Gold Leaf Polymer Clay versus Gold Foil – What’s the Difference

Metal Leaf vs Metal Foil Introduction

Vid #64: Although the names sound similar, Gold Metal Leaf and Gold Metal Foils are very different from each other:

The ‘leaf’ product is actually made with real metal, whereas the ‘foil’ is plastic based. Confused? Well there’s no need to worry because I’ve put together a 2 part video series that will explain everything in detail. And you can watch these video tutorials at the my Polymer Clay Tutor Library [Links provided at the end of this article].

Later this week, I’ll be posting Part 1 of the tutorial series at the library. It will cover the following topics:

  • How to quickly tell the difference between foils and leaf’s.
  • Is gold leaf for polymer clay made with real gold or not?
  • Product brand comparisons: Renaissance, Mona Lisa, Jones Tones.
  • Besides gold, there is also silver, aluminum and copper leaf.
  • How metallic foils can change color during the baking process.
  • Cost difference between gold metal leaf and the metal foil.
  • Tips for cutting metal leaf in order to avoid expensive waste.

The second video tutorial in this 2 part series will be posted at the end of next week. It will show you exactly how to apply these wonderful metal leaf and foil products to your polymer clay beads. The techniques will work with all clay brands including Fimo, Primo and Sculpey.

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The full version of the Metal Leafs-Foils preview video shown above, is available for purchase at my Polymer Clay Bead Making Videos Library in the Volume-004 Back Issue Package.

The topics covered in this Metal Leafs & Foils Introduction” video tutorial are listed in the article on this page, posted right above the preview video. If you are planning on trying out any foil or metal leaf clay techniques in the near future, this video will help be very helpful for you.

  1. Cindy Lietz, 28 June, 2008

    Once you have added gold or silver leaf onto polymer clay, a cool thing to do is to tint the leaf with alcohol ink before you crackle it. This will give you a wide variety of colored metallic affects. But I’m getting ahead of myself. The application stuff will come next week.

    Cindy’s last blog post..More About Mixing Polymer Clay Colors with a Summer Theme

  2. jojo, 28 June, 2008

    This is really a topic that confused me, so the video would be a blessing. I wish you could include where to buy all the products. I only know where to get one of the products. Also is there any chance you could get clearer video of the bead color? It is rather hard to see what color the green actually is on the first beads shown. Thanks

  3. Cindy Lietz, 29 June, 2008

    Hi jojo! Thanks for your comments! Is it the Mona Lisa Imitation Gold Leaf or the Jones Tones Foil that you are having trouble finding? I found both of mine at Micheals Arts and Crafts.

    As far as the color goes on the bead in the video, although online video is excellent at being capable of showing lots of people how to make polymer clay beads, the the quality of the colors is never as good as when it was originally filmed. That is partially why I tend to use my words to describe things in the video as well as demonstrating so that the information is clear to you.

    Since you are on my Video Newsletter Guest List, you will be receiving by email the next video in the mini 2 part series about gold leaf vs. gold foil. The second video will be sent out next week and hopefully it will be helpful for you.

    For those of you who are not on the Guest List yet, you can subscribe via the form on this page: Free Polymer Clay Tutorials

  4. Cindy Lietz, 29 June, 2008

    jojo – one more thing… I just posted an article outlining 12 tips on wow to shop more effectively at Michaels Arts and Crafts Stores: Here’s the link if you want to go have a look: Buy Jewelry Making Supplies

  5. Kim C., 30 June, 2008

    I didn’t know about the foil product at all.

    I’ll have to look for it around here.

    Thanks for sharing.


  6. Cindy Lietz, 30 June, 2008

    Kim, yeah the Jones Tones Metal Foil is real cool. You can often find it in all sorts of colors including rainbow and holographic!

    Cindy’s last post..Buy Jewelry Making Supplies – 12 Shopping Tips for Polyclay Artists

  7. Pat Olive, 02 July, 2008

    Hi Cindy,
    The difference between the foil and and gold leaf was very helpful.
    Pat Olive

  8. Cindy Lietz, 02 July, 2008

    You’re welcome Pat, thanks for the feedback!

    Cindy’s last post..Hand Made Jewelery Making Vendors Venting About Etsy Server Crash

  9. Dani, 28 October, 2008

    Do any of you find that gold leafing liquid makes the clay sticky and breaks it down?

  10. Cindy Lietz, 28 October, 2008

    Dani if what you are talking about is that paint-like product that gives the effect of gold leaf, then you are right, it is not compatible with polymer clay. Something in the liquid leaf (acetone maybe?) reacts badly with the clay, baked or unbaked. I have seen similar problems when trying to use nail polish on polymer clay. So unfortunately, you won’t be able to use that product on your beads. Regular leafs and foils like the ones in this post are your best bet!

  11. Kelly B, 20 February, 2013

    Hi Cindy I have a question about some beads I did yesterday. I used some gold foil and I was very careful about finger prints. As usual, after baking they are very dull and I want a nice smooth finish on I them. Would the very fine micromesh pads remove the gold foil if I used then for wet sanding?

  12. Cindy Lietz, 21 February, 2013

    Hi Kelly, sanding your gold foil covered beads (even with a finer micro mesh pad) would remove the foil. You can wax and buff your pieces and get a lovely shine though. Try Renaissance Wax or Minwax. They will do a great job!

  13. Kelly B, 23 February, 2013

    I thought so. I have minwax, so will try that. Thank you

  14. Leanne L, 22 April, 2015

    Hi Cindy!

    I love your videos, I find them so helpful. Yesterday I purchased this Volume-004 Back Issue and have a question – can you apply gold leaf/metal leaf after baking, does it still work? What do you seal it with? etc.

    Thank you!

  15. Cindy Lietz, 22 April, 2015

    Hi Leanna,

    Good to hear that you are enjoying the videos.

    The only way to add foil to polymer clay after it is baked, is to add a tacky adhesive, like you would if you were adding gold foil to any other object like wood, plaster, glass, etc. You can find that adhesive next to where you buy the gold leaf and foils in Michaels or wherever it is that you shop. As far as sealing it, foil doesn’t need to be sealed unless you are worried about it getting scratched off.

    Metal leaf, can sometimes patina with age, depending on the type of metal it is made of, so if you want it to stay the same, you can seal it with any of the polymer clay compatible finishes. Renaissance Wax, PYMII, acrylic varnish, Varathane… just type finishes into the search box and you’ll find lots more helpful information.

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