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Instacoll Base Information & Instructions


Kolner Instacoll

For Mat instructions please click here.



Instacoll Base is a fast size developed to be a very high performance gilding size for both interior and exterior projects. The gilding results in a BRIGHT shiny gilded surface, which has the appearance of being water gilded and burnished. It is sometimes referred to as a 'Liquid Burnisher’.

The Instacoll system consists of a base size and an activator. They are both available in 100-ml, 500-ml, 1-liter and 4-liter containers, and available in yellow and clear.


Instacoll Base is formulated for use with gold leaf. It is used in combination with Instacoll Activator.


For imitation leaf see Kolner Permacoll HA.


The Base Size can be applied with a brush or sprayed. It takes about an hour to dry after which the leaf can be applied. The prepared surface can be gilded for about an hour before it becomes too dry to hold the gold leaf. Instacoll Base can be reactivated by applying Instacoll Activator.

Surface Preparation

The surfaces must be dry and free from dust and grease. Surfaces must be treated in such a way that they are also weather-resistant without gilding. When gilding on metal surfaces the surface must be primed and works best with two layers of high gloss finish. These layers must be dried completely. The last layer needs to be scuffed with Scotch Brite scuff pads or very lightly sanded. The primer and the high gloss finishing act as an isolation layer to prevent contact corrosion between the base and the leaf.


When gilding on glass Instacoll Base can be applied after the glass has been thoroughly cleaned. For indoor use only when gilding on glass.

NOTE: The smoother the gilding surface is the better and brighter the finished gilding will look.

Never apply Instacoll Base directly on powder coatings. Always apply a primer base coat first, then apply the base.


Application of Instacoll Base

Synthetic fiber brushes work best for applying Instacoll Base. Apply Instacoll Base generously. When the product is not applied generously enough, visible brush marks may remain. After the first layer has dried, a second layer can be applied in order to improve the quality of the surface. The danger of wrinkling after gilding increases when the layer is applied too thick at one time.


The product does not need to be thinned at temperatures between 60 °F and 77 °F. Between 40 °F and 60 °F the product must be thinned slightly with water. The product must not be used at temperatures below 40 °F. At temperatures higher than 77 °F only small surfaces can be finished.

Application of Instacoll Base by Spraying (low pressure)

Set the product on a viscosity between 20 and 28 seconds (Din-cup 4) at 68 ° F. (The product must not be used below 40 °F). This is equal to thinning with water between 5% and 10 %. In general a spray aperture of 1mm to 11⁄2 mm is works best. The drying time will be extended because the sprayed layer is usually thicker than a layer that is applied by using a brush. Optionally test with a tissue paper.


Tack/Dry Time

At a temperature of about 68 °F, the Instacoll Base will reach tack in about one hour, but can take up to three hours depending on humidity and temperature. The drying time will be longer in conditions of low temperatures and high humidity. You can test for proper tack by placing a piece of transfer paper (not gold) on to the surface. If the paper sticks, the Instacoll is not yet dry enough.

Applying the Leaf

After the Instacoll Base size has reached proper tack the leaf can be applied for about one hour after which the leaf will no longer stick to the surface.


Instacoll Base can be reactivated by applying a thin coat of Activator with a Kolner Tissue or a brush.  Allow the activator to dry, about 5-10 minutes, before applying the gold leaf.   You have about an hour to gild before the Instacoll is too dry.


Transfer Leaf

Transfer gold is preferred as it is much easier to apply than loose leaf. With the leaf side down, lay the transfer leaf onto the surface you are gilding and firmly press the leaf down onto the Instacoll Base using a Kolner Tissue to force the leaf into the Install Base.


Loose Leaf
If you do not have transfer leaf, use a Gilders Tip to pick up the loose gold leaf carefully lay it on the item being gilded.

From the gold leaf books, remove a sheet of the tissue paper that separates the leaves. Place the tissue paper on the back of the gold leaf, and use an Kolner Tissue to gently apply pressure on the tissue paper, rubbing and pushing the gold leaf down into the Instacoll Base size.


Helpful Hints

The leaves can be overlapped slightly so that the entire surface is covered. The edges of the leaves can be pushed into each other by laying a piece of the transfer paper or tissue paper from the book on the seam. Use a Kolner Tissue to gently apply pressure to the paper which will push the leaf together.


For surfaces with reliefs or high detail the Instacoll Tool can be used to work the leaf down into corners and crevices.


To achieve a higher gloss, use a small amount of pressure and polish the gold leaf by gently rubbing the gilded gold leaf in a circular motion with the Kolner Tissue. Do not use an agate burnisher.

Reactivating Instacoll Base size

After about an hour the adherence decreases and the gold leaf will no longer stick to the Instacoll Base, but the surface can be reactivated with Instacoll Activator.


To apply the Activator use a brush or a Kolner Tissue soaked with Instacoll Activator. Wipe or brush a very thin coat of of Instacoll Activator over the base size. Instacoll Activator will dry in about 5 to 10 minutes, after which the Instacoll Base layer will be activated and ready to adhere the gold or silver leaves for another hour.


The Activator can be applied at any time, even months later. Surfaces that are activated with the Instacoll Activator but not covered with gold leaves should not be touched because the adherence will decrease with touching.


With gold leaves gilded surfaces can immediately be exposed to mild meteorological effects (dry and not too cold). Adverse weather conditions as such as low temperatures with rain, snow or hail will extend the drying time (several days, depending on the conditions). In the course of time the gloss level will fade but remain on higher level and always will be shinier than the traditional oil base gilding.



Clean up brushes and tools with warm soap and water.
Do not return unused solutions to their container, discard.



Instacoll Base and Activator should be kept in a dry, cool, well-ventilate area, away from UV light and direct sunlight. Keep the containers tightly closed and avoid frost and heat. Depending on storage conditions, shelf life of unused products is 1-2 years.


The Instacoll Base and Activator are not toxic. However they may cause skin or eye irritation, and should be kept away from food and drink. Keep out of reach of children.

A complete safety data sheet from Kölner Products can be viewed here.


The conditions, methods of handling and use of this product are beyond our control and may be beyond our knowledge.  For this reason, we do not assume responsibility and expressly disclaim liability for loss, damage or expenses arising out of or in any way connected to the handling, storage, use or disposal of this product.


A Kölner Products video with additional information and instructions can be found here.