In this tutorial, I will show you an easy and economical way to make watercolor gold paint. It is simple to apply, creates amazing effects and is not costly like real gold-leaf. Follow this step-by-step tutorial and create artwork shining with beautiful golden highlights.
You need the following ingredients: Gold powder, gum arabic, water, and an old brush to mix it together. I prefer Schminke Aqua Bronze powder that comes in various metallic shades, but there must be other good brands too.
If you add water to the gold powder but no binder, the golden mixture won’t stick to to the paper when you paint. Use gum arabic as a binder. It is cheap and does the job perfectly well. Gum arabic is also used in the manufacture of watercolors.
To learn how much of each ingredient you need to get the gold paint mixture right, look at the pictures in the tutorial below. These will give you a clear indication of the ratio between gold powder, gum arabic and water.
Step 1: Pour a small amount of gold powder into a container.
Step 2: Add a dash of gum arabic.
If you add too much gum arabic, the paste will become dull and lose sparkle.
Step 3: Add a few drops of water with your brush.
Step 4: Mix the paste with your brush until smooth
Step 5: Paint with a fine brush on your watercolor artwork. Make sure both paper and watercolor paint are completely dry before applying the gold.
While normal watercolors are wet on your brush, the gold paint is a paste that may seem a bit unruly to handle. If you rinse your brush well and often, you won’t get an accumulation of paste at the tip. This makes the gold paint easy to apply without unexpected blotches and you can create clean lines.
If you’re after an unruly, freeflow gold wash, then you should make sure your brush is sufficiently wet before you dip into the golden paste. With the help of water, the gold will spread out. I will show you how to do this in another blog post.
Be very careful to use a clean brush when you are painting with the golden paste. You need to use separate brushes from your regular watercolors. Preferably use separate water containers too for cleaning your brushes. In this way, you keep the gold from losing sparkle by coming into contact with regular watercolors.
It’s a good idea to make small batches of the gold paint and use a fresh mix each time you start a watercolor project. My experience is that a fresh mix is shinier than an old one since regular watercolor pigments have a habit of sneaking into the mixture once I get creative.
Enjoy a new, golden adventure!
In One Tree Art Club, you will find many free resources for watercolor art such as printable line art that you can trace, color schemes, reference photos, and some lettering practice sheets.