Introduction: Gilded Paper Leaves for Thanksgiving

About: I have been working with gold leaf and gilders for many years. It's a magical craft going back millenia. I love to introduce both adults and kids to the artistry of gilding with all types of leaf!

For this project we are using an array of beautiful, budget-friendly metal leaves –
lustrous Imitation Gold, warm Copper and vibrant Variegated Red.

Step 1: Set a Splendid Golden Table This Thanksgiving With Gilded Paper Leaves

Together Gold, Copper and Variegated Red Leaves create a harmonious palette for your table setting. Bonus – we'll use our gilded leaves to make gorgeous garlands and place cards!

Step 2: What You’ll Need -

Set of good quality 3” x 3” card paper leaves with holes preferably with a length of jute to thread through the leaves

Small foam roller for applying size

Soft brush for skewing off excess leaf

Cotton gilding gloves

Sepp Gilding Workshop Water-Based Gilding Size (glue for leaf)

Sepp Gilding Workshop – one book (25 leaves) each Imitation Gold, Copper, and Red Variegated Leaf – each square of metal leaf will cover 1-2 paper leaves front and back.

Wax paper, a pencil, and a couple of pieces of paper towel

Step 3: Apply Water-Based Size

Thoroughly load your foam roller and apply enough SGW Water-Based Size to leave a thin white coating over the paper. Rest the sized pumpkins on wax paper. Use a pencil to hold the leaves steady. The SGW Size will quickly shift from milky white to glossy and clear (in about 20 minutes), then the paper is ready to gild. Check that the glue feels dry but tacky.

Step 4: Preparing Your Imitation Gold, Copper and Variegated Red Leaf for Gilding

For ease of handling, we cut the binding from the books of leaves, and then cut each type of metal leaf in half.

Step 5: Gilding the Paper Leaves!

With gloved hands, slide half a piece of your Imitation Gold or other metal leaf over the paper leaf surface. Press to ensure full contact.

Step 6: GIld the Reverse

Once all leaves are gilded, lift them off the wax paper. Flip the wax paper over and repeat the gilding process. Once both sides are gilded, you can use your soft brush to do a final buffing and remove excess flakes of leaf – save these flakes to gild the jute!

Step 7: Gilding the Jute, Making the Garland and Place Cards

Dip the jute in the SGW Water-Based Size, gently remove excess size with a damp paper towel. Allow to dry to tack, then gild with the leftover flakes. Rub down gently with gloves. To create your garland, thread your leaves in alternation shapes and colors. To make place cards, simply write names on the gilded leaf with a marker or paint pen.

Step 8: Decorate!

Scatter your gold leaves and share your thanks in abundance!