Wondering how to gold leaf on brick? Applying gold leaf to brick or stone surfaces can yield a burnished gold appearance that can be truly marvelous to onlookers. You can apply gold leaf for exterior gilding or you can use it for interior purposes. Having said this, the type of gold leaf you use and the techniques will vary depending on where the brick or stone is located.

In this post, we’ll uncover the steps and techniques you’ll need to achieve a proper interior or exterior gilt surface. Let’s get started.

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How to Apply Gold Leaf to Brick

Applying gold leaf to brick is similar to applying it to metal or stone. It is a relatively straightforward process, although some steps needed will differ depending on the location of the brick. The following are the general steps needed when applying gold leaf to brick, and also, the specifications you’ll want to watch for when applying it to interior and exterior gilding brick surfaces.

gold leaf on brick

Place the Primer

Using primer sealer specially designed to provide a smooth surface for your gold leaf is essential when laying full gold coverage over brick. Primer comes in various types and shades, with some even functioning as both a sealer and a primer in one.

Some primer options will come in ochre, red, and gray shades, though some other types may exist. Applying a gold layer to either red, yellow, or ochre is generally recommended. Gray primer is great for other types of metal leaf including genuine silver leaf.

Apply Adhesive

Once your primer is placed you’ll need to apply your size. Adhesive sizing size refers to the glue that’ll hold your gold leaf in place. The type of size adhesive you’ll use will be dependent upon whether you are using gold leaf on brick interior or exterior surfaces.

Use oil-based adhesive to apply gold leaf outdoors. This is the only type of size that is plausible for outdoor use. If you are attempting to achieve a properly gilt surface indoors, you can feel free to use water or oil based adhesive. Remember, however, that water based adhesive can be a little trickier to use than oil based, but it also provides a longer “open” or “tack” time. Choose the one that’ll work best for your skill level and needs.

When applying your adhesive, make sure you work in sections ensuring that the adhesive is applied evenly. Size adhesive comes with varying open times, meaning it’ll only remain tacky for so long. Pay attention to the type you buy and read the instructions carefully in order to achieve properly gilded brick.

As for application, a gilder’s sizing brush works best.

Look For Tack

Once you’ve applied your water or oil based gilding size, it is time to observe your adhesive for the proper tack. You want to apply your metal leaf to brick when the adhesive is a little tacky but not dry. This will produce the best results.

Lay the Gold Leaf

Once you’ve determined that your gold leaf is ready to be laid, you’ll want to do so carefully.

The type of gold leaf you use on brick matters, so we’ll start with that. You’ll want to use either a 23 or 23.5-karat gold leaf if you are gilding brick outdoors. You absolutely should not use imitation gold leaf on brick surfaces to be used outside. It is very important that outdoor gilding is achieved with genuine and metal leaf.

If you are gilding a brick surface indoors, the type of gold leaf you use isn’t nearly as important. In fact, you can use imitation gold, imitation metal leaf, genuine gold leaf, copper leaf, gold from gold leaf kits, or whatever your heart desires for gilding indoors.

No matter where you choose to gild, be sure to use the right brush for gilding. Gilding mops are often made of squirrel hair. These natural hair brushes are perfect for carefully laying gold leaf.

Carefully apply your gold or metal leaf to your tacky adhesive using cotton gloves to avoid ruining the gold leaf. Once applied, use your brush to remove excess leaf and yield a nice smooth surface.


If you’ve applied gold leaf outside, it is important to note that it isn’t recommended that you use a clear coat sealer. Using a sealer outdoors can cause a haze to form over genuine gold leaf and will make it look unattractive over time.

Instead, genuine gold leaf be left as is once applied. This is why it is so important to use higher gold leaf (such as 23 or 23.5 karat gold) outdoors, as it will never tarnish, even without sealer, as the years go by.

If you are applying genuine or metal leaf indoors, you still won’t want to use a clear coat over real gold, but may do so on lesser karats or imitation leaves. This will help protect the gold and provide a nice finish.

Will Gold Leaf Hold Up Outside?

Know that gilding on brick walls, or gilding on walls of any type for that matter, will do just fine outdoors as long as you follow specific protocol. Remember to use a soft hair brush for applying genuine gold over oil size. The oil size and genuine gold will be perfect for long-lasting gilded brick surfaces that will stand up to heat, wind, rain, and other weather elements.

How Long Does Gold Leaf Last Outside?

Gold leaf that is genuine will last outside indefinitely. Be sure not to layer it with a top coat as this may create an milky haze over the gold in as little as a few years. Gold leaf that is less than 23 karats won’t last long outside and can begin tarnishing not long after application, depending on the weather elements it is exposed to.

Gold Leaf on Brick: Totally Achievable!

Applying gold leaf to brick can be easily achieved, but the process by which you go about it may differ. Remember that indoor brick gilding can be done with either water or oil size. It also can be done with imitation or lesser purity gold leaf types.

Outdoor brick gilding will require genuine gold leaf and oil size. Use tools like a natural hair brush/mop brush, soft cotton gloves, and a gilders size brush along with high quality primer before applying to the appropriate surface.


What surfaces can you apply gold leaf to?

You can apply gold leaf to nearly any surface you desire. Ornamental surfaces, gilding walls, and even wonderfully unique floors can benefit from gilding. You can even add genuine gold leaf to food! The options are virtually endless when it comes to using gold leaf, so be sure to get creative.

Can you put gold leaf on concrete?

Yes, there are many ways to put gold leaf on concrete if you apply genuine gold or imitation gold to its surface. 

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