Using Schaibin Leaf

Schaibin Leaf

Schaibin Metal Leaf is large sheets of loose leaf, packaged in boxes and sold by weight.
The beauty and ease of application of Schaibin leaf make it an attractive alternative to working with traditional book leaf. The broken application produces lovely organic effects and is a very quick and easy application technique besides!
Use Schaibin leaf applications on whole walls, ceilings and range hoods or as an accent in a panel, on furniture, moldings and focal points such as niches and alcoves.

Step-by-Step Application

Note: There are very specific procedures to follow for applying leaf "properly" for furniture-quality applications that include pristine surface prep, etc. What is represented here is a quick, decorative application to produce a dramatic effect that can stand alone or become a base for further finishes such as patinas, plasters and more.
Make sure that your basecoat has had ample time to dry and cure, so that the moisture has been removed from the surface.


As with all leaf, Schaibin leaf must be adhered to the surface with Gold Leaf Size. We recommend and use water-based Rolco Aquasize. It can be applied in a thin, even layer by brush, spray or roller. When brushing or rolling, take care not to leave method of application marks in the size. Apply evenly but thinly and "lay off" your application by going back over it with a light pressure. Use a good quality foam or bristle brush for smaller areas. For larger areas use a low-nap roller. We recommend using a flocked Velour Foam Roller cover (designed for applying finish coats) as it lays the size out nicely.
Apply Gold Leaf Size
After the size has cleared and come to tack (min. 15-20 minutes) you can begin to apply the leaf to the surface. Some of the leaf may be crumpled and needed to be opened up slightly. The leaf is easy to apply, even on a vertical surface because it will stick readily to the size and stay in place. Dust your hands or gloves with a little baby powder to keep the leaf from sticking.
Place the Schaibin Leaf
Once you have applied the leaf to a desired area begin to lightly pull and move the leaf by going over it with a flattened hand. Don't get too rough with the leaf at this point. Maintain a light pressure to avoid scratching the leaf on the fresh size.
The amount of surface area that you cover with the leaf is entirely up to you. You may want to leave large open areas of exposed background, in which case your initial application of the Schaibin will have you placing the sheets of leaf further apart. The act of pulling and flattening the leaf will naturally result in some of those open areas becoming filled in with smaller chunks of leaf and, eventually, leaf "powder" as the pieces become smaller and smaller

If possible, allow the leaf to set up overnight before doing a final burnish with lambswool or soft cotton-again to avoid "scratching" the leaf. If you plan to add distressing techniques, such as patinas, stains and other mediums anyway, you can burnish earlier if you need to without adversely affecting the final finish.
burnish schaibin with lambswool

NOTE: Composition Gold and Copper leaf will tarnish if not properly top coated. 
If you are applying leaf in a humid environment and do not plan to patinate or distress your finish you will want to coat it with an oil-based poly finish, shellac or petroleum-based wax such as Liberon's Black Bison Wax  (neutral or tinted). Wax is a very easy finish as it can be applied quickly in a thin layer with cheesecloth and buffed out 20 minutes later. Be aware, though, that no other mediums or topcoats can be applied over the wax.
As with all techniques represented on this website, please plan to create samples and experiment with new products and techniques before applying them to your project surface.

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