Gilding & Restoration Services


What Is Gilding?

Gilding is the application of thin sheets of metal (often genuine gold) as a means of surface decoration. Gilding is commonly seen on decorative items such as picture frames, mirrors, furniture, and fine art such as illuminated manuscripts, sculpture and icons. Architectural uses include interior and exterior applications and signage. There are two primary methods of gilding – water gilding and oil gilding.  For more information, visit the Society of Gilders.

Our Services:

  • Conservation, restoration, repair, and gilding of aging picture frames and furniture items.
  • We also hand-build new custom frames and finish them with fine gilding.
  • We can create contemporary style frames, or replicate antique frames hundreds of years old.

Our experience includes fine gilded finishes on architectural and sculpture projects, both indoor and outdoor applications. Within these projects, we have employed every kindof leaf, from genuine gold and silver, to metal leaf (i.e. composition gold, copper, variegated, and aluminum).

Past and Present Clients:

  • The Parthenon’s Athena
  • Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center
  • Nashville’s Frist Center Museum
  • The Musica Statue at the Music City Round-About
  • Tennessee State Museum
  • Tennessee State Capitol
  • Cheekwood Fine Arts Center
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Belle Meade Mansion
  • Two Rivers Mansion
  • The Filson Club of Louisville, Kentucky
  • Numerous private homes and businesses throughout the Southeast

Reed’s Gold Leaf are long-time members of the Society of Gilders and have served on the organization’s board.




Frame Restoration & Gilding

Belle Meade Plantation

BMPaftr1 BMPaftr2  BMPb42 BMPb43 BMPb41

Busch Estate – We were able to save the finish on the major parts of this frame, make needed repairs and match new gilding to the original gilded finish.

Buschaftr1 Buschaftr3 Buschaftr4 BuschB4 BuschB4a BuschB4b Buschfinal Buschfinal2


Harry Hill Painting Frame – We saved the original gilding on this frame, made necessary repairs which included having the calligraphy re-painted on the liner. Then touched up the finish to match the original finish.

HHaftr HHaftrb HHaftrctr HHaftrleft HHaftrright HHB4a HHB4b HHB4ctr HHB4left HHB4right HHB4right2

Mirror Frame

b41 b42 b43 b44 Final

Oval Frame

cwood1 cwood2  cwood4 cwood3


Architectural Gilding

Schermerhorn Symphony Center


 White Hall Pier Mirror


Clover Leaf Bank Spire

Minolta DSC Spire burnish Spire On Bank Roof

Mirrored Wall

Orrwall orrwall3 orrwall4 orrwall5

Aluminum Leafed Wall

IMG_2006 IMG_2007


Dining Room Ceiling – Fisher Island, Miami

Ceiling - Fisher Island

Work in progress.

Ceiling - Fisher Island, Miami

Gilding complete.

Dining Room Ceiling finished, Fisher Island, Miami

Dining Room Ceiling gilded in 6 karat gold, which looks like warm silver.

Foyer Ceiling – Fisher Island, Miami

Work in progress

Work in progress


Ceiling finished. Gilded in 6 karat which looks like warm silver.

Complete, gilded with 6 karat gold. Looks like warm silver.


Sculpture Gilding

Athena at Nashville’s Parthenon


Nashville’s “Musica” Statue


Bird – This bird is one of 3 that we gilded that are a part of a sculpture for the TN Governor’s Mansion



Furniture Gilding


Chairaftr1 chairaftr2 chairaftr  chairB42 Chairfinal ChrB41 chairB4


CrownAFT CrownB4




Belle Meade Plantation Cornices

BMPcornice1 BMPcornice2 BMPcorniceb4&aftr BMPcornices


Gilded Mirrors & Verre Eglomise (Glass Gilding)

Verre Eglomise – from the French term meaning glass gilded. It also incorporates painting portions of the glass in reverse.

Decorative Glass and Gilded Mirrors.  The pieces shown here incorporate gilding with various karat gold leaf, silver leaf, aluminum and composition leaf.  These pieces are available for purchase, prices range from $20 and up. Please email to inquire of availability and specific price.

mirror mirror

Decorated Mirror – Silver leaf with detail in 22k gold leaf.


AntqMr for web

Antiqued Mirror – hand gilded with silver leaf and toned.


Mustache Mirror & Glasses Mirror – using aluminum and composition gold leaf.

framed mirror

Gilded antiqued mirror with embellished edge.


Decorative glass  firefly




Verre Eglomise – Show here (above) are several designs using gold, silver and aluminum leaf with reverse painted elements.     



Kitchen Backsplash – The backsplash is done in aluminum leaf oil size gilded on the glass. Glass back splash can be attached with hardware or attached to the sub straight with mastic if you do not wish to show hardware.


Additional Examples – Shown here (below) are just a few more samples of gilding on glass. Almost any design can be Incorporated into Verre Eglomise.

18k watergilt on smoke glass 22kwatergilt on smoke glass 23k gold floral design 23K watergilt Aluminum leaf oil size on smoke glass Leaf pattern 23 k leaf and Alum bground Seedy glass with 23 k gold scratch pattern Texture1 23 k leaf oil size

Hand Built Frames

This frame was built to replicate a frame which could not be repaired or saved. Process photos include the finished frame, the original frame parts used to mold ornamental elements from and the process of putting the frame together, and the finishing process.

trmlaft trmlaft2 trmlb4 trmlb4a trmlb4b trmlgold trmlgesso trmlduring trmlclay trmlb4c trmlmold trmlornmt trmlwood


Another example:

DDaftr1 DDaftr2 DDornamt DDgold DDgesso DDclay DDburnish

  • Frame Restoration & Gilding

    Frame Restoration & Gilding

  • Architectural Gilding

    Architectural Gilding

  • Sculpture Gilding

    Sculpture Gilding

  • Furniture Gilding

    Furniture Gilding

  • Gilded Mirrors & Verre Eglomise (Glass Gilding)

    Gilded Mirrors & Verre Eglomise (Glass Gilding)

  • Hand Built Frames

    Hand Built Frames

Gilding Supplies & Instruction

Restoration and Gilding Supplies

Please note: Prices listed are subject to change at any time without notice. If you don’t see an item you’re looking for, give us a call as we may be able to get it for you. For ordering and all other inquiries call us at (615) 294-6113.

The Gilding Screen Frame

As seen in The Gilders Tip journal – Winter 2015 volume 29 No.1 Great for any flat surface gilding. Water gilding, glass gilding and oil size gilding.  $45 +S&H    Email or call your order in.


Un-Petroleum Jelly

For light tack used with gilders tips and gilders screen frames. Contains all natural ingredients. $3 per tube +S&H

Un-Pet Tube

Metal Leaf:

Appx.  5 1/2″ x 5 1/2″

25 leaves/book… 20 books/pkg.=(500) leaves

  •  Copper; Call for Price
  • Variegated Red; Call for Price
  • Variegated Blue; Call for Price

Bulk Metal Leaf:

Appx. 6 1/4″ x 6 1/4″

  • Italian Schlag Bulk – 10,000 shts
  • Aluminum Bulk – 5,000 shts
  • Aluminum Bulk – 500 shts

Genuine Silver and Gold Leaf:

3 3/8″ x 3 3/8″ leaves

25 leaves/book… 20 books/pkg (500) leaves

  • Silver; Call for Price
  • 24K Gold; Call for Price
  • 23.75K Deep Double Gold; Call for Price
  • 23K Deep Gold; Call for Price
  • 23K Patent; Call for Price
  • 22K Deep Gold; Call for Price
  • 22K Patent; Call for Price
  • 18K Lemon Gold; Call for Price
  • 12K White Gold; Call for Price
  • Palladium; Call for Price





Gilding Materials:

  • Wunda Gold Size: Water Base-15 min. to 3 hr.   pint  Qt.  Gal.
  • LeFranc Mixtion Size: Oil, 3hour   75ml.;  1 Ltr
  • LeFranc Mixtion Size: Oil, 12hour   250ml. 1 Ltr.
  • Rolco Slow Oil Size: 1 pint
  • Gilder’s Mop: – Call for Sizes & Prices
  • 250g Shellac Flakes: Light or Dark
  • 1 lb. Rabbit Skin Glue: (Pebbles)
  • Horse Hair Cloth:
  • 3.5″ Gilder’s Tip: Call for Sizes & Prices
  • Gilder’s Pillow:
  • Gilder’s Knife: Double Edge
  • Agate Burnishers: Assorted styles, sizes 1-18,
  • Please call prices and details.

Miscellaneous Supplies:

  • Quick Wood Epoxy Putty:
  • Sil-Tech Modeling Putty: 5kg pail
  • Whiting
  • Rotten Stone
  • Liberon Black Bison Wax
  • Preval Sprayer: (sprayer unit only);





Our instructor, Micki Cavanah, teaches all facets of restoration and gilding. Classes are geared toward the individual student’s choice of subjects. Classes are one on one and dates can be scheduled according to your needs. Tuition is $450 per day, per student. Experience has shown that a 2 to 3 day class will suffice for almost any student. Contact Micki for more information.

About Us


Reed’s Gold Leaf Studios began from within the original family picture framing business, Reed’s Custom Framing. The frame shop opened its doors in 1968, started by Micki Cavanah’s parents, Don and Lou Reed. One of the local clients stated that he had been traveling to Atlanta, GA for all of his gilding needs. Finding it difficult to turn a client away for such services, Lou decided the natural thing to do would be to learn about gilding. At that time, there were very few gilders, and even fewer sources of instruction. It seemed that gilding was becoming a dying art. However, through perseverance, Lou learned the craft of gilding and restoration. She passed along her knowledge to many others through the years, including Micki and her husband, Mitchell Cavanah. For more than 20 years, Micki and Mitchell have continued the fine tradition of gilding that came from such humble beginnings.

Micki and Mitchell are long-time members of the prestigious Society of Gilders of which Micki currently serves as Vice-President. Both are well-respected educators in the arts of restoration, gilding, and the design and creation of one-of-a-kind, museum quality picture frames.


Reed’s Gold Leaf Studios
Micki & Mitchell Cavanah

713 Tuckahoe Drive
Madison, TN 37115-3430

(615) 865-6572
(615) 294-6113

(click to enlarge)