Category: Gilding (page 1 of 6)

Gold leaf lettering on glass or on panels – what it means

Gold leaf lettering on glass or on panels – what it means

Vintage gilding NGS London



NGS – We just Love Gold Leaf

Yep interesting… what does it mean for anyone investing big money into a gilded piece of front of house ID?

It means firstly that they want to say I am Quality… probably one of the best.  I am better than anyone else who doesn’t have Gold.

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It probably also says they are madly in love with what they do and have a passion overflow for this whole idea of product beauty and self worth.  The sense of self worth is what top drawer have in common and that can be the guy in Brockley or Bond Street.


But hang on the guy in Brockley has just as much pride and love as Prada or the other diamond chip traders! Yes that’s true but to be honest I wouldn’t suggest gold leaf for a local cafe because it wouldn’t suit en masse. It would be too bling where what might be better is wide catch warmth from design.  The price-tag won’t be far off yet the business would prosper… enough with good choice colour – back to gold then.

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Gold leaf fine lettering NGS superior sign gilding!! gilding London Urban distressed gold leaf lettering Soho London by Nick Garrett of NGS

Working with the finest materials is a dream and in many ways laying on size and burnishing in gold is a lot easier than 2 coats of enamel, and quite often I use white gold to back up lettering on glass which adds luminosity and durability.

A lot of newbies just love jumping in the deep end and getting gilding before they have mastered the basics, much to the annoyance of the old guard. I can see the attraction: the prestige, the higher earnings, the tag gilder all represent the essence of the craft of signwriting.

I’ve got ex student who are so obsessed with the stuff that they have created their own niche, tight methodology for glass gilding which is genuinely impressive. And yes sometimes their shapes are shit!! But sometimes my gilding is shit so who gives… we are all human.

The equipment and quirks have their own allure to: the Smith tip, Badger tip, Studdon gild method, Bermuda gild, Chicago, it goes on… refinements that really seem to matter.

In Ink We Trust Glass gilder Nick Garrett signwriter

But what really matters is that we have dozens of talented guys that have the passion for this stuff and 5 years ago there were only 5 of us in London slinging leaf.

Rejoice, keep it rolling!! Make gold your own special craft skill and start to create your own mysterious legend.

Kiru NGS fine signs London Reverse glass gilding Nick Garrett NGS London UK Nick Garrett Gold Leaf signs London Glass-gilding-NGS-London-1024x235 Gilding Footes London

What does it all mean?

Quality and matching ambition between client and artist… to say nothing of a deeply beautiful UK-London again.


Nick Garrett


Next article coming up – the Classic Cafe sign


CASE: Honours Board gild, Teddington Memorial Hospital – NGS Signwriters

Traditional freehand sign writing Nick Garrett.


From client directive to take lettering from 2 smaller panels and insert into larger main panel in gold leaf.

Trace made and re aligned text.

Several superb hands had contributed to this panel over the past 60 years.

On site the condition of the oak panelling gave cause for concern as the grain had lifted and distorted with fine yet deep ripples.

The draw up followed the original main hand.


Gilding mix:  Lefranc 6 hour gold size adding yellow black and whit to create putty colour with plenty of guts or ‘hold’.

Brush:  handover’s 00 chisel.


Letter size 18mm Body 30mm Headings

Lettering the original ‘Optima’ writers Roman was difficult over the rippled surface.


Allowing for 1 extra line after the last line of text.

Access Platform tower. Work height 2m




In earshot of patients being treated.

Child being treated and in some distress caused me extreme anxiety.


Working over weekend – fatigue.

Above Day 1 nearing an end… plenty to do yet



Day one: 8 lines were completed with main difficulty being the surface conditions.  I struck a margin chalk line left set and top bottom chalk lines with trace off letter set out for 75% of the layout. balance was flicked in with Chinagraph free hand.

After day 1 I had the measure of the font style/hand.

Snag was also that low tack frog still peeled shellac of the panel which meant drawings fell off and the surface require light restoration at clean up.

Clean up included Q tip wipe with brown wax and and fine wipe over with Shellac.


Retouch of scratched letters with artists gouache and gold leaf.























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