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Water Gild over Water Based Spray Paint/ HF SAFETY

Hand Lettering topics: Sign Making, Design, Fabrication, Letterheads, Sign Books.

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James Young
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2020 3:51 am

Water Gild over Water Based Spray Paint/ HF SAFETY

Post by James Young »

Hey guys!

Long time lurker first time poster here.
I know it goes against the point somewhat of this forum. I have been practicing hand lettering with One Shot paints and am still hopeless.

I also have been doing some gold leaf water gilding on glass.

I would like to produce a glass sign for a friend and have a question regarding using paint mask and a spray can.

I plan to cut the mask and apply it to the glass and then weed the background and spray. I will then remove the mask before the paint dries and then leave it to dry overnight. My question is can i then water gild my gold over the lettering without any adverse results due to the spray paint?

Ive read in here that dish soap can help break the surface tension and allow the gold to go all the way to the edges. Is this correct?

Then once the gold has been applied i will buff it then lay another sheet of gold and then back up the whole panel with one shot.

Anyone have any experience with this method and could chime in that would be great.

Again I know it isnt really hand lettering but I practice my brush skills most days but my skills still are not up to scratch and the design is somewhat detailed and quite small due to sort of being a bit of a test piece.

Any help would be fantastic.


Would like to try HF Acid testing and have read the safety data sheets. They dont specifically say how to neutralise the acid for containment or disposal. How do all you pros go about this especially once mixed with the mica.

I would like to know every action needed to be safe in handling and disposal and/or containment from the guys that actually do it before I go ahead with a test piece.


James Young
Lee Littlewood
Posts: 228
Joined: Thu Apr 15, 2004 2:36 pm
Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Water Gild over Water Based Spray Paint/ HF SAFETY

Post by Lee Littlewood »

1) Watergild: are you watergilding over the paint or over clear glass? Applying paint (outlines, panels...) with a vinyl stencil and a roller/brush/spray is fine - as you say, pull the stencil before the paint dries so the edges "heal" a bit. Once dry you can surface gild on the painted area, but you can only watergild on clear, clean glass. So the stencil will have left stuff on the glass, and you will need to clean the clear glass area well (probably let the paint dry a few days before you go over the clear glass with BonAmi or alcohol). Then before you can get gelatin water to sheet evenly you will need to do something about the dried paint: putting detergent in the water (never worked well for me) and/or dusting the paint with kaolin powder, then rubbing it off. That has worked well for me - I assume the kaolin absorbs grease and takes it off the surface when wiped away with a clean cloth. When you have the gelatin size ready, then "pounce" kaolin over the surface (I use an old sock, just like a pounce bag of chalk) and brush it off with a clean cloth or chamois; then I like to run some clear water over the area to see how it sheets. It won't be great but the gelatin in the size helps sheeting a lot, so you are just looking for bad spots to rub with a clean wet brush, and also it probably helps to rinse off tiny bits of kaolin powder. Now pick up your size pot, flow on some watersize and go lay some leaves. The second layer of gold is not usually a problem because there is now a layer of gelatin over the paint.

2) Hydroflouric Acid: One very useful idea (from Rick Glawson) is to add food coloring (red is good, looks scary) to the HF so you can see little spills and bits on the side. What we have used for neutralizing is limestone rocks - get them at a gardener's supply house, I got 5 pounds of pebbles. Put them in a bucket overnight for lime water and/or put a handful in each bucket you will be using to neutralize/rinse your glass and gloves. It is nice to let everything sit overnight but I haven't done enough HF to compare fresh limewater with aged limewater. You will still get a reassuring bit of foaming, but it should not be so strong as to spatter. Spattering is the problem with the stronger bases like baking soda in water. Honeywell has a nice chart showing "Typical Alkaline materials (bases) for neutralization of HF". See if you can talk with someone who has done HF to walk you through it (that is not me - we've only done a few small workshops in our parking lot). Good Luck and Be Careful.
where am i? Now, when i need me...
Ron Percell
Site Admin
Posts: 62
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2004 9:32 am
Location: Angie, La.

Re: Water Gild over Water Based Spray Paint/ HF SAFETY

Post by Ron Percell »

Spray Paint doesn't adhere well to glass. Cohesion is typically poor and can slide off when water gilding. Often when applying warm water size, the paint will not expand as fast as the glass causing separation. To get around this use a Spray bottle to apply warm water size in small amounts without flooding.

On dish soap, I suggest Ivory over the other brands that leave films behind.

Hand Lettering, pull faster and ad spurs to your corners.

Dispose of H F at your local Hazardous Materials Center for free, usually at your local landfill-dump. store excess in proper containers and label with full name sealed.

HF safety data sheet, read carefully.
https://www.uab.edu/ehs/images/docs/che ... -09-29.pdf

We use chemical gloves and a containment chamber. Micas are for textures and or splash reduction (used as a wet paste).

also check wikipedia to find more links to read on HF.

Good Luck
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