Goodfellow & Steven gold leaf window

Hand lettered with gold leaf in Broughty Ferry.

Gold leaf gilding Dundee
The completed gold leaf window graphic

Goodfellow and Steven are a Scottish craft bakery, as well as a Dundee institution. They’ve made the famous Dundee cake since 1897!

One of the original gold leaf window graphics was soon to be replaced following damage at their flagship store and café in Broughty Ferry.

Martin Goodfellow contacted me for advice. We met at the shop and surveyed the project.

Surveying gold leaf

Gold sign Dundee
The damaged window on the left

I was asked to reinstate the window graphic as close as possible to the original. The neighbouring window graphic would be the master copy. It differed slightly from the damaged pane’s gold leaf as it contained thinner lines. I think the thinner lines look better and accentuate the gold leaf.

Martin and I discussed using gold vinyl for the replacement graphic. Metallic and mirror gold options are available in vinyl and cost significantly less than gold leaf. Be that as it may, nothing matches the real thing.

Measurements and photos were taken before I returned to my studio to calculate my quote. Martin chose to replace one window graphic, hand painted and gilded with 23.5ct gold.

The master copy

Real gold leaf Dundee
Working in reverse from the tracing

To begin with, I had to trace the existing graphic. I visited the shop early on a Monday morning and traced the outline of the gold leaf.

Materials were ordered and I arranged to work on the window outwith the shop’s trading hours. In this situation, paint odours and disruption to customers are avoided.

The traced artwork was tacked up in position on the exterior of the replaced window pane. I now had the outline of my graphic which I could replicate in paint.

Layering the window graphic

Gold leaf Broughty Ferry sign
The painted outline

Starting with the chocolate brown outline, I’d then build up layers of the graphic – working backwards, gilding and painting in reverse.

The outline was steadily painted onto the glass over three sessions. Returning late on a Saturday afternoon to clean and double coat areas which I wasn’t satisfied with. Regular visits outside to look through the glass were essential, to ensure the lines looked symmetrical.

Gilding in reverse

Gold leaf gilding Broughty Ferry
Water gilding the loose gold leaf

An early start on a Sunday gave me a whole day in the empty store. I gilded the glass twice with 23.5ct gold leaf. Waiting in between gilds to allow the layers of gold to dry.

Each gold leaf was carefully cut and placed over the painted ornaments and letters. The window graphic was coming alive.

Backing the outline

Checking the gold from outside

Gold leaf is delicate, especially when applied to glass. It requires painting over to sandwich and seal the gold between the glass and backup paint. Overall, two coats of backup paint were applied by hand.

Cleaning the gold leaf

Gold leaf lettering Dundee
The matching gold leaf window graphics

The excess leaf was washed off before the last backup coat of paint.

Carefully, the edges of the graphic were sponged with soap and water. The glass was thoroughly cleaned inside and out, leaving an altogether sparkling finish.

With the project complete, several days of painting and detailing resulted in a window graphic which will hold its brilliance for years to come.

Gold leaf signwriting Dundee

Are you interested in traditional gold leaf in Broughty Ferry or Dundee?

Contact me to find out more.