Monday, April 23, 2012

Not all that glitters is gold ...

Alright, here it is: my latest craft fail.

CRAFT FAIL, that is.
In all caps.

As you might have read here in this post about the redesign/tweaking of our master bathroom, the softer color scheme had me adding a gold framed mirror. The current mirror in our bath, however, is black. Nothing a little paint can change, right? While browsing the shelves at the local craft store, I ended up chatting with one of the employers who recommended I try the faux gold leaf instead of paint.

Now, I have used gold leaf before. REAL gold leaf. Lovely, 23K gold leaf with that unrivaled rich, warm, honey sweet glow of precious metal.
23K gold leaf that goes on like BUTTA.
Heck! Better than BUTTA!.

You see, I love medieval calligraphy and illumination aka medieval book illustration and was honored with several awards to boot for my creations. Gilding is the crowning glory of any manuscript and piece of art. It sounded so much better than using spray paint.

Home I went with a book of faux gold leaf.

Here it is: mod podge, faux gold leaf and a sponge brush. Not pictured is a soft make-up brush to brush off excess gold.

Gilding, whether it's done with the faux stuff or real gold, is surprisingly simple and straightforward. Eseentially it's gluing thin sheets of metal to another object (paper, etc.) and polishing it. It only gets tricky when you're using medieval recipes and techniques or, in this case, faux gold leaf. 

First you brush some glue on. I used Mod Podge and as far as glue is concerned, it worked really well. You want a thin layer of glue, just tacky enough for the gold to stick but not wet.

You cut off a piece of gold leaf using the transfer paper to hold it so it won't stick to your fingers. -Real- gold will stick to anything including itself, faux gold - not so much.

You lay it gently onto the sticky parts and smooth it against the surface.

Rinse and repeat.

I have gilded a bunch of artwork using real gold but I have always stayed away from the faux stuff. I don't know why I believed the employee but man, faux gold leaf still stinks.

Real gold leaf will literally melt against your skin or any other surface. It's powdery soft, once it touches anything but the transfer paper.
Faux gold leaf?
Well, I think it's best described as yellow aluminum foil. It went on all wrinkly and stiff and no amount of polishing (burnishing) would iron out those wrinkles. Gah! You could achieve the same effect covering everything in cheap aluminum foil and spray-painting the whole thing.


After grumbling over this CRAFT FAIL for a couple of days, I did what I should have done from the start (other than gilding my mirror with 23K gold leaf): I sanded the messy part and then spray-painted it with Krylon Gold spray paint.

So. Much. Better.

1 comment:

  1. I just wanted to tell you that I had this same idea for a large wooden mirror and reading your post was a BIG help!!!! Thank you!!!