How to: Make a gilded lamp
Before the DIY
- Secondhand lamp
- Foam brush
- Gilder’s size
- Gilder’s tip
- Gold leaf booklet
- Soft bristle brush
- Protective sealer
- Antiquing glaze (optional)
- Satin sealer (optional)
1 Clean and lightly sand the table lamp surface.
2 Use a foam brush to apply an even coat of gilder’s size, an adhesive that will make the sheets of gold leaf stick to the surface (we recommend Old World Art adhesive size). Allow the size to cure for about one hour.
3 Use a small, flat, soft bristle brush called a gilder’s tip to pick up a piece of leaf from the booklet. Avoid handling the leaf with your fingers, as it may tarnish and tear.
TIP Before picking up the gold leaf, add a dab of petroleum jelly to your wrist and pass the gilder’s tip over it. That makes it easier to pick up the delicate leaf without tearing it.
4 Apply the sheet of leaf to the lamp’s surface and use the gilder’s tip to gently smooth out any wrinkles, working from the centre out to the edges. Continue in this manner, overlapping the leaves as little as possible, until the entire surface is covered.
5 When complete, gently rub or burnish the entire surface with a dry soft bristle brush to ensure complete adhesion and to remove excess leaves.
6 Apply leaves to any bare spots that result from burnishing or lack of sufficient sizing.
7 To protect imitation gold leaf from tarnishing or oxidizing, apply a coat of protective sealer.
8 The last, and optional, step is to rub antiquing glaze over the lamp with a foam brush to give the lamp an old world look. Then apply a coat of satin sealer and let dry.