DIY Gold Leafed Letter

So you know how sometimes you buy something so you can “Do It Yourself” when in reality you could buy pretty much exactly what you created for less trouble and not much more money?  That’s the story of this DIY.  Granted, this was my first experience with gold leaf flakes, so I was probably much slower than I should have been.  All in all, this project took about 80 minutes of hands on time…a little more than what I normally have patience for, but I’m happy with the result so it was totally worth it!

I bought a letter “V” a few months ago at an antique store because my new last name starts with a V.  It was bright orange though (and I’m not a Tennessee Volunteers fan), so I knew something would have to be done to fix it up a little bit.

The letter looks alright, but I knew it could look BETTER!

I primed it at first with some spray paint primer, because I figured I’d just paint it gold, like I’ve done to everything lately.  My mom suggested I gold leaf it though, and I’m so glad she gave me this idea!  I think the primer was smart even though I didn’t go through with spray painting it because it prevented the orange from coming through when I missed a couple of spots with the gold leaf adhesive.

Here are the materials that you need to gold leaf something:

-item to gold leaf (obviously)
-work surface that can get dirty (the gold flakes and dust go everywhere…I used a foam poster board)
-gold leaf adhesive
-small brush for adhesive
-cloth gold leafing gloves (you don’t want the gold to stick all over you)
-gold leaf flakes (1 packet will likely last many, many projects)
-brush for applying flakes (I used a Martha Stewart brush specifically made for this, but the bristles kept falling out and sticking on the letter, so I ended up using a foam brush and my gloved fingers)
-top coat to make it more durable once your finished (I skipped this step, for now)

I don’t have any pictures of the actual process, but all you do is paint the adhesive on the surface you want to gold leaf, and let it dry for the required time.  It’s sort of weird because when it “dries” it’s actually really tacky.  Once it’s “dry” you just put the gold leaf flakes all over it and overlap the pieces until the whole piece is covered.  Then you rub it down with silk fabric or tissue paper (or your hand if you have on gloves) and the whole surface will be smoothed out and most of the small spots you missed will be covered.

So much better huh?


While I probably could have bought a gold leafed letter very easily, I am really happy with how this turned out…and…I’m happy I’m finally not afraid of gold leafing!  Once you get the hang of it it’s really rather simple and not nearly as intimidating as it seems!

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Katie Vail
Katie Vail

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Leave a comment

  1. December 10, 2014 / 7:18 pm

    It makes it look super expensive actually. I love your style and decorating! you need a tv show

  2. December 11, 2014 / 4:40 pm

    It looks fantastic! I must find something to gold leaf!

  3. December 12, 2014 / 1:40 pm

    It looks great…..but, the orange on your wall was also kind of funky and cool!

  4. December 26, 2014 / 4:43 pm

    Thank you so much!!! Wow, that's such a sweet compliment! A tv show would be a dream!

  5. December 26, 2014 / 4:44 pm

    Thank you Maureen! Yes, you've gotta try it out! It really is such a great way to transform a not so pretty object into something fabulous.

  6. December 26, 2014 / 4:45 pm

    Thanks Jennifer! Yes the orange wasn't too bad, but I love the gold more ūüôā

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