Have I mentioned how much I love Craigslist and Goodwill? I have a frequent buyers card for Goodwill. People give away or sell awesome things and I am super happy they do because I benefit!
On my last trip to Goodwill, I found some awesome frames. The pictures in them…not so much.
I decided to take them home and gild them using gold leaf.
There are a lot of different brands of gold leaf. I like to use Mona Lisa Gold leaf. You can buy it at Hobby Lobby or United Art and Education. There are 25 sheets in the package.
You need to brush an adhesive on the object you are going to use the gold leaf on. I use the Mona Lisa sizing which is located right next to the gold leaf.
Many people paint a base coat underneath to show through the cracks. Red is a popular base color. I did not want to use a base color for my frames, however.
After cleaning the frames, I brushed the adhesive onto them, making sure it did not pool or it would not dry for a long time. It has to dry for about 20 to 30 minutes.
When it dries it is transparent and glossy. I carefully placed the sheets on the frames, one by one, patting them down with a foam stamper-thing I happened to have…although I don’t know what it’s real use is or where it came from, it worked. I usually use and recommend a soft, dry paint brush.
In the last two photos you can see that there are cracks in the gold leafing. This happened because I was working on a frame with ridges. Flat surfaces will not crack like that and are a lot easier to work on.
Once I use the gold leafed on the entire frame, I use a smaller paint brush to brush more adhesive into the cracks and then tore pieces of gold leaf to fill in the cracks. You can also use the gold flecks you will inevitably have left over.
When I was done, I waited about an hour until everything was dry.
Then, using a clean, dry paint brush, I brushed the frame to get off all loose gold leaf flecks. You want to make sure all the flecks of extra gold are off what you are gilding before you use the polyurethane.
I use Minwax Wipe-On Poly clear satin which I buy at Lowes. Using a clean cloth I wiped the Minwax on the frames and waited for them to dry.
I love The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and last time we stayed, we discovered they had an outlet store. I purchased several menus and other things I planned to frame someday. PLUS, Dave gave me this beautiful gilée of the Grand Hotel for Christmas and I wanted to frame these to match.
Here are the before and after photos.
I plan to hang them soon!
There are many things you can gild and you do not have use gold.
Several years ago, I got this bureau on Craigslist for $25. It was a really ugly red-brown color. The top is granite and it is SUPER heavy! I took it home, bought acrylic knobs at Hobby Lobby and then used silver leaf to gild it. It is one of my favorite pieces of furniture.
I bought this buffet on Craigslist for super cheap. I bought the same knobs and used silver leaf to gild it. I sold it on Craigslist for double what I bought it for.
I hope you try to gild something. It will scare you and it will probably not look like what you hoped it had at first. Keep trying. The first item I tried to gild I ended up redoing many times, so don’t choose something you really love or something super expensive to gild the first time.
Hope you enjoyed it!