Here’s a really simple way to spruce up a boring old wooden picture frame. Gold leaf!
This project is really easy. All you need is a gold leafing kit, an old picture frame, a paint brush, and sand paper.
The first step is to lightly sand down the surface that you want gold leafed. Minimal effort here, you really don’t need to do that much sanding. Make sure to wipe off all of the dust with a damp cloth when you are done.
Next, using a foam brush or an old brush you don’t care about, thinly paint on a layer of the adhesive that came with your kit.
Allow your adhesive to dry till its tacky to touch. Now you can start foiling. This was my first time gold leafing so I tried a few different ways to apply the foil. The foil is extremely thin and delicate so this was kind of tricky. I found the easiest thing was to cut a small rectangle, a little wider than the width of the frame, and applying it one small piece at a time. Different things might work for different people. Mine was still not perfect and I got a lot of folding and wrinkling, but I think it added a nice antiqued look to the finish. I’m sure I’ll improve with practice.
Anyway, below you can see me applying a piece of gold leaf.
Gently place it on top of the adhesive then rub it in using a soft cloth to flatten out all those wrinkles.
Once you’ve finished doing this everywhere, you’ll notice that there are probably little pieces still sticking up, or random loose ends where more than one layer overlaps. Simply take a stiff-bristled brush and tap the leafing with a bouncey stippling motion. All the loose dust will fall off, and this will also push the foil into every nook and cranny. It will really contour to the surface this way.
Up to this point, gluing and leafing have not been a perfect science. You’ll probably notice a messy edge where the gold foil is encroaching onto the wooden area that you want to keep clean.
Take a fine sand paper and gently rub off any unwanted gold along the edge. Try to keep the sanding to a minimum as you don’t want to ruin the wood finish.
The final step is to paint on the sealer that came with your leafing kit.
It will go on milky, but dries clear and glossy.
And there you have it! Its very subtle, but its a great way to make a cheap frame look a little more expensive. You can also do this project with a gold leafing pen! It would be an easier, lazier, faster alternative to using foil. I ordered a pen, and I think I’m going to try it in the future. If it looks as good, I might switch over to that for future projects to avoid handling those thin, flimsy sheets of foil. Also, stay tuned. I will be posting another project later this week that also involve small amounts of golf leaf. =)