Who doesn’t love a little shine? With this super easy gold leafing technique, you can make everything in your life golden (or, at least, a motivational quote for your desk).
- Yellow/Gold Marker (for base drawing)
- Brush (recommended size will vary depending on your design)
- Acrylic or Water-Based Gilding Size (oil-based will bleed into the paper and doesn’t work on porous surfaces)
- Metallic Gold Leaf
- Large Makeup Brush (or other soft-bristle brush)
- Stiff Brush (a regular brush hardened with glue works great!)
1. Start by drawing out the design you would like on cardstock, with a yellow or gold marker. Basically, you want to be sure that the marker color won’t show through the gold leaf. You can also download the "Stay Golden" design we're using in this tutorial below.
2. Paint over your drawing with acrylic or water-based gilding size. Go slowly here: the size has to ‘set’ which usually takes about 15-20 minutes. You don’t have to rush the clock! Take your time to make sure you are accurately painting over your original design, so the gold leaf will look nice and clean.
3. Let the gilding size dry. I know this seems counter-intuitive, but the gold leaf sticks best to a slightly tacky surface, and this naturally occurs with the gilding size after about 15-20 minutes.
4. Once the gilding size is tacky (but not wet), carefully place a piece of gold leaf over the top of the design. If your design is large, this may require a few sheets. It’s good to overlap them a little so that you won’t see the seams in your final piece (the gold leaf blends together fairly well). Use the makeup brush at this stage to ‘pat down’ the gold leaf, and control where the sheets fall.
5. Once the design is completely covered with flattened gold leaf, use a stiff-bristled brush to rub across the gold leaf. You may have to rub the surface for a moment, or do a few passes, but eventually only the areas painted with gilding size will remain.
Et voilà! A gorgeous gold-leafed image. Try out different metallics too: you can get metallic leafs in copper, silver, and even multi-color.
- You can essentially apply this gold leaf technique on anything because it is so opaque. If you want to do a less porous surface (like glass), try using oil-based gilding size for best results. Always test the surface you want to work with first, and follow all instructions on the gilding size bottle.
- If you prefer to gild over a digital design, print it in a very light grey on smooth white cardstock for best results.
Framed quotes, monograms, signage, even envelopes (if you’re feelin’ fancy!)