Burnishing can add different textural qualities to gold leaf or other leaf metals. After gold leaf has been applied and has dried completely we use a big piece of cotton ball to light polish the gold by hand. This is called burnishing we typically use this technique for surface gilding situations. For instance when we are finishing a carved sign or a sandblasted sign with gold leaf letters we would use cotton to polish or burnish the letters. It is very important to use a delicate touch when burnishing as the exposed leaf can be damaged with too much pressure or accidental contact with a careless finger nail. There are other finishing techniques as well such as engine turning. This too can be done by hand with a cotton ball on dry gold leaf.
Genuine 35 karat gold leaf films are also available with a burnished finish, engine turn, and florentine swirl.