I have three different gold sizes to use when I want to add gilding to a scroll. one is the standard gesso made from chalk, plaster etc... one is a premixed red stuff that sort of resembles liquid rubber and smells bad called permacol and the third is a very simple sugar/gum arabic water mix. I tend not to use the 1st because it's a little unpredictable. I bought the mix from Iconofile and it's a traditional gesso sottile which works beautifully when it works but because of the chalk/plaster content it's sometimes not sticky enough in this house which is a very dry house. I find it fiddly and a pain in the arse to get right and the results are mixed at best. I've never made my own because quite frankly I can't be bothered to slake plaster though it is on my to-do list just to see what happens.
The 2nd one is
Permacol which if you do a google search on will show up mainly as
surgical mesh and adhesives. Hrm. It's a man made product that is a
little rubbery and very sticky and dries pretty fast so it I want to
gild something quickly I can use this and it's nice, it works really
well except for the shine. No matter what I've tried I cannot get the
gold leaf to bling out. So it looks very nice but the gold isn't as
shiny as it could be. I tried tihs out because it was so highly
recommended to me but as a modern size I can't say I'm overly fond of
it, the only real big plus is the speed at which it's ready to be
The third option is a very simple recipe of sugar, gum
arabic powder and water. It takes about three hours of so to make
because the gum powder needs a bit of time to dissolve properly. When
it's laid on the paper / parchment it also takes around 24 hours to dry
properly ( humidity depending) but then once it's ready it works really
well. Breath activated the gold sticks and then once it's dry it can be
polished to a mirror shine. And it can be layered so you can either do
flat gilding or raised depending on whim and wish.
All three methods work but the 3rd is the one I've had the best results with.