Since 1905 we specialize in gold leaf picture frames for paintings. We realize more than 150 models of gold leaf frames gilded by genuine gold leaf. Also, we use yellow, and red bole for different kinds of finishings. Buy our custom gold leaf frames in any size.
Every one of our models is a reproduction of an antique gold leaf frame. Our workshop spent more than a century manufacturing high-quality replicas. In fact, we have been working for several international museums. In addition, we work a lot for private collectors and antique dealers.
In the 1900s developed a new type of craftsmanship. It consisted of reproducing replicas of antique gold leaf frames for old paintings. Why did that happen? Firstly happened because famine, illnesses, and economic crises during the past centuries contributed to the loss of a lot of frames.
Secondly, during the second world war, many frames were lost. Indeed, nazis just stole the paintings because were much worthier. Also, they need more space to store as many artworks as they could. Thirdly, over the centuries, people tried to save paintings more than their frames. For this reason, nowadays it’s easy to find frameless masterpieces.
For all those reasons, a new form of craftsmanship was necessary. So, the mastery of reproducing antique gold leaf picture frames was born with a significant focus on ancient techniques. In fact, the reproductions have to look exactly like the originals. Consequently, in many workshops, you would find carvers and gilders working together to manufacture exclusive replicas. The techniques used didn’t differ at all from the ones used by ancient masters.
Carvers would carve on wood very complex ornate by hand. Gilders would use rabbit glue, gesso, and bole to prepare the wood surfaces for gilding. Lastly, real gold would be applied to gold leaf picture frames. Before applying the thin sheet of gold leaf, there is an excellent work of preparation. Any surface and carving have to appear perfectly smooth. See this video to know more about the gold leaf gilding process.
Our gold leaf frames for sale are realized using different techniques. We describe down below a few methods of the gilding process. Some of them are very traditional methods. Others are quite innovative. Therefore, there is a substantial difference about the time that one needs to realize them. In other words, we give customers the chance to choose among different prices.
Ancient techniques are indubitable extraordinary. Old masters used them with great care, and the result has been astonishing. That is the reason why the authentic gold leaf wood picture frames arrived at us in good condition. Indeed, they were very well made and craftsmen used great materials.
On the other hand, nowadays, we have to deal with an issue related to the price. In fact, such mastery is today expensive. That is due to several reasons. The most relevant is the time necessary to manufacture gold leaf frames.
A medium-sized reproduction can need nearly hundreds of hours of manual work to be built. The final result is undoubtedly astonishing, but the price can be quite high. Here in Italy, a mastery like that costs about 40 Euros per hour. In other countries it could cost less.
With that said, we now want to talk about the solution to solve the problem. We created a system that allows us to realize custom gold leaf frames at a very reasonable price. How did we achieve that? With the use of wood pulp for ornates, and the use of adhesive size for gold leaf gilding.
A few years ago, we discovered a system to create functional and resistant ornates. We discover the wood pulp. Wood pulp is made of sawdust mixed with a bit of paint thinner. What you get with that mix is a handy paste made basically of wood. The difference between wood pulp and real wood it’s very little. In fact, comparing the two, the only thing you’ll notice is the absence of wood veins on wood pulp.
Do we need wood veins to create carving decorations? I don’t think so. We don’t need them because they don’t apport any vantage. Wood pulp ornaments, in fact, are as much resistant as if they were of wood. What really matters is the final look and the price. About the ladder, you will find a huge difference.
When we use the wood pulp, we’re using molds to create the ornates. Molds allow us to speed up the decoration process. The wood pulp needs to dry before getting carved. When it gets dry you can proceed with the carving. The final touch of the master doesn’t require such a long time. Indeed, it’s a process that takes little time. Basically, that is why you’re going to save a bunch of money.
See on our Youtube channel our system: wood pulp decorations
We use water-based adhesives for gilding genuine gold leaf frames for paintings. The use of water-based sizes for gilding is an excellent idea to get a good result with the minimum effort. Gold leaf gilding is quite complicated by itself. Unfortunately, if you do it using the water gilding method, it’s going to be even more complicated.
The use of adhesive size is easy. You have to apply it to the smooth surface of the frame with a brush. After a while, you apply the gold leaves on top of it. Applying gold leaves on frames is quite quick. In fact, you don’t need to wet the bole with water along the process. The adhesive size is already sticky.
Check out a video on our Youtube channel showing our procedure: gold leaf gilding.
If you want to compare the water-based size technique with the more traditional water gilding, watch the following video: water gilding. You will notice how sophisticated is this second technique. The use of water and bole makes the entire process very hard to accomplish. In fact, if you don’t wet the bole properly, you’ll lose the gold, and that’s a loss of money.
To wrap-up, why we would go for the wood pulp and water-based size? We think that creating gold leaf picture frames for paintings doesn’t have to be too expensive. Our intention is to lower the price of the entire process. Indeed, we managed to realize custom gold leaf picture frames for an affordable price.
On one hand, we’re sad to skip old traditions. They had been used for centuries. But, unfortunately, nowadays, they are too costly. The good news is that we are still able to realize them. And, you know, in certain cases they become necessary. On the other hand, our innovative methods, allow the recycling of materials. Therefore, the impact on the environment is much lower.
Last, but not least, our techniques allow us to engage a greater number of customers. Remember that our gold leaf frames at the end of the work are astonishing. Nobody can tell them apart from authentic antique gold leaf frames.
We know our techniques are good. Even museums like them because they know that what really matters about replicas is the final outlook. Thus, museums buy our gold leaf wood picture frames for their paintings. That is due mainly to the patina, which will cover the gilding.
We realize reproduction frames aging them properly. We apply several hands of dark shellac on the shiny gilded surfaces. We hit the frames with stones and we fake wormholes. Those and a few other tricks make look gold leaf picture frames authentic.
Follow the link below to check out our system:
Our reproductions of custom gold leaf frames for sale have a reasonable price. We are aware of the global economic crisis. As we want to reach more than just exclusive clients, we passed the last twenty years studying new ways to lower costs.
We accomplish our main goal. Nowadays, we realize about 150 models that customers can buy. There are many reasons they want to purchase them. First, they can frame masterpieces, as museums do. Second, they can frame minor paintings buying excellent products for affordable prices. Customers can choose between three different kinds of gildings. Thus, we offer them the chance to choose among three different prices.
REMEMBER THAT ALL THE PRICES YOU’LL GET BY THE CALCULATOR ARE FOR DUTCH METAL LEAF! TO HAVE A GENUINE GOLD LEAF FRAME YOU MUST ADD ON TOTAL PRICE THE PERCENTAGES DESCRIBED ABOVE!
Click on our FAQ’s to know more about order details: FAQ
We specialize in custom made gold leaf frames for paintings. As you will notice, we offer several models split into two main categories. They are labeled las affordable and expensive frames. Find the links below.
On any product page there is a link to a calculator page. You’ll be able to get a quote instantly based on the size of your painting. Flexibility is our main strength: we can frame any painting.
Even though you see the profile of our gold leaf frames with fixed dimensions, you can change them anytime. For instance, you could buy a frame with a deeper rabbet. There is no problem in modifying any measure. So, you tell us the depth of your painting, and we customize the perfect rabbet depth. We will maintain the right proportion of the structure anyway.
If you need a smaller or a larger overlap, we can do it. Maybe you need to frame a TV, or you want to let visible the sign of the painter. If that is the case, we’ll let the sign appear. Solving any one of these kinds of problems is a normal routine.
Personalize anything. Measures, structures, and finishings are the main concern of who wants to buy a custom gold leaf frame. Stay with us and we will solve any issue.
For the clients who want to buy the most expensive products, we recommend the red bole and water gilding. The bole is indispensable to make the gold shine. Indeed, the bole is a soft fine clay mixed with rabbit skin glue. And when you brush the gold on top of the bole with an agate stone, you’ll obtain a shiny surface. Keep reading if you want to know more about water gilding.
The first step is preparing the rabbit glue. It comes in a granular form, and you have to transform it into a liquid solution. You have to soak some granules into the water and wait for about a couple of hours. The pellets will absorb the water and become a jelly. You then worm the jelly on a stove. Finally, it’s going to become liquid with its typical yellow color.
The second step is to mix the red clay bole with the liquid rabbit glue. Thus, you obtain a moist bole. The bole melts in worm rabbit glue very quickly. When you’ve got the right density, you apply it to the frame. You got to maintain the bole worm. In fact, if it gets cold, it would start drying, and it can’t be used any further.
After applying the red bole on a frame, you need to let it rest for a while. You can not start the gilding process right away. Indeed, the bole has to be dry. So, probably the day after, you can proceed with the gold leaf gilding.
The frame has to be fixed in a vertical position. We use a painter’s easel for that purpose. This way, any time you wet the bole with the brush, the water can flow down. That is for avoiding water to accumulate on the frame surface.
Any gold leaf measure 9 x 9 cms. Usually, one needs to cut the sheet into three parts before applying it to the wet bole. If you don’t cut it, the gold could get craked, and you will lose time and money. Also, before applying any part of gold, the bole has to be very well wet. That’s a procedure that has to be done continuously, and you have to get a steady rhythm to do it properly.
Check a video on our Youtube channel to see the process: water gilding
To wrap up, what would be the difference between water gilding and gilding with adhesive size? Frankly, the difference is not that evident. The observer has to be quite expert to realize which kind of gilding there is under the patina (dark color). After gilding, in fact, to achieve an antique look, we need to apply several hands of dark shellac on the gilded surfaces of the frame. This process, called Patina, partially cancels the brightness of water gilding. That is why you can’t see much difference between the two gilding techniques.
Of course, you will notice a significant difference between the two different gildings if you wouldn’t apply any patina at all. In fact, if the frame has to be shiny, the water gilding would be much brighter.
Furthermore, to accomplish with the gilding, you need one more step. That is brightening up the gold on top of the bole by an agate stone. That will make seem the gilding like a gold bar. How does that happen?
The agate compresses the bole surface and makes it super smooth. Therefore, the gold becomes translucent. There is no way to go through this process with adhesive size gilding. Indeed, the adhesive never gets hard enough to be pressed. Thus, the frame remains opaque.
But again, you will see a considerable difference in price between the two techniques. That is due to a reason: water gilding takes a longer time to be done.
We strongly recommend choosing the kind of gilding thinking on the final result. Go for genuine gold leaf frames if you have a masterpiece. Otherwise, it’s better to go for a Dutch gold leaf finishing. That way you are going to save a lot of money.
As already discussed previously, the final look is the most important thing. We know you won’t see much difference between Dutch leaf and real gold. In fact, the leaves in themselves are very similar. What really matters, in our opinion, is the patina. In other words, what matters is the final touch of the gilder.
A good patina can improve a bad frame. Yes, we’ve seen a lot of ugly frames with a good patina. With the word ugly we intended very bad structures and profiles. However, they actually looked antique because of the patina. Maybe not the best models, but antique. The patina always covers the gilding. For this reason, you need to be an expert to understand what material was used underneath.
In a perfect world, the reproductions of antique gold leaf picture frames should be gilded with real gold. Of course, the use of water gilding will be even better. However, after the most expensive type of gilding, the frame needs a great patina. The gilder should go through any tricky step of the process of aging the gold.
Unfortunately, if one wants to obtain an antique look, many of the good qualities of the gold are going to be lost. In fact, the patina will partially cover the benefits of the red bole and its bright effect.
Things change a lot when you need a shiny and bright gold leaf frame. Indeed, if the frame has to look new you probably want to use genuine gold. Without patina, the Dutch gold leaf applied with adhesive-size is not very compelling. Its look is kind of dull and fake.
On the other hand, real gold has an astonishing brightness. If you let it shine as it is, there is no way to find something comparable to it. But in this case, maybe the question would be: Why would you need shiny gold? I can’t answer this question because tastes are different from people to people.
Some customers ask for bright gold. For instance, we did several works for hotels. They needed mirror frames and other furniture in shiny gold. We’re talking about luxury hotels, the ones you never want to leave.
In conclusion, if you seek out items that have to look like gold bars, go on with real gold leaf. Ask for 22 or even 23 carats gold leaf. On the other hand, if you need reproductions of antique gold leaf frames, go for the more affordable techniques. The final result is going to impress you.