by Jamie Hansen November 04, 2018

Using Kolner Miniatum for gilding on paper

As an artist, I feel that it is important to use archival and time-tested materials in my work. I have a responsibility to sell a work that is not only beautiful but also designed to last. But as a vegan, I couldn’t bring myself to experiment with the parchment or rabbit skin glue that many artists traditionally use in gilded art. I was delighted to find a line of products by Kolner made specifically for gilding on paper. Their products bring a new technology to an art that has been around for thousands of years. I found their products on Etsy and a variety of online calligraphy shops. However I found very little information about techniques and tips for working with the Kolner Miniatum and using the Miniatum ink.

I read the manufacturer’s tips and instructions, and have created many pieces using the materials. I am sharing a few of the techniques that have worked for me in the variety of pieces that I have created with metal leaf. About Kolner Miniatum A cushion of Miniatum in yellow gold beside an area of white gold done in Miniatum ink.The original Kolner Miniatum is very thick and viscus. Once applied, it needs about 8 hours to set and achieve a proper tack. Thick applications may take days to dry completely. Miniatum only works with gold, white gold, and silver. Copper and brass will not stick ( the metal might be too thick? )

It’s designed specifically for use with paper so it’s meant to bend. A thick cushion of Miniatum will create a raised area of metal with a brilliant shine. However it is difficult to get a consistent and smooth ground that is more than 2 square inches, so I use flat gilding when I am covering a larger area.

The Miniatum ink is a little harder to find and more expensive. It is ready to gild in about an hour with an open time of about three hours. I have let it sit overnight and it still had some tack. Far easier to work with and much more forgiving, this liquid size is great for detailed work with a brush or pen.

For drawing over gold, I have only found one ink that has consistently given me wonderful results. Dr Ph Martin’s ink has a wonderful matte finish that contrasts beautifully with the gold leaf. It sticks to gold applied using Miniatum, Miniatum ink, varnish, or other glues. I haven’t found another waterbased pigment that will mark as consistently on metal leaf as India ink. I would love to hear about your experiences with different sizes and techniques for gilding on paper!

Read more about my gilded art on my Flourish Family Crests blog at https://flourishfamilycrests.com/blog

using Kolner Miniatum



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