metal leaf

It is much easier to start with imitation gold or silver leaf than the real thing. Dutch metal or brass leaf is a cheaper subsitute for gold leaf - it is thicker and easier to use. Aluminium leaf is a good substitute for silver. Brass  and copper leaf will tarnish at the same speed as any household metal items and so should be sealed with shellac, varnish or wax. Aluminium leaf does not tarnish like silver but does tend to dull so it is also a good idea to seal as well. Transfer leaf (see the image above) is pressed onto waxed sheets, is relatively easy to handle and cover flat surfaces. Loose leaf also comes in books but is unattached and must be floated or pounced onto moulded surfaces.