bible with silver foil gilt edging
zohar book with silver foil gilt edging
gold foil gilt edging on tarot cards

What is Gilt Edging?

Gilt edging or edge gilding is one of several types of book edge finishing techniques used to decorate the edges of a book block or card deck.

Gilt edging is used most often on luxury books including special and limited edition books and bibles and other religious publications, however, it is also popular on other printed items; such as children’s board books, journals, stationery items, and card decks, to add an element of luxury, distinction or just plain fun!

We offer a product development consultation and free quotation service.

What are the Benefits of Gilt Edging?

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Gilt edging provides a luxury embellishment that elevates your project to the next level

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A gilt edged book stands out from other products on the shelf and can provide the unique USP to differentiate between other products in a similar market

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Few Limitations

Gilt edging can be applied to a wide number of products including books, card sets and stationery products and there are few limitations when it comes to applying a gilt edge finish

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Cost Effective

Imago has access to a wide-range of global suppliers in Europe and the Fat East who are able to apply gilt edging to products on a large scale to keep costs down for your project

holographic gilt edging on children's board book

Why use Gilt Edging on your Print Project?

Gilt edging adds luxury and class to any printed product.  It transforms an ordinary book into a stand out book, differentiating it in terms of design and quality.

Traditionally gilt edging was done using gold or silver leaf and was reserved for important books to reflect their valuable nature.  These days gold or silver leaf has been replaced by hot stamping foils which are available in a myriad of finishes and colours – metallic golds and silvers, matt foils, even foils with fluorescent and holographic effects, so designers can create impactful traditional or contemporary styling for their products.

The team at Imago are here to help you choose the best and most appropriate gilt edging option for your project. If you’re not sure, please do get in touch with us and we would be delighted to advise and talk your project through in more detail.

Gilt Edging – The Technical Details

The Gilt Edging Production Process

Gilt edging is a highly skilled process, it can be fully automated but that requires specialist machinery, so often it still involves a lot of manual handling.  To gilt edge a book, stacks of trimmed book blocks are clamped together and go through several sanding stages until the edges are polished and 100% smooth.

Preparation of the book edge is key to success – any unevenness or dust will show later.  Adhesive is then applied to the edges which are to be gilded and the foil applied to each edge under heat and pressure.  Any excess foil is then removed.

board book with holographic gilt edging

Top Tips for Gilt Edging a Book

  • Technically, there is no minimum thickness of book block, but the thicker the book the greater the impact.  We would recommend a minimum of 5mm.
  • Because gilt edging uses pressure and heat, there is a tendency for pages or leaves to stick together causing damage to the paper surface.   For best results we would recommend using an uncoated paper for your book contents, avoid heavy inking and bleeds and avoid using a varnish on the contents.
  • Books which are designed with light inking and white borders on uncoated papers are ideal for the gilding process
  • If you do want to use a coated paper extra drying time is needed to ensure the printed pages are absolutely dry before the gilding process begins.  This can add time to your schedule but helps minimise the risk of sticking.
  • For card decks, varnish is usually required to protect the cards.   A UV varnish is best as it goes through a curing process and so remains stable during the gilding process.

Why Choose Imago for Your Gilt Edging Project?

At Imago, we have over forty years of experience producing books for our customers and have production staff ‘on the ground’ in the Far-East and Europe where most gilt edging is undertaken.

As the gilt edging process is a specialist area of book printing and production it is important to opt for a supplier, or in the case of Imago a print management company, who can oversee and manage the entire process to ensure your project is produced to the highest quality.

Start Your Project

Start your project

Imago would be delighted to work with you on your next print project. Get in touch with the team to discuss your ideas, no matter how out of the box they might seem!