Hammer gold into thin sheets and apply it to furniture, antiques, and more.
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Quick Stats

Salary Range
$17,000 – $39,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Gilders do?

A Gilder is a modern-day King Midas, paid to practice the age-old art of gilding. In Greek mythology, King Midas was given the ability to turn everything he touched into gold. But when he turned his own daughter into gold, it convinced him that his gift was actually a curse.

When you’re a Gilder, however, your gift is not a curse. A decorative technique for covering items with a thin layer of gold, gilding turns everyday objects — books, for instance, picture frames, statues, plates, or practically anything else you can think of — into valuable and long-lasting heirlooms. It can be used with wood, stone, glass, metal, leather, or porcelain.

An Artist and Crafter, you might work for a gilding studio, or for a company that specializes in antiques and restorations. Or, you might practice gilding on your own as an independent contractor or hobbyist. Regardless, as a Gilder, you’re an expert in gold-plated goodness, spending your days practicing one of two main types of gilding.

The first type is mechanical gilding, which requires hammering gold into paper-thin sheets of gold leaf that’s applied to surfaces using one of several methods. The second type is chemical gilding, which requires alloying gold with other minerals — such as silver, copper, chloride, or mercury — and applying the compound to objects before initiating a process that leaves only the gold behind.

No matter what you gild, how you gild it, or for whom, you’re an artisan who’s continuing a tradition that’s been used since ancient times. (And luckily, without the burden of Midas’ curse!)

Should I be a Gilder?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Independent: You enjoy flying solo and doing things your own way.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Art Gilder, Gold-Leaf Gilder, Metal-Leaf Gilder

    How to become a Gilder

    Most Gilders have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9bbaaa&chl=no+college+%2894%25%29|certificate+%283%25%29|associate%27s+%282%25%29|||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,94,94
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