Gold Leaf, is there a more intimidating craft supply? It's like sheets of spiderwebs, held together by drops of dew and when you put it on a surface, it practically melts like cotton candy on a toddler's fingers.
Still, it is gold leaf and who doesn't want to give it a try! So I broke down and got a package from Consumer Crafts. I wanted to give these terra cotta pots a rough, aged look and I actually achieved it. Plus, I learned a couple valuable lessons about working with gold leaf along the way.
Spray adhesive only works if you're going for a imperfect look-especially if it's wet.While researching supplies I'd need, most of the sites I visited mentioned using sizing - i.e. gold leaf adhesive. A few also mentioned using spray adhesive, some gave it time to almost completely dry
Since I was going for the imperfect look this worked for me, it added texture and a roughness to the project. Had I been wanting a mirror smooth finish I would have been very upset.
It really makes sense when you think about it, the sheets are so fragile a wet surface just rips them to bits and when you start running a brush over it the leaf actually blends with the adhesive.
Spray Adhesive will not give you consistent coverage.If you're completely covering a project you may be able to use spray adhesive but ONLY if you're letting it dry (until tacky to the touch) BEFORE you apply the gold leaf.
I sprayed a good 15 inches from my pots and still got some bubbles, so if you're going for a smooth finish, again skip the spray. If you want smooth, even coverage - USE SIZING!
Brush with caution.
So about halfway through the second pot I finally realized I was making a horrible mistake in brushing the gold leaf on the wet adhesive. I was trying to smooth it all out as best I could but ended up mixing the leaf with the glue. Ultimately it left little gold blobs which fit the project but I was still kicking myself for not being patient and the least letting the glue dry before I brushed off the excess gold leaf.
Seal your work!
I used a clear acrylic sealer to seal the pots - mindful not to spray the inside!
Sometimes I want to skip this step but really sealing your work is the most important one. If you worked for months on a dissertation you'd save it right? Sealing is saving your work. Plus, in this instance it helps the gold leaf SHINE, baby!
There are, I'm sure, a number of other tips for using gold leaf...we'll learn them next time!