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
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:
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Have you ever gold leafed? Do you consider yourself a perfectionist or free-spirit? Does it effect your crafting?
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