I gilded some nuts last week for a little friend of mine. Gilding is the technique of applying a thin layer of gold to a surface. In this case I used a loose 23k gold leaf and adhered it to the acorn shell with a leafing adhesive. The adhesive was painted on with a fine paint brush. When the adhesive becomes clear, it is dry and this is when the gold leaf can be applied. Loose gold leaf is handled by using a special brush with a fine single layer of animal hair, like this brush, which happens to be made of squirrel hair.
The leafing will cling to the glue and can then be smoothed out by using an extremely soft brush, similar to a cosmetic blush brush. In places where the gold didn't catch, more gold can be placed over, until the entire desired surface is completely covered. Once it is complete, it can be covered with an acrylic clear coat to protect it from tarnishing and scratching.