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I am a perfectionist. I was convinced I could never enjoy gold leafing. The very thought of flaky gold paper bothered me. But, for some reason, I was drawn to doing a gold leaf project for the guest bedroom. Blame it on the red and gold fine art paper I framed for the room.
I found these brown kraft stars at Paper Source, the same day I bought the red and gold paper. I immediately imagined them gold leafed. Then, I chickened out, just short of buying the gold leaf. The craft store had a Gold Leaf Rub ‘N Buff next to the gold leaf. I thought rubbing gold leaf evenly all over the stars would be much better, at least for a perfectionist like me.
It wasn’t better. I did not get the effect I was after. The Gold Leaf Rub ‘N Buff left the stars looking more bronze, than gold. They were also very dull. So, I went back and got the gold leaf.
During a wonderfully long afternoon nap for my youngest, I gold leafed both stars. I embraced the imperfection of it all. As a self-diagnosed perfectionist, I found gold leafing to be a very freeing experience. I knew the look I was after was not perfect. I wanted something shiny and gold, yet gritty and grungy. With this aim in mind, I applied the gold leaf in the most imperfect manor possible.
Gold Leaf for a Perfectionist Embracing Imperfection
The best way to get started with gold leaf is this starter kit which has everything you need, including the special adhesive.
Apply gold leaf adhesive sizing to the stars with a foam brush.
Allow the sizing to set for 30-45 minutes, until tacky. It will go from milky white to clear and be sticky to the touch.
I opted for the “ready gold leaf”, which already had a paper backing on each piece of gold leaf. Alternatively, you need to press a piece of wax paper onto each sheet of gold leaf to transfer it to your project.
Because my stars were very angular and I wanted to minimize any gold leaf waste, I cut triangles from the gold leaf sheets.
I gently pressed the gold leaf onto each triangle on the star. I used a foam brush over the paper to transfer the gold leaf.
Once the gold leaf was stuck to the star, I removed the paper backing. Then with the same foam brush, I gently brushed over the gold leaf.
I cut some of the triangles larger, so the gold leaf would wrap around.
For any gold leaf hanging over the edge, I gently wrapped it over with the foam brush.
Since I wanted a grungy, aged look, I went over the gold leaf again a little harder with the foam brush. I rubbed the brush more along the edges and crevices to make the gold leaf flake off.
Once all sides of the star were gold leafed, I went over the whole thing again with the foam brush to remove any loose gold leaf flakes. I used gold leaf sealer to coat the stars and prevent the gold leaf from flaking off.
Unless you are a much better perfectionist than me, you will end up gold leafing your fingers. No worries…it washes right off.
The Perfection is in the Imperfect
I never thought I could love gold leaf so much. I really don’t even like gold, but the blue and red bedroom I am working on called for a splash of gold. The imperfection of this project is what makes it perfect. I also was glad I applied the Rub ‘N Buff first. The bronze base color shows through the cracks in the gold leaf. It enhances the aged look. These turned out exactly how I wanted. Here is a little sneak peek of one of them in the room:
Click here to see more DIY Gold Leaf projects, like this:
Have you ever gold leafed? Do you consider yourself a perfectionist or free-spirit? Does it effect your crafting?