Whiteley, Peter O., Sunset
Burnished gold leaf brings a festive gleam to this easy craft project
The ancient, painstaking art of gold leafing imparts a mellow richness that metallic paints just can't match. Today's gold-leafing kits have turned this process into a quick and easy craft. In just a couple of hours, you can transform an unfinished tray or almost any other smooth, flat or rounded surface - a table, a picture frame, even a terra-cotta pot - into a gleaming treasure.
The gold leaf is sold as thin "composition" sheets, which are also available in silver, copper, and variegated metal. The leaves are packed loose in books in 3- to 5 1/2-inch squares, interleaved with sheets of tissue paper.
Try the steps on a piece of scrap wood or cardboard first. Start by applying a thin coat of adhesive sizing, which goes on milky and dries to a clear, tacky finish in about an hour.
Separating the delicate leaves from their tissue-paper backing is tricky. Wash and dry your hands, or put on cotton gloves, before gently touching the leaves. Fold the tissue paper under to reveal about 1/4 inch of the gold foil. Then align the foil over the adhesive-coated area, hold it in place with a wide brush, and slide the rest of the foil square onto the surface. If any tears occur, use scrap pieces to patch over the exposed adhesive. Gently rub off excess with cotton balls or cheesecloth.
NOTE: The gold-leafing kit I found at an art store contained brushes, adhesive sizing, cheesecloth, sealer, and 25 sheets of leafing - enough to cover 756 square inches, which is a lot of trays. …