Faux Gold Leaf…It’s A Sign

Vintage Grocery Sign Completed Gold LogoThe other morning I woke up dreaming about how to make my own gold leaf for little to no $$$. What, that’s not a thing? Doesn’t everyone wake up dreaming about DIY projects? I had been working on a vintage GROCERY sign and had decided it needed more pizzazz than what a plain cream background could provide. So, I thought that since gold leafing

Paris Inspired Gold Leaf Table Top clear coatwas simply some hammered paper-thin gold sheets that you glued on the surface,

Applying Gold Leaf to Paris Tablewhy not use glued, thin textured paper that you painted gold? I know it’s not 24K…I mean, after all, I’m not going to be wearing the darned thing, so I am pretty sure that its OK for a wood sign, am I right? For those of you not familiar with “gold-leafing”, suffice to say that it has been used for gilding and decorating for centuries…click here for a little Wikipedia history lesson.

So I grabbed this antique oak dresser panel

Vintage Grocery Sign Dresser Side Panel(yes, this is the side panel from a vintage oak dresser that was beyond repair…I broke it down and am using the wood and salvaged pieces) and began the sign-making process. Here is the How-I-Did-It:

I cleaned the panel, then rubbed it down with some steel wool just to remove any surface stickies and smooth it out.

Vintage Grocery Sign Cleaning Old Frame with Steel WoolThere were two little dowels that were protruding from one end-they had attached the panel to the top of the dresser in its original form. I was in the kitchen so I didn’t want to drag out the power saw- enter the Ginsu Knife!

Vintage Grocery Sign Ginsu Knife CuttingThe ad says “cuts through a log, and then slices pineapple perfectly”. Well, I didn’t slice any fruit with it after I sliced off the dowels, but it worked great!

Refreshed the entire oak frame areas with some General Finishes Antique Oak Stain.

Vintage Grocery Sign General Finishes Antique Oak StainPainted the inside of the frame with a coat of chalk paint to lighten it up and create a bonding surface for the glue.

DecoArts Americana Chalky Paint PrimitiveCut out two pieces of wrapping tissue- this was in a gift box I saved from Christmas-so it was free!! But you can buy a whole package of it at the dollar store for well, $1. The thinner and cheaper, the better.

Vintage Grocery Sign Tissue Paper Cut To SizeSpread “Wunda Size”, a water-based glue which I use for all of my paper-adhesion projects…

Vintage Grocery Sign Wunda Size Glue…all over the surface-my original intent was to do 1/2 at a time, but the bottle spilled out a little more than I needed.

Vintage Grocery Sign Spilled GlueSo I scooped up what I could save (this stuff is like liquid gold…every drop counts!) and spread the rest out across the entire surface. Waited about 10 minutes until the surface was tacky and sticky (NOT dried!) Remember, wherever you put the glue, that is where the paper is going to stick! You can use any type of glue-even watered-down school glue- for this, but I would not use a “Modge-Podge” type product, as I think it would be too thick.

Laid the tissue down onto the tacky surface, beginning at the corners and then working along, smoothing it with my fingertips as I moved down the length of the board.

Vintage Grocery Sign Smoothing TissueIt is OK to have the creases and wrinkles, that’s what gives it the gold leaf appearance. (this stuff is really sticky-thankfully it washes off with water!)

Vintage Grocery Sign Sticky FingersI used two pieces, so there was a seam down the middle, but I just tore off the edge of the overlap piece and then smoothed it down.

Vintage Grocery Sign Tearing Tissue along edgeNow, tissue paper is not quite as fragile as real gold leafing, so I had a few seconds to reposition and move the paper until it was properly placed. However, once it touches the glue, you cannot slide it or it will tear-just lift it and move it along. But if it does tear, just smooth it back down with your fingertips and keep going. That is part of the look you are trying to achieve anyway. Once I was finished smoothing, I allowed it to dry completely-about an hour.

Vintage Grocery Sign Drying Tissue Paper with GluePainted with two coats of this gold paint

intage Grocery Sign Gold Metallic Paintyou could use any gold paint you have on hand-as long as it is metallic. I found this one in a mark down bin at AC Moore for like, 50 cents. As the paint went on, it enhanced the wrinkly surface, creating the veining effect of real gold leaf.

Vintage Grocery Sign Gold PaintFinally, using a stencil,

Vintage Grocery Sign StencilsI spelled out GROCERY,

Vintage Grocery Sign Gold Leaf Closeupthen painted it free-hand with some black chalkboard paint. See how pretty the black lettering looks against the glowing gold?

Vintage Grocery Sign Stenciled and PaintedFinished with a coat of spray matte acrylic sealer.

Krylon Matte FinishAdded two vintage hooks for hanging. Done. But this one’s not staying in my kitchen…

Vintage Grocery Sign in Window…it is just one of the many projects I’m bringing up to the Barn at Todd Farm this weekend! The total cost for this project? Zero. Zip. Nada. (well, except for my very valuable time and expertise : ) Everything I used I had on hand. If I had to purchase a large package of gold leafing, enough to cover this project, it would have cost a pretty penny (hmmm, now that I have this leafing thing down, I could definitely try coppering something, or even faux leathering…) So there you have it…gold leafing on the cheap. And speaking of gold, its Oscar weekend! Hope your favorite movie wins! Susan

Comments

  1. This came out so nice Sue! Great job.

    Like

  2. Always wonder how people get their ideas………..experience it seems 😉 Really really so thinking out of the box. Love it……..
    Share on Pinterest.

    Greetings from South Africa

    Like

  3. If I lived any where near The Barn at Todd Farm I would be the first in line to buy this sign . Ty for sharing.

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  4. You are amazing!! So beautiful!

    Like

  5. Excellent job! I loVe how that turned out

    Like

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