If you’re wanting to add a textured gold look to a furniture or decor piece, this gilding tutorial is for you!
Gilding has been around for millennia, and yet, it’s still a beautiful and practical technique for modern day uses!
I’m actually going to be teaching how to make a gilded oyster shell ring dish as one of the hands-on-workshops at my Bespoke Design Retreat coming up this fall! Registration is only open for a few more days until August 1st! Visit bespokedesignretreat.com to learn more and to save your ticket before it’s too late!
** If you’re reading this post after August 1, 2023 – Registration for the 2023 trip is already closed, but you can join the Waitlist Here to be notified for future Bespoke events! **
Now before I jump in to this gilding tutorial, I wanted to answer a few of the biggest questions I hear often about the process.
*This post contains affiliate links to products I know &/or love.
What is the difference between gilding & gold leaf?
Gilding is the process of applying a “leaf” or thin sheet of metal to an object.
And while gold leaf has always been one of the most popular options, it’s not the only one! Historically, copper, aluminum and silver have all been used as leaf for their own gilding purposes as well.
Why chose to gild instead of using spray paint or Rub n Buff?
This will come down to a bit of personal preference, but my decision relies on a few things:
My favorite spray paint used to be the Design Master 24-Carat Pure Gold Metallic Spray paint, but Natalie over at My Vintage Porch shared about the Rustoleum Champagne Bronze Metallic Spray paint, and I’ve really been loving it!
After being the fore-runner for the past few years, the Design Master has been officially replaced. I love that the Rustoleum a) stops rust b) is a prettier shade of gold, and c) is cheaper!
And with that, let’s jump into the tutorial!
Then, you just need your piece that you’re wanting to gild!
You can chose a piece of furniture, or a smaller decor item; this gilding tutorial will work well on any of them!
For my purposes, I chose to gild a bamboo coffee table that I found on Facebook Marketplace.
I had been very inspired by golden bamboo pieces like these bar stools shared by Ballard Designs.
Once all of your supplies are ready, you can get to work!
Here’s the before!
Step One: Apply your Size
Use a paintbrush to apply your size to a workable area and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
You want it to feel a bit tacky (like the back of a sticky note) but not too sticky when you start your next step.
Step Two : Apply your gold leaf
Take one sheet of your gold leaf at a time and place it over the size pressing it down into the adhesive. The size will feel almost like a magnet pulling the leaf to it.
For a larger furniture piece, I found that it was easier to keep the gold leaf on the tissue paper as I placed it onto the table, and then to remove the tissue paper once I had done the initial placement and press down.
Step Three: Dry Brush Your Gold Leaf
This step will help push the gold leaf into place, and it will also flake off any pieces that aren’t secured by the size.
If you realize you’ve missed a spot, you can simply add a new piece of the gold leaf over that spot (if there is already size there), or you can add your size and wait 15 minutes to fill it in.
Optional Step Four: Add dark wax to tone down the brightness if desired.
I preferred the darker look, so I used my Annie Sloan dark wax and my Siff brush to add that deep, worn coloring.
I just love the vintage French look! I hope you’re as happy with your own gilded furniture piece as I am with mine!
Find more great inspiration below, and don’t forget to save your spot at my Bespoke Design Retreat for September 18-21!