Class Details

A Workshop On The Historical Techniques of Estofado or Sgraffito Gilding- Sylvana Barrett


Elaborate patterns and motifs may be created on a frame, panel painting or gilded surface through the historical technique of estofado, or sgraffito,  gilding. A layer of egg tempera paint is applied to a gilded and burnished surface. By selectively removing the paint layer, following a predetermined pattern, the gold beneath is revealed creating sumptuous surface embellishments. The effect may be further enhanced through punching of the gold and application of painted details.  A fantastic video of this work can be seen here.

Course will include complete demonstrations of all techniques.

Course topics:

Making egg tempera paint from dry pigments

Application of paint layer onto the gilded surface.

Preparation of patterns

Transfer and application of patterns

Lifting out the overall design

Estofado techniques



Related technique of painting in oil on to the gilded surface

Participants must bring a finished water-gilded piece of their own; a frame, sculpture, panel painting or artwork of any sort to work on during the workshop.

Pigments and binders for making paint will be provided. Wooden stick tools for creation of the estofado will be provided. Pencils, paper, tracing paper for patterns, paint cups and the like will be provided.

Brushes and punching tools will be available to share within the workshop, however it is recommended that each participant bring two brushes:

  1.  A flat watercolor type brush; the size depends on the surface to which you will apply the estofado technique. A small narrow space, as may be found on a frame, would require a brush about 1/2 inch wide. A large flat surface, as in a painting, would require a wider brush; a width of 1 inch is a practical choice.
  2. A small round, pointed watercolor brush for application of fine details; a #1 or #2 size is recommended.

Gilding punches and hammers are welcomed!    Tools will not be available for purchase.

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