19 Nov 2012

DIY: How To Use Gold Leaf To Up-cycle Objects At Home!

Recently we've been obsessing over gold. Perhaps it's something to do with the season; there is something really warm and lavish about it, but either way we want to have gold everything! Unfortunately we're not made of money (we wish!), so buying gold goodies just isn't an option... but there is always a way around that in our eyes....

Bring on the Gold Leaf!

This week we're going to show you how we up-cycled our little gum-ball machine into a golden wonder! This little guy is going to look so awesome at Vivid HQ - and it's going to make the coolest table decoration for our Christmas dinner :D The best thing about making your favorite toys golden is that they become classy, little works of art. Step aside Jeff Koons, there's a new talent in town!

You can gold leaf pretty much anything if you have patience and the following things:
gold leaf
gilding paste
a soft brush

To begin, you must make sure your object is clean and dry. Give it a good wash to get rid of any dust, oil and sticky bits. If you're using something like wood, make sure to give it a wee sand to get rid of any jaggy rough bits. 

When you're ready to start working, paint on a thin layer of your gilding paste. This is much like thinned down pva glue; it starts off white and dries clear. If you're struggling to get your hands on it, you could probably water down pva and use it as an alternative.

Once you've covered your item, let it dry for 10-15 minutes or until the white paste has gone clear and your item is a little tacky. 

Using another brush with soft bristles (or once your other one is clean and dry), you will be able to tear off small pieces of gold leaf, pick it up with your brush and apply it onto your sticky object. 

If you're feeling bold, you can go straight in there with a big chunk, but we found smaller bits easier to work with as they were less prone to tearing when we were trying to smooth them down...

Once you have a piece of gold leaf placed on your object, gently press down and smooth it out using your brush till it's all stuck down. This stuff is super delicate so don't worry if it rips a little and has a few gaps in it on your first round. We recommend doing a couple of coats to get full coverage.

Continue to put gold leaf all around your trinket. Looking good, right! It's quite satisfying fitting all the pieces of gold leaf together, like a little shiny jigsaw :)

Once you've covered as much as you can on your first round, paint on more glue where the gaps are, let it dry till it's tacky and add on a little more gold leaf. This material is pretty tricky to work with, so  you're probably not going to get it absolutely perfect. We quite like the character you get from the tiny flaws, it makes it more charming!

Once you're happy with the way your gold leaf wonder looks, give it a little coat of varnish so it's protected. We painted the little gumball turner a pretty teal to match it better than the colour it was before too - little flourishes can add the nicest touch when up-cycling :)

What do you think?
We're really pleased with how it's turned out. Add a little ribbon to the top and you could proudly pop this gum-ball machine on the christmas tree and all :D The best part is that the gold leaf is really versatile, so if you're patient you can put it on pretty much anything and make your world a whole lot more lavish :)

We'd love to hear what you think of this weeks tutorial and hope you have a lot of fun adding a little kick to all of your cute trinkets at home!

Happy Making!

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  1. yeah, I could totally see myself going crazy with this stuff. How fun! THanks for sharing!

    1. Haha! Glad to hear it Megan :D So good to hear we're not the only ones in love with it!

  2. Ooohhh....So pretty! Love it! The gold leaf makes it a bling-a-licious bubble gumball machine. =0)

    1. Hee hee! Bling-a-licious indeed :D Thanks Kim!