Experience Bukchon: Gold Leaf Printing

The Soul of Seoul Tours: Hanboks, Tea & GoldA few months back, The Soul of Seoul Tours hosted a cultural event here in Seoul in which the participants got to dress up in Hanboks, or traditional Korean clothing, walk around Bukchon, partake in a gold leaf printing experience program and drink some traditional tea in a Hanok house.

Everyone had a great time and the gold leaf works really came out great for everyone involved as well so I wanted to a post specifically on the KumBakYeon experience.

(This page contains affiliate links. That means if you click on them and purchase something, I will get a percentage of the transaction to keep up this blog and maybe if there’s a little extra to buy a bottle of red wine to go with dinner. Thanks for the support!)

To start, booking a group for the experience was relatively easy. Granted I can speak Korean at a conversational level, so I called them up and they were thrilled to have us. They even made it so that while our group was there, no other wanderers could come in. This was really wonderful as it allowed our group of Hanbok adorned guests to get to know each other, talk and not have to introduce themselves all over again to new people coming in for just this part of our tour. The staff was extremely hospitable and really went out of their way to make sure we had everything that we would need ahead of time.

In Korea, gold is a symbol of eternity, beauty and authority so gilding on cloth is meant to show elegance as well as hope, according to the info provided.

While other countries used gold gilded onto buildings and other architectural decor, Korea advanced the techniques of gilding onto silk with a woodblock imprinting technique. During the experience, guests are given a practice square of cloth and are asked to choose a woodblock with their chosen pattern. Next they are given instruction on how to transfer the gold leaf onto the cloth through a process of heating up glue and quite delicately patting. Most everyone’s first go at it was a bit sloppy, though there were a few standouts, but it was clear that this practice cloth is pretty invaluable as no one wants to err on the actual product they’ll take home. While wearing Hanboks for the experience isn’t at all necessary but just something we did for our tour, they sure do look great in the photos as they partake in a traditional Korean experience, don’t they?

During the Joseon Dynasty, clothing with gold leaf were used by the royals as a way to beautify their clothing and show their authority and desire for national prosperity through the various patterns that were depicted. Because the patterns were so important, there were strict rules and guidelines for how the gold leaf needed to be placed and where. Obviously, for our purposes, the rules aren’t all that important and everyone was free to choose which pattern or stamp reflected their own personalities. The staff explained, in pretty good English, what to do and how and gave some background information as well. They were a bit nervous and said not to mind their broken English attempt at descriptions, but they really did fantastic and everyone caught on quickly.

The Soul of Seoul Tours: Hanboks, Tea & GoldThe Soul of Seoul Tours: Hanboks, Tea & Gold

There are numerous traditional Korean experiences to partake in in Bukchon like this one so when you visit, don’t be fearful of looking inside those open Hanok homes to see what fun awaits! You can even sleep inside some of them for that authentic Korean experience.

If you have a group coming to Korea or would like some help booking this or other experiences, contact The Soul of Seoul Tours at info@thesoulofseoultours.com today and we can get you ready for that one of a kind experience in Seoul!The Soul of Seoul Tours banner

Experiences Available at KumBakYeon:

Gilding on a Greeting Card: Imitation gold: W10,000/ Pure gold: W40,000

Gilding on a Book Mark: Imitation gold: W15,000/ Pure gold: W50,000

Gilding on a Ribbon: Imitation gold: W15,000/ Pure gold: W50,000

Gilding on a Pouch: Imitation gold: W20,000/ Pure gold: W60,000


Kum Bak Yeon


Jongno-gu Gahoe-dong 11-18, Seoul, Korea

서울 종로구 가회동 11-18

Phone: 02-730-2067

Hours: Monday ~ Friday: 10:00am ~ 5:00pm; Saturday: 10:00am ~ 3:00pm

Email: kumbackyeon@daum.net

Experience Bukchon: Gold Leaf Printing

*Some photos in this post provided directly from KumBakYeon.

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2 Responses

  1. What a wonderful experience and the history behind the gold leaf is so interesting! What was it like when they dressed you in the Hanbok? Is it an intricate process like the Kimono? I love how the staff was so attentive and even made the event private to where non participants weren’t allowed to wander around 🙂

    • Hallie says:

      Getting dressed up in a Hanbok can be quite intimate because there are specific ways everything should be put on and tied, etc. though when you’re renting, which is what our group did, it’s less intimate just because it’s not a personal Hanbok I think. You keep your own underthings on and stuff like that. ^^

What do you think?