How to repair gilded mirror frames

Written by jessica geesley
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How to repair gilded mirror frames
Restoring a gilded mirror will bring back its original beauty. (Getty Creative)

A gilded mirror frame is one that has been inlaid with gold leaf to make the frame look as if it were solid gold. Frames of this sort are typically very ornate, making damage difficult to hid; any cracks, chips or missing chunks are very obvious. Damaged gilded frames can be repaired, though they do require some skill and patience. A gilding kit will contain most of the things needed to restore a gilded frame to near original condition.

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Things you need

  • Gold leaf pen
  • Gold coloured or gold leaf paint
  • Gold leaf/gilding kit
  • Antique finish
  • Sable brush
  • Water

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Apply the primer included in the gold leaf kit onto the damaged area of the frame with a sable brush.

  2. 2

    Brush gold paint onto areas of discolouration with a round sable brush. The paint colour may be substituted to match the original under-painting of the frame, such as an earth red or ochre yellow. This step may be skipped if the gilding primer from the kit is already tinted a colour.

  3. 3

    Remove a piece of gold leaf from the kit. Press it onto the surface of the frame and use the sable brush to gently push the leaf into crevasses or to smooth the surface.

  4. 4

    Wait for the paint to dry completely, then use the sable brush to apply the gold leaf sizing, or adhesive, from the gold leaf kit onto the areas that need restoration.

  5. 5

    Once the adhesive becomes tacky, remove a piece of gold leaf from the kit. Press the leaf onto the surface of the frame and use the fan brush to gently push the leaf into the crevasses or to smooth the surface.

  6. 6

    Rub the surface with a cotton ball to remove any remaining wrinkles, then coat the new gold leaf with the sealant included in the kit.

  7. 7

    Coat the restored area with an antique finish, which can be found at arts and craft or framing supply stores.

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