Monday, January 11, 2016

DIY Gold Leaf Art

I used to write a series called DIY to Try and forgot to keep going with it, I should have. It was a roundup of decor I spied in catalogs or on retail sites that I would suggest you could DIY for less adding your own spin on it. I took up the challenge myself with two pieces of art I recently completed for my living room.

I keep it pretty classic in this space, mixing in traditional furniture like wingback chairs and a baby grand piano with more contemporary pieces and textiles. I do the same with art, mix classic with contemporary or in this case illustrations with abstracts.

diy gold leaf art


Sometimes I see art online that I really like like these examples at Williams Sonoma Home. But then I choke, clutching my throat, when my eyeballs spy the price.


jet set 2



jet set / dripped


Recently I fell in love with these two pieces, also from Williams Sonoma Home, but again, the price *cough cough* OUCH.


sunburst printseagrass / sunburst

And then I get these ideas like hmmmm… I really like those but I bet I could recreate something similar for much less. So I gave it a shot and I’m pleased with how they both turned out. The attempt to recreate a version of “golden seagrass” was more complicated and the result looks more like a funny little cactus to me but I still like it. :) The sunburst was really simple!

 gold leaf artwork


I used two plain 18 x 24” canvases and gold leaf art supplies found at Michaels. (Gold leaf sheets with adhesive, and gold leafing pens). I prepped the canvases with gesso, I don’t always but if parts of the white background will show through the gesso gives it a smooth white surface to work with.

 gesso canvas

The first abstractish seagrass/cactus artwork was created with sheets of gold leaf, but first I sketched a random version on the canvas in pencil then painted in between with gold leaf adhesive. No I’m not left handed just a poser with that pencil.

 gold leaf art steps

You have to wait 10-20 minutes for the adhesive to get sticky, while I did I cut the gold leaf sheets in strips to apply to the canvas.

 layer leaf

After about 2 hours I slowly peeled back the gold leaf paper backing to reveal the artwork. I think this is a really cool way to create a silhouette on canvas of something using sheets of gold leaf.

gold leaf art frame

I’ll note here that I made two wooden frames for the canvases with 1 ½” birch strips I bought at Lowes, cut with a miter box to make a frame. I spray painted them gold but didn’t use primer so the frame looks more like stained wood instead of gold paint since it soaked into the wood, that’s me being lazy and skipping the primer step but it looks like golden amberish wood up close.

I like to frame canvases in wood whether store bought or an original piece of art, it’s easy to do, I featured another example here. The starburst art was really so simple, I knew I was hanging mine horizontal not vertical so I purposefully made it off center, then used gold leafing pens and a ruler to make the rays.

gold leafing pens

   making starburst

  starburst art


I like the way the two pieces of DIY art mix with the two other framed pieces, one is an illustration we bought at Sagrada Familia 13 years ago on a trip to Barcelona (lower left) and I finally framed it, and the black floral in the upper right is from Etsy.

 gold leaf art display

You may have noticed the new gold leaf and glass console table! I replaced it last fall and failed to share… well I am now. I featured the table in a roundup back in September and loved it so much I ordered it for myself. The table is unavailable now but this is a similar one by the same company.

I hope you’re all inspired to try some DIY art of your own, it doesn’t have to be perfect and it’s even cooler when it’s unique to you!


No comments:

Post a Comment