electrostatic effect of rubbing will make leaf pickup easier.


The tip of Giusto Manetti Battiloro pouncers is characterized by a wide base that can hold significant amounts of water in its “reservoir.” Thanks to its softness, it allows for precise brushstrokes without streaking. Its lightweight combined with water retention makes it an almost indispensable tool for a wide range of light artistic techniques, including decoration on ceramics and watercolor, especially for the technique of oil gilding.

Bolo Polishing Brush

Used after applying the final coat of bolo, with gentle rotating movements, to achieve an even more brilliant gilding effect. It is a brush with synthetic bristles with a rounded, blunt tip. Thanks to its short handle made of natural wood, the brush is extremely maneuverable and offers precise control during use.

Agate Burnishers

These tools, made of finely polished agate mounted on wooden handles, are used to burnish gold leaf to achieve a high gloss. The agate burnisher is used for burnishing or polishing oil gilding. After the gilded surface has dried and stabilized, by smoothing it with the stone and applying proper pressure on the leaf, a shiny final effect is achieved. The different available shapes are used depending on the surface geometry to be worked on.


The Giusto Manetti Battiloro range of brushes is available in various series and sizes. Depending on their use, the brushes have different characteristics in terms of elasticity, color retention, softness, wear resistance, thickness, and length of the tip. The brushes come with nickel-plated brass ferrules, wooden handles, and tips with specific characteristics depending on the series and subsequent use.

Vegan Brush Soap

The formulation of Giusto Manetti Battiloro brush soap not only preserves the bristles but also ensures thorough cleaning of the brushes. The aluminum box and the silicone disc in the cap make this product the perfect choice for quick and effective brush cleaning in any situation.

Roll Applicator

Used for applying rolls of precious metal of variable sizes from 80mm to 104mm, the applicator makes it easier and faster to apply leaf in roll form, optimizing time and improving application quality.

Rabbit Skin Glue

Glue made from animal origin flakes, used as a base element for preparing various gilding products, including “water gilding” glue. To get the best performance from the product, it is recommended to soak the amount of glue to be used overnight. After this period, the glue will have absorbed the water and can be melted in a double boiler, adding a little water. During this phase, it is to continuously stir the glue to homogenize it. Once the product is well melted and amalgamated, it is ready to be used.


Gesso for gilders is used together with a mixture of rabbit skin glue and water (called “bole”) to create gesso grounds for oil gilding (known as “amalgam”). The gesso and bole mixture should be applied, using a brush, in several successive layers on the surface, which should be clean, smooth, and free from dust or particles. After applying each layer, allow the gesso to dry and then smooth the surface with coarse-grit sandpaper to remove any imperfections. Repeat this process until the surface is uniform and well smoothed. Once the final layer is applied and dried, it is important to refine the surface with a scraper to recreate sharp edges for gilding, taking care not to remove the amalgam layer.


Bole is a special clay used as a base for the leaf in the oil gilding technique. It is applied to the surface previously prepared with gesso. Bole helps maintain the adhesion of the leaf to the substrate over time and also provides greater brilliance to the gold during the burnishing phase.


“Mission” is the common name given to adhesives used for applying and bonding the leaf, whether it is precious metal or imitation. Available in different base formulations (water, alcohol, varnish), the missions offered by Giusto Manetti Battiloro allow for the application of the leaf on surfaces of different types and for gilding intended for both indoor and outdoor environments.


After gilding is complete, using Giusto Manetti Battiloro bitumen varnish, particular chromatic effects can be created, giving the decorated surface an aged appearance. Aging or patination techniques are especially recommended for gildings or restorations done with real gold or silver leaf, but some of these techniques can also be applied to gildings done with imitation metals.