Gilding Summery Placemats With Gold Leaf and Silver Leaf

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Introduction: Gilding Summery Placemats With Gold Leaf and Silver Leaf

I have been working with gold leaf and gilders for many years. It's a magical craft going back mi...

We wanted to indulge in a gentle, soothing project as a break from busy summer activity. Gilding these mats is a great way to enjoy some serene, creative afternoon time. It’s an easy, fun process and the actual application of the leaf is instantly gratifying. The gilded placemats are a stunning focal point for alfresco dining, softly reflecting summer evenings’ glow and conviviality. Used indoors, they sparkle and bring in a little magic illumination from outside!

This activity is as soothing and pleasing to make as the final gilded result. Savor this artistic time to make something unique and lovely for your table.

Step 1: What You'll Need

Woven polypropylene mats

Golden Fluid Acrylic Paints

Synthetic hair stencil brush or foam brush for paint application

Synthetic paint brush or foam brush for applying size.

Sepp Gilding Workshop Water-Based Gilding Size (adhesive)

Sepp Gilding Workshop Imitation Gold, Aluminum, or Copper

Leaf. There’s also Variegated Red, Blue and/or Green Leaf to choose from!

Sepp Gilding Workshop Acrylic Clear Coat (solvent-based)

You can source products at Artist & Craftsman Supply, DaVinci Artist Supply, Gilded Planet, and Jerry's Artist Outlet.

Step 2: Let’s Get Gilding!

Using a foam brush, coat the back of the stencil lightly with SGW Water-based Adhesive. When it dries clear in a few minutes, it will serve as a fixative to help hold your stencil in place while you work.

Step 3: Applying the Base Color

Gently stipple acrylic paint over the positioned mat (we mixed a few vibrant colors – pink, blue, green and yellow). With the textured surface, the colors you paint will likely be visible after gilding. The paint also seals the surface so the size sits on top without soaking into the mat so much. Allow the paint to dry completely before going to the next step.

Step 4: Applying the Size (glue)

Stipple SGW Water-Based Size lightly and thoroughly across all areas you want to gild. Wash your brush or foam brush quickly in warm water. When the size turns from milky-white to clear, it’s time to gild!

Step 5: Gild!

Pick up a square of leaf and “float” it gently over the sized area, then lay it flat (don’t worry about any wrinkles – these will just catch the light!) Using tissue pages cut from the book of leaf, press down the gold or silver leaf to make sure it sticks. Once you’ve covered all the sized areas with leaf, you can do a final pressing with the tissue.

Step 6: Applying Leaf and Clean Up

Brush the leaf to remove excess leaf – save the flakes for a future project!

Tip: if you want the outline of your gilded shapes to show the under color, simply place the mat over the sized area, then gild, as the photo above on the right shows. The leaf will naturally break at the edge of the stencil, leaving an outline of color exposed. Brush away all the leaf before removing the stencil.

Step 7: Sealing Your Project

The photo above left shows the under color kept as a vibrant outline around the gold leaf.

Ideally, wait two days for the water-based size to continue drying/hardening before applying topcoat. You can topcoat just the gilded elements or the whole mat to make it easier to wipe clean after use.

Step 8: Enjoy!

Outdoors or in, your gilded placemats are ready to help you create a glamorous, glowing setting for your next party!

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