How to Get the Swirl Effect in Silver Leaf

Written by f.r.r. mallory
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How to Get the Swirl Effect in Silver Leaf
Silver leaf is very fragile and must be applied in a still location. (Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Silver leaf is a very thin sheet of real silver that is sold in a book of sheets. The leaf is applied over tacky size. Size is an adhesive type product sold for the application of fine metal leaf. The size is painted or sprayed onto a pounced surface, allowed to dry to a tacky condition, then applied with a soft brush. Pouncing is the application of a talcum powder mixture to prevent the leaf from clinging to the area around the application or sizing. After the leaf is attached and cleaned off with a soft brush, a design can be created in the leaf. The most common design is a swirl shape.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Silver leaf
  • Brush
  • Cotton ball
  • Velour

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  1. 1

    Select a size-swirling brush. Most leaf artists have tools they prefer because they work well for that artist. This type of brush is firm enough to leave small ridges in the silver to cause the effect, but not so firm that it will damage the silver.

  2. 2

    Center the brush in the area you want to swirl and then turn the brush briskly so that the brush tips equally to brush the surface of the silver.

  3. 3

    Move the brush to the next location and swirl again. Usually you will want to space the swirls so that they don't touch each other. If your brush isn't working the way you want, try wrapping a cotton ball in velour fabric. Twist the ball to create the swirl.

Tips and warnings

  • Experiment with various brushes and fabrics to find the combination that works best for you.

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