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The Best Metallic Gold Inks, Paints, and Other Options to use with Alcohol Inks (My Top 5)

Updated: Sep 30, 2022

These are metallic paints and other options that I have tried and tested, they're all different and each work well for specific things.

They can definitely be used in other ways so please do experiment, but this should give you a starting point on using these metallic paints! For each one I'll cover what it is, what I use it for, and how to use it.

1. Jacquard Brass Alcohol Ink

It's easy to work with, forms lines and clumps depending on how you move it, and looks amazingly shiny when it catches the light. This is the best gold alcohol ink I've tried, and I use it ALL the time.

What it's for:

Adding metallic gold into your alcohol ink paintings as you go. It works perfectly with the fluid nature of alcohol inks. And looks gorgeous in abstract inky artworks.

How to use it:

Shake the bottle well and add it into your painting along with isopropyl alcohol, and your inks. For thin gold lines, use a hairdryer or other air tool to push the gold until it forms lines (check out my gold ink tutorial for a demonstration).

2. (Imitation) Gold Leaf Sheets

Real gold leaf is gold that has been hammered into really thin sheets, and is often used for gilding. It's expensive, so a much cheaper option is imitation gold leaf.

It's available in fragile sheets or containers of gold leaf flakes. I always get the sheets, because they cover more area... And you can make your own flakes out of them!

What it's for:

Use it to embellish paintings and other art as one of the last steps. It looks really shiny and catches the light beautifully! It's also available in different colours like silver and copper.

How to use it:

It should work with any glue (to a certain extent), but you get the best effects with adhesive size. It's a slow drying, sticky glue that is perfect for gold leaf.

For thin lines I use Pebeo Mixtion Relief which you can use straight out of the tube.

For other shapes I use Mona Lisa Adhesive Size with a paintbrush. It's difficult to wash out so I suggest sacrificing a cheap paintbrush just for this.

Add a thin layer of the adhesive on your page in the design you want. It looks white at first but will turn clear as it starts to dry.

Wait for it to turn clear and then add your gold leaf on top of it, and gently rub or pat the gold leaf to make sure it is evenly applied to the adhesive.

Let it dry and then brush it off with a soft brush. Normally I leave it overnight. You can reuse the gold leaf flakes you brush off, by mixing them into resin or for other crafts, so I like to keep the excess in a jar.

But some parts might be stubborn, so you can remove them from your page with masking tape.

If you use imitation gold leaf it can tarnish, so seal it for example with resin, or with gold leaf sealer like Mona Lisa Sealer.

3. 'Liquid Leaf One-Step Leafing Paint' by Plaid

This is essentially liquid gold leaf, also called a gilding paint by some people. Loads of people love it because it's very shiny, can be painted on, and is durable when dry.

What it's for:

I used this gold paint on wood and resin, and it can be used on other surfaces too. It's possibly the best gold paint for the edge of coasters. It has a gorgeous finish that's waterproof when dry.

Painting the edge of a coaster with Liquid Leaf
Painting the edge of a coaster with Liquid Leaf

How to use it:

It's very smelly so use it outdoors and wear your respirator. Simply mix it well, then use a paintbrush to add it to your art. Allow to dry and add a second coat if needed.

4. Gold Embossing Powder

Embossing powder turns a shinier gold when it melts

Create a raised design using a stamp with embossing ink, or use an embossing ink pen to write or draw custom designs. Then add gold embossing powder, and make your design shiny and slightly 3D.

What it's for:

If you want to stamp on a design it can be a great way to get intricate gold designs. I like to use a pen to add gold writing to a surface. It's not quite as shiny as the previous two options so I don't use it as often.

How to use it:

You need a slow drying ink so that the embossing powder has time to stick to it. Add your embossing ink either with a stamp or pen, then cover it with plenty of embossing powder.

Tap the excess powder off and add it back to the embossing powder container. Turn on your heat gun and let it warm up for a few moments.

Heat up your design and watch the powder melt down and become all shiny! Keep moving the heat gun in small circles to avoid burning. Allow it to cool and enjoy your new metallic design.

You can use an anti-static pouch to wipe the surface first, so that the embossing powder doesn’t stick to random areas that you don't want embossed.

Because it requires a heat gun, it doesn't suit Yupo paper - the heat tends to warp the paper. You can use it on other surfaces that aren't heat sensitive such as tile. Thicker papers warp less.

5. Schminke Aqua Bronze

Such a shiny gold! A dry metallic powder mixed with a water soluble binder. It can be mixed with different things such as water or watercolour paint, for metallic effects. looks very similar to Jacquard Brass when it dries, but you can have more control with it.

What it's for: Lots of things, I personally use a tiny brush to add thin lines and embellishments.

When you varnish alcohol inks, the brass often loses some of its shine. So sometimes I do alcohol inks with brass, seal the painting, then add Schminke Aqua Bronze details, and finally add resin. I also use it between layers of resin because you can resin over it without sealing it first.

How to use it:

There are different ways of using it but my favourite is to mix it with water in a small container. Just do a small amount as it dries quite quickly. Then simply use it like a gold paint! Read more about it here.

Thanks for reading!

I hope you enjoyed this low-key review of my favourite gold paints, and that you learned something useful!

I'm always looking for new sparkly things and trying new options, so I'll update this list when I find new gold options!

Comment below if I missed anything!

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