Two Methods for Gilding on Glass

With over 35 years in the glass business, Ruth Dobbins offers experience in fused and cast glass, as well as in glass-etching techniques. Ruth holds a Master's Degree in Printmaking and Art History and has been a partner in a stained and fused glass wholesale supply company in Europe, which also placed great emphasis on a training program. For the past 20 years, she collaborated with her husband Norm Dobbins in commission work, writing books and creating videotapes on how-to techniques for glass etching. Ruth taught these techniques for 30 years in the U.S. and other countries. Ruth continues these venues by offering a complete training program at Aliento School in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and by teaching at various trade shows, including The Awards & Engraving Show. One-on-one training and consulting services are also offered. You can reach Ruth by email at, by phone at 505-473-9203 and by fax at 505-473-9218. Check out the website at

There are two different methods for gilding on glass. One is called water gilding and is executed on un-blasted smooth glass, while the other method is called matte gilding, which is done on blasted glass. Water gilding produces a brilliant, shiny gold surface. For both techniques, one needs a substance that adheres the gold to the glass. In water gilding, this substance is gelatin, and in matte gilding, it is an oil-based size (glue). 

—Ruth Dobbins, EtchMaster