Easy Update: How to Transform Your Decor With Gold Leaf

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.

How to Gold Leaf

How to Gold Leaf


1-2 packs gold leafing

Gold leaf sizing/adhesive

Gold leaf seal

Light-grade sand paper

Sponge brush

Soft cloth

How to Gold Leaf

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.

How to Gold Leaf

How to Gold Leaf

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.

How to Gold Leaf

How to Gold Leaf

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.

How to Gold Leaf

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.

How to Gold Leaf

Shop this post: Turquoise Teardrop Ring, Nemesis Ring, Three Stone Double Ring, Suede Bucket Bag.

More creative DIY ideas from the BLDG 25 blog

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9 years ago

Wow! It looks so much better with the gold leafing.

9 years ago

I adore gold leaf! Good job. We do have the best antiques here in MA ;)

Warm Regards,

9 years ago

This is so pretty and creative, yet simple. I love it!


9 years ago
9 years ago

so incredibly gorgeous! its amazing how small changes can create big changes! i also really love the idea of using what you have and recycling or revamping it, it helps keep our beautiful world more beautiful… thank you for sharing your wonderful project!


9 years ago

This is such a great idea. I’ll do it on my mirrors !


9 years ago

How creative. I love this idea, and agree with you about having the itch to redecorate a few times a year, mine turns into a few times a season :).
Thanks for the tutorial. The mirror looks much more vintage now, and very much offsets the wall and brings out the green in it.




9 years ago

This is such a great idea! Love the touch of gold!

9 years ago

I love this! I am definitely going to try this on an old box I have and maybe make some wall decor with it. I might run to the antique store and buy some little figurines and use gold leaf on them.

9 years ago

Wow, it looks great, I wish I could do these things myself… I’m very clumsy :S

xx Cecil // http://www.wednesday19th.blogspot.com

9 years ago

Good idea.
It looks great!


9 years ago

hah, I wish to find amazing mirror on side of the road :D but I must wait for summer antique markets

8 years ago

Thank you for sharing your ideas, I often use gold and silver leaf as instruments for my job and I’m always amazed if I think about how many special things you can do with them.

7 years ago

I really love the way of describing things by you in your blog this information is very easy to understand and apply, after applied it gives awesome result and very beautiful idea to decorate walls.

7 years ago

Definitely a beautiful job on this!