The urge to redecorate my apartment hits me a few times per year, usually coinciding with the shift in seasons or at the onset of major holidays. After months of contentment, I look around and suddenly feel the need for change, for a fresh start or simply just a little update here and there. After a marathon cleaning session at the start of the year, I found myself once again hit with the desire to redecorate. January is such a crisp, clean month, and as I took stock of my surroundings, suddenly everything felt too dark, too brown. But where to begin? Since I’m not in the position to purchase all new things — and I wouldn’t want to, either… I like my stuff — I decided that the solution was to revamp what I already owned. So instead of heading to the store, I made a list of items in my place that could be re-purposed, re-painted, and re-furbished.
First on my list? This heavy antique mirror, which I found on the side of the road in Massachusetts years and years ago — a lucky find if there ever was one. I’ve always loved the shape and quality of the glass, but never loved the color of this piece, which is typically hung above a similarly-hued dresser… too much of one color. My solution? Gold leaf. It’s inexpensive, easy, and weirdly satisfying, and best of all, gold leaf can be used on almost anything (including your manicure) to add a bit of glint.
Check out the tutorial below, and I’d love to know how you plan to update your decor this season! Please share in the comments.
1-2 packs gold leafing
Gold leaf sizing/adhesive
Gold leaf seal
Light-grade sand paper
First, run the sandpaper lightly over what you’re about to gold leaf, then wipe down the surface with a damp sponge and allow to dry completely. Once the surface is dry, dip the sponge brush into the sizing/adhesive and brush a thin, even layer all over where you plan to add the gold leaf, being sure not to allow the sizing to pool. You’ll know it’s ready for the leafing when the sizing dries from white to clear — about 10-15 minutes.
When the sizing is ready, place a sheet of the gold leaf over the surface and use your hands or a paintbrush to press it down, burnishing with your hand or the brush.
Continue adding the gold leaf, pressing it into the design of the frame as you go. It may tear as you go along, if you don’t like the lightly-distressed look, simply press more leafing into the exposed areas.
Once the entire surface is covered, use a cloth or your hand to rub the leaf into the grain of the wood. As you buff and burnish the surface, you’ll see the gold leaf get really nice and shiny, this is the part I love! Once you’re done, use a vacuum or canned air to pick up the dust, and use the sealant to finish the piece.
More creative DIY ideas from the BLDG 25 blog