Introduction: Get Rich Quick Gold Bars

Well, probably not. But you can imagine being the wealthiest person in the world with your own stockpile of gold bars.

Make these faux gold bullion bars to impress your friends when they come over to watch the big game on your small screen TV.

Probably worth not more than the cardboard they are made from, they afford loads of opportunity on what you can do with them by having a few around. Of course, in all financial matters, seek professional advice.

Step 1: Box It Up to Go...

These gold bars are based on the London Good Delivery Bar. The "standard" or what is used in real gold transactions.

The bar cast in ingot form has the recommended dimensions of 9 x 2 inches for the small face, 10 x 3 inches for the larger face, by 1 1/2 inch thick. (The real deal is metric...) The sloping sides of the form is to be able to remove the cooled poured molten metal ingot from the mold. The weight of the bar, around 27 lbs. is not imprinted on the bar because it is checked and verified exactly during each transaction with the bar.

Mark out the dimensions of all the faces to make a folded cardboard box. You don't have to be super accurate, just enough to mimic the final shape. Use a metal straightedge to help bend the box folds along a line.

The interior is built up by layering and gluing in pieces of scrap cardboard. An extra layer or two of cardboard helps stiffen up and reinforce the one layer for the face.

Before you close up the box, consider if you want to embed any weight into the gold bar for a more realistic gold bar feel. You can seal in a bag of sand, rocks, whatever.

I paper mached any raw corrugated cardboard edges so I would have a smooth continuous surface for the gold bar.

Coat overall with several thin layers of glue, allowing it to dry in between coatings. It will get an extra smooth surface to better look like metal when painted. You may want to sand lightly between coats to get rid of anything rough like bumps from the paper or glue.

Step 2: Scratch That Off the List...

The gold bar is usually marked with a serial number, the year it was made, the purity of gold composition, and the producer or certifying mark. That information is stamped or struck into the bar.

To simulate the struck markings, have a layer of chipboard or more dense cardboard, not the corrugated kind. I just printed out my design and paper mached it to the face of the gold bar. I could go over the design with a ball point pen and pressing hard to "engrave" it. It will take several passes of the pen to get a nice deep impression.

The paint will fill in some of the indentations you made so the design will lose it's definition a bit when painted. Try to make your graphics as large and simple as possible. Line drawings are best for the imprinted logo you might have.

Step 3: The Midas Touch...

I primed the gold bars with red. I took the approach that painting these gold bars with gold metallic paint was similar to applying real gold leaf. The quality of metallic acrylic paints out there is pretty good nowadays, closely mimicking the color, lustre and shine of real metals when dry.

A base coat of red seems to enrich the gold tone since the paint is somewhat transparent with the reflective particles in the paint reflecting the colors on the surface of the object.

The trick to using metallic paints is to apply several thin layers of paint and not just glob it on. Waiting for each coat to dry demonstrates patience is a virtue. Don't touch the paint until completely dry or else you will make marks that are difficult to cover up.

I used a regular bristle brush to apply the paint. A foam brush does not leave brush marks that you have to feather out. I tried to paint in one direction to give it that long grain look. You could also swirl it in from the edges to simulate how molten metal cools in the ingot form.

So make some silver bars while you are at it.


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