I've wanted to try gold leafing for a while now too. It's always fun to try something new! After we picked up a gold leafing kit from a local craft shop. I read the instructions (this is key if you're new to something. Even though I am often tempted to skip this step!) and checked out the manufacturers website for any tips.
This is a slightly different application to the Honey Bear vases we created. I wanted to try something that wasn't a full coverage look. Some designs worked better than others, as you can see. Here's what I did and what I learned from it:
1. Supplies: gold leafing kit (this included metal papers, adhesive and sealer), items to embellish (I picked up a mini cake stand and double bowl from TJ Maxx), soft paint brush and sponge. 2. Using your paint brush, add adhesive in the design you choose. Allow to dry until it becomes tacky then lay a thin layer of gold leaf over it. Pat it down with your sponge or your finger. Gold leaf can easily chip or smudge, but don't get frustrated. Have patience. 3. Allow to dry and then gently brush off excess gold leaf with a (clean) soft paint brush or sponge. I tried both and had better luck with the sponge. 4. Apply the sealer over your design and allow to dry.
Tips for first time gold leaf users (like me).
-Choose a design that will look good messy. Gold leaf is not easy to work with so you will probably have a few chips or smudges when you are done. This can add a lot of charm! If you really want clean edges you might try painting instead.
-If the gold leaf sticks to your hands too much stop and go wash your hands. There's a good chance you got a little adhesive on your hands, or the oils are sticking to the leaf. Clean, dry hands work best.
-You can fix holes in your design after by apply a tiny bit more adhesive and adding gold leaf again. So don't despair if your first attempt isn't "perfect."
-Practice on a damaged or thrifted item first. It's best to get a feel for the supplies if you've never used them before. I practiced on a chipped mug I was planning to throw out anyway and this really helped me to see how the gold leafing was going to turn out, so I adjusted my original design idea.
-For this kind of application designs with small areas work best. For example, the small ridged edge of the bowl above (left side) worked much better as a design idea than the long stripes design (right side).
-Items will not be dishwasher or food safe. I created items for my bedroom, to hold rings and perfume. You could also make a fancy soap dish or tooth brush holder. But do not plan to create dishes to eat off of or that need to be washed often.
Thanks for letting me share my first gold leafing adventure with you. It's fun to experiment and find out what works best, and what doesn't. Try something new this week! xo. Emma

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