When I was out shopping for the upcoming Lucketts Spring Market last week, I was looking for artwork for my living room as well. I was really hoping for a pair of charming paintings, but I didn’t have any luck. I did find two vintage Currier & Ives prints, though. They were sweet farmhouse scenes and I thought they would work well with a new frame and mat. The frames they were in looked a little dated and didn’t showcase the prints very well.
This is what the frames looked like before. They were a bit dusty, so I cleaned them off to get them ready for the sizing.
When applying gold leaf, you need sizing, a brush to apply the sizing (I like a 1″ flat artist brush), gold leaf (or imitation gold leaf, like I’m using) and a fluffy brush to smooth down the leaf. Don’t try to use glue or ModPodge or something else for the sizing. You need sizing specifically for applying metal leaf.
Apply the sizing with a brush. It will look milky when applied, but will dry clear. Allow it to dry until tacky to the touch (about 30 minutes.) The tack will hold for several hours, but make sure you check the label.
Lay a piece of leaf onto the tacky sizing using a piece of tissue paper, which is in between each piece of gold leaf. You can also pick up leaf with static electricity created by rubbing the fluffy brush on your palm. The leaf is delicate, so the idea is to handle it as little as possible.
When applying gold leaf, it’s normal to get a few cracks here and there, especially when leafing something that has some detail to it (as most frames do.)
Take smaller pieces of leaf to fill in those cracks.
Rub the leafing into the cracks gently with your finger…
…and it’s amazing how those cracks just disappear.
The last step is to brush away all of the fly-away gold leaf pieces with the fluffy brush.
It’s a little messy, but the results are worth it!
The prints are so pretty, aren’t they? I’m not sure if they are hand colored engravings or just prints. Anyone know how to tell the difference?
Anyway, I cut a mat for each of them using my mat cutter (you can see a tutorial for that HERE.) At first, I intended to hang them in the living room and I gave that a try…
…but they just weren’t right in there. I decided to move them into the dining room, to flank the doorway to the home office.
Those walls have been blanked since I painted, so I was looking for something to hang there as well. These frames and prints suited the dining room better.
…and the gold leaf frames work well with Eulalie and her gold leaf frame, which was an $11.00 clearance frame from Hobby Lobby that was a pink, pickled-looking wood finish. It was the perfect size, so I just gold leafed it to make it suit a cow as special as Eulalie.
Back at the studio…it’s Christmas in April again! I’m working on another round of HGTV.com tutorials for Christmas. A flocked tree is being delivered tomorrow for the occasion…