Looking to try gold leaf embossing on leather? It’s certainly a worthy task to take on. Embossing leather gives an already luxurious leather item a major upgrade by adding the sophistication of gold leaf to it. And though this process is typically handled by a professional, you may be surprised to find it isn’t hard to do on your own at home.

In this post, we’ll break down the steps for applying gold leaf sheets for leather embossing and what supplies you’ll need to do it. Let’s get started.

How To Emboss Leather With Gold

Table of Contents

What Is Leather Embossing?

Leather embossing is the process in which gold patterns or lettering are made on the surface of a leather piece or item. Leather embossing graces all kinds of objects, including gold leaf embossing on leather purses, journals, and more.

Laying gold foil on a leather surface creates an air of regality perfect for promoting style, sophistication, formality, and class. The gold embossing lends itself as the perfect upgrade to already sought-after leather and, thus, is a task worthy of learning how to do yourself.

Can You Put Gold Leaf on Leather?

Believe it or not, you can apply gold leaf to leather in much the same way you’d apply gold leaf to another surface.

The process involves many of the same tools, techniques, and procedures. Stick around to learn more about the process a bit later in this post.

Can You Emboss With Gold Leaf?

Remember, it is completely possible to emboss leather with gold leaf. In fact, this is the most sophisticated way to achieve a gold imprint on a leather item.

Other methods, such as using gold paint, won’t yield the same level of regality that using genuine gold over genuine leather will. Thus, we recommend using gold leaf for embossing leather if your goal is to make a bold statement or a luxurious impression on onlookers.

How Do You Get Gold Leaf to Stick to Leather?

It is important to note that gold leaf, or any other type of metal leaf for that matter, will not adhere to leather on its own. Instead, you’ll need to use adhesive designed for gilding purposes to ensure your gold leaf stays in place.

For the purpose of leather embossing, we recommend that you use a water-based size. “Size” refers to the adhesive used to adhere gold leaf to a particular surface. The other type of size known as “oil size” is suitable for a variety of projects, and yes, may even work here.

Feel free to experiment with both to see which works best for your project. 

How To Emboss Leather With Gold

How Do You Add Gold to Leather

While there are professionals who use stamping machines, hot foil, and other practices to create embossed materials, know that you can achieve similar results just by using the right tools and a bit of patience.


The following are the materials you’ll need to lay gold leaf onto leather for the purpose of embossing a logo, words, images, or patterns:

  • Alcohol wipes
  • Gold leaf (preferably genuine gold for longevity)
  • Water-based size (otherwise known as adhesive)
  • Foam brushes
  • Soft brushes*
  • Tweezers and/or cotton gloves (for handling gold leaf)


  • Prep your surface using a drop cloth or newspaper.
  • Ensure that your workspace is free of drafts including fans and/or natural breezes.
  • Clean the surface area where the gold leaf will be laid over the leather surface. Do this using an alcohol wipe, or if you’re in a pinch, use a tiny bit of glass cleaner.
  • Allow the surface to dry.
  • Once dry, paint your design onto your leather using careful and meticulous strokes. Use stencils if you wish to create initials, art, and other details you want gilded in gold. Use your imagination, and feel free to get creative with your ideas.
  • Allow the paint to dry. Use a foam brush to apply your adhesive in the shape of your design. Do this carefully as the gold leaf will adhere to wherever there is adhesive, even if you’ve placed the adhesive in a certain spot by mistake. Pay close attention to tack times on your adhesive bottle, as this will indicate how long you have to apply the gold leaf before the adhesive goes dry.
  • Pick up the gold leaf using tweezers, gloved hands, or even wax paper. Gently rub the gold leaf over the pattern using a clean soft brush.
  • Continue adding gold leaf sheets and layers until the print has been saturated in gold.
  • Use a clean soft brush to clear away the excess gold leaf.

Gold Leaf Embossing on Leather Items: Luxuriously Genius!

As you can see, adding gold foil to leather isn’t a difficult process. The task simply requires a few tools and a thin layer of adhesive to get the job done. There’s really no need to use a machine the way that professionals may use them, and this makes for a fun and creative way to embellish details on leather furniture, leather purses, and so much more.

Remember that if you are concerned that the embossing won’t turn out as planned, it is best to hire a professional or simply use a piece pf practice leather to get you started before you move onto your official project. Good luck!


Can I use an embosser on leather?

Yes, it is totally possible to use an embosser on leather.

Can you emboss leather yourself?

You can. You may use an embosser tool, or simply follow the steps detailed in this post to apply gold leaf to your leather yourself.

How do you remove gold leaf from leather?

To remove gold foiling from a leather item, you can try using a wet alcohol q tip and rubbing it vigorously across the folded leather portion. This should eventually dissipate the lettering so you can start with a freshly blank leather surface.

What is the best glue for gold leaf on leather?

Try using water based size if you can.

How to use gold leaf embossing on leather?

To emboss gold leaf onto leather, be sure to use a water-based adhesive along with clean brushes and cotton gloves to carefully apply the gold sheet to the leather for an impeccable and luxury filled final finish.

How do you emboss leather with gold leaf?

Remember that it is easy to emboss leather using gold leaf with only a few simple items. Use gilding size, clean brushes, and genuine gold leaf to create attractive patterns, designs or letting on your leather items, using next to no work at all.

How do you prepare leather for gilding?

As with any other surface, you’ll want to ensure your leather surface is clean, dry, and free of debris. To do this, we recommend you use alcohol wipes or a bit of glass cleaner to ensure that your surface is completely clean. This helps your gold leaf to adhere better and will likely improve its durability as well. 

Does gold leaf naturally stick to leather?

Remember that gold leaf will not naturally adhere to any surface without a little help. You’ll need to invest in a good adhesive, namely, a water-based size, to help your gold leaf stick to a leather surface. Give yourself time to learn the application process, and be sure to read the directions on the bottle for optimal results. 

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