Using my Metallic Loose Leaf (available in Imitation Gold, Silver, and Copper) is one of the easiest ways to incorporate some extra glitz and glamour into your home and take your painting projects up a notch. This is very much a beginner skill level technique, all you need is the right tools and to watch this video!
I have three different colours of Metallic Leaf, Imitation Gold, Imitation Silver, and Copper. All three colours are available as Loose Leaf (best for small or carved areas) or Transfer Leaf (better for large or flat areas). The leaf is 5-inch x 5-inch and comes in booklets of 20 sheets. You can purchase a pack through my website or Stockist network.
The Imitation Gold is made using brass. Imitation Silver Leaf is actually aluminium. Copper, being the most affordable of the three precious metals, is actual copper. Each book contains 20 leaf of Metallic Leaf between two sheets of tissue. The tissue keeps the Metallic Leaf from sticking. The sheets of metal are so thin they can affix to any damp or moist areas; for this reason I use talcum powder when I’m handling the leaf itself to prevent it from sticking to my fingers.
Step by step guide to applying Loose Leaf to carved furniture
- Paint your furniture using Chalk Paint®. Here, Annie used Chalk Paint® in Primer Red. You can use Metallic Leaf on unpainted furniture, but the textured, matt finish of Chalk Paint® does make an ideal surface for gilding. Furthermore, if there are any tears once you’ve applied the Loose Leaf, you’ll be able to see the base peeking through and you may prefer this to be painted.
- Apply Gold Size to the area you want to Gild. The Gold Size is your binding agent; “size” is simply an Old English word for glue. Pro tip: immediately put brushes used with Gold Size to soak as if the Gold Size is allowed to dry it’ll be VERY hard to clean!
- Wait for the Gold Size to dry down to optimal stickiness. This is key; applying Leaf too soon will cause it to slip. When you apply Gold Size it’ll look white with a blue or purple tinge; as it dries it will become see-through. This takes around 15 minutes (the perfect amount of time to wash your brush!). Once the Gold Size is see-through, it’s ready for you to apply your Leaf!
- Pick up your Metallic Leaf. If your hands are dry you can do this directly; if you have oily hands you can do so by holding the tissue paper the Leaf is affixed to. Gently lay your Imitation Gold, Silver or Copper Leaf over the Gold Size.
- Use a dabbing motion to push the Leaf against the Size. Be firm so that you cover every crevice. Tear off any excess Leaf which isn’t touching the Gold Size; if you’re able to do this neatly and lay the spare bits back onto tissue paper you can still use them.
- Protect your Gilding with Chalk Paint® Wax or Lacquer. Here, Annie has used Clear Chalk Paint® Wax. As well as protecting gilding from everyday wear, scratches, and tarnishing, Clear Chalk Paint® Wax has the added benefit of knocking back the shine of the Imitation Gold Leaf and giving a more authentically golden dimmed lustre. Alternatively, you may prefer to emphasise the shine by using Annie Sloans’ Gloss Chalk Paint® Lacquer.
- Annie is demonstrating here with Clear Chalk Paint® Wax, which she is applying with a lint-free cotton cloth. Clear Chalk Paint® Wax complements the rustic look she’s going for and will allow for the application of coloured Waxes afterwards. The cloth application method allows Annie to be more gentle with her delicate gilding than a Wax Brush might. Recently applied unprotected gilding will be delicate so if you’re using Gloss or Matt Chalk Paint® Lacquer please be sure to use a small brush and gentle pressure (or even a small roller for larger areas).
- (Optional step!) Using Dark Chalk Paint® Wax to emphasize detailing. Here, Annie is applying Dark Chalk Paint® Wax over Clear Chalk Paint® Wax. The coat of Clear Chalk Paint® Wax ensures optimal protection and primes the Gold Leaf so that Annie can be more firm rubbing the Dark Wax into the crevices of the furniture. It also makes it very easy to wipe away excess Dark Wax in case of over-application, so that it serves as a decorative rather than functional sealant.
- (Optional step!) photograph your work and share with friends, family, and the wider Chalk Paint® community by using #anniesloanhome hashtags. We love seeing what you paint and your work may even be shared on our social media channels or in our newsletter!