Want to enjoy something extra fun to do (besides pack) for school? We have the perfect project to make your dorm room glow – and the best part is it’s as fun to make as to display on your wall!
This project offers two distinctively different ways to easily gild with imitation gold leaf and imitation silver leaf – one uses a traditional grid-pattern placement, and the other lets you go a little looser with random placement. You can use either leaf with each method. Mix and match to express your own unique style!
Step 1: What You'll Need
Small foam roller or foam brush for applying size
Soft brush to apply topcoat
Sepp Gilding Workshop Water-Based Gilding Size (glue for leaf)
Sepp Gilding Workshop Imitation Gold Leaf book of 25 leaves Sepp Gilding Workshop Aluminum Leaf book of 25 leaves
Sepp Gilding Workshop Acrylic Clear Coat (solvent-based)
Primed canvas board (ours are 18” x 24” – we used about ½ book of leaf for grid placement and about 1 full leaf book for random placement)
Golden Acrylic Paints
Optional: cut-out plain paper shapes of your choice – we used a heart and a square
Piece of thin cardboard measuring about 6” - 7” square
Sepp Gilding Workshop (SGW) offers Gilding Kits with varying colors of leaf and primers, along with size, brush, stir stick and even gloves. SGW also offers Red, Yellow and Gray primers, and Imitation Gold, Aluminum, Variegated Red, Blue and Green Leaf separately.
Step 2: Color Your Panel
Load your foam roller with your color choice. We used Magenta with Titanium White under the Imitation Gold Leaf and Phthalo Blue with Titanium White under the Aluminum Leaf. Gently crisscross strokes of color till you have the amount of color you want. We went for a gentle wash of color rather than opaque coverage. Allow to dry completely.
Step 3: Apply Water-Based Size
Lightly load your foam brush and apply enough SGW Water-Based Size to leave a thin white coating on the painted panel again, work in a crisscross pattern and be sure the entire surface is covered with size. The SGW Size will quickly shift from milky white to clear (in about 20 minutes), then it’s ready to gild. Check that the glue feels dry but tacky by gently touching a few areas with your fingertip – no moisture or glue should come away on your finger. This size stays ready for gilding indefinitely - so you can take your time applying the leaf!
Step 4: Gilding Method #1 – Grid Pattern – Elegant and Easy
Place Paper Shapes and Prep the Gold Leaf
If you want to use paper shapes to block leaf from certain areas, allowing the under color to remain showing, apply them now where you wish and gently press on to the size. These will be removed later, so don’t press too hard.
Step 5: Placing the Leaf
For this project, wearing cotton gloves keeps your hands from staining the Imitation Gold Leaf. Place the book of leaf on your cardboard square, fold back the top tissues, and tuck them under the edge of the cardboard to expose the leaf. With a gloved hand, slide the leading edge of the leaf where you want to start gilding. Pull the cardboard and book of leaf away so that the single leaf remains on the sized panel.
Fold back the next tissue. Repeat in rows going from closer to farther away, resting each subsequent leaf so that it slightly overlaps the previous one. Hold the edge of the overlapped leaf in place as you pull the book away. You’ll apply leaf right over your paper shapes as well.
Step 6: Continuing to Lay Leaf
Sometimes your placement may be a bit off and you’ll have a gap between leaves. You can patch these by applying additional leaf on the gaps or leave them as we did to allow the pink to show through here and there – either way is pretty. Once the entire surface is covered, use a piece of tissue from your book of gold, and rub the gilded surface to ensure each leaf has made full contact with the size, especially at your overlaps. If you missed sizing any areas, simply apply a little more size where you want, and allow about 15 minutes to get tacky.
Use a soft, dry brush to do a final tamping and brushing away of excess leaf. Once you’ve cleared the panel of flakes, you can peel away your paper shape. Save the flakes or “skewings” for future gilding projects!
Step 7: Topcoat
Allow your gorgeous gold panel to dry overnight, then brush on SGW acrylic clear coat to protect. When you get to your color shapes, brush topcoat from the center out to keep any tiny, stray of flakes of leaf out – unless you want them there!
Step 8: Gilding Method #2 – Random – Relaxed and Charming
Apply your paper shapes if using. With gloved hands, pick up a square of leaf near the corners. Place the leaf anywhere on the panel and gently pat the leaf onto the panel.
Step 9: Scattering Leaf
As you gild, you’ll find you have folds and wrinkles and that’s ok! Keep laying leaves at different angles till the panel is covered as much as you want. If you missed sizing any areas you want gilded, simply apply a little more size where you want, and allow about 15 minutes to get tacky.
Step 10: Press and Peel
Once the entire surface is covered, use a piece of tissue from your book of aluminum, rub the gilded surface to ensure each leaf has made full contact with the size, especially at your overlaps. If you missed sizing any areas, simply apply a little more where you want, and gild when tacky.
Use a soft, dry brush to do a final tamping and brushing away of excess leaf. Once you’ve cleared the panel of flakes, you can peel away your paper shape. Save those flakes or “skewings” for future gilding projects.
Step 11: Topcoat
Let your Imitation Silver panel to dry overnight, then brush on SGW acrylic clear coat to protect. When you get to your color shapes, brush topcoat from the center out to keep any tiny, stray of flakes of leaf out – unless you want them there! Allow the topcoat to dry overnight before packing or displaying.
Your gilded art is ready to dazzle your dorm mates – and reflect
your own fantastic style!