Using Gold Leaf with a Stencil

I love the look of gold leaf in a design on a piece! I wasn’t able to find any tutorials at the time I was making these and so I went through some trial and error but can now share with you what to do—and not do!

I found the best success by using the crumbled bits of foil versus the sheets. The sheets did not really complete the whole design as well.

So for this project you’ll need

  1. Package of crumbled foil
  2. Gold leaf adhesive
  3. Polyacrylic clear coat in the finish you want
  4. Stencil
  5. Masking tape
  6. Rubber gloves (latex free if you have a latex allergy, of course!)

Lay your stencil out on the piece in the position you want and use masking tape to hold it in place.

Paint a thin layer of the adhesive over the stencil. The bottle will tell you how long to wait, but you’re waiting until the adhesive it tacky and sticky to the touch. For me that was about fifteen minutes.

Put on your rubber gloves (if you touch gold leaf the oils from your hands will affect the gold leaf so you want to wear gloves!) and grab a little clump of gold leaf. Lay it on the stencil and begin to press and roll the gold leaf until the entire stencil design is covered. Then you can sweep the rest of the clump into a Ziploc bag to use for the next project. Before you pull up the stencil, be absolutely sure that you got everything covered because it is always more difficult to realign it again.

In previous projects I had stopped at this point, but after some time has passed, my tabletops began to see wear and tear and even my gold leaf designs began to fade. That can be a cool look, but that wasn’t what I was going for with these projects so I touched up the paint as close to the gold leaf without going over it and then and used a layer of polyacrylic to seal the design and the table top.

The finished product!

The poly-acrylic I used was shinier than the original matte of the chalk paint, but I really like how the tables came out anyway and they are proving significantly more durable which is fantastic!


Did you try this project? Have any questions? Tell me about it in the comments!

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