Here are the steps for the leafing a picture frame from today’s Home and Family show on Hallmark:
Gold and silver leafing techniques have been around for centuries. Gold, silver and other metals are hammered into very thin sheets and then adhered to wood, metal or any other material. The process takes a delicate hand, but is not difficult and is a great way to dress up an old picture frame, vase or make your own gold leaf votives.
– Spray or brush leaf adhesive
– Metal leaf sheets
– Soft paint brush
– Base coat of paint (if desired)
– Polyurethane sealer
Make sure the surface that you are going to leaf is clean and dry. If it is a porous surface, like raw wood, make sure that you sand and seal it. If it’s something that is already painted, is glass, or metal – you’re good to go. For this piece I used an old banged up picture frame I had.
Due to the nature of leafing, you see a lot of the base material through the metal leaf. You can create some great effects this way. One of the most traditional is to have a color such as red showing through. If you want to go this route, paint your item the base color. Although, I have to say, seeing a beautifully stained wood through the leafing is just as nice.
Once you’re base coat is dry, you can apply your adhesive. You have two options – spray or brush. The spray is good for items with lots of nooks and crannies. It also has the benefit of being ready to work with a couple of minutes after you spray it on. Liquid adhesive that you brush on is good if you only want to leaf a part of an item. I used this technique in the scalloped picture frame at the top – applying the adhesive only to the area that I wanted to leaf. If you use this method, you do need to wait 20 minutes for the adhesive to set up and become tacky.
Now comes the delicate part. Carefully take one sheet of your metal leaf by the corners and lightly lift and float it over to your pieces. Line it up the best you can with the edge of your piece and lay it onto the adhesive. Once in place, press it lightly with the dry brush to make sure it adheres to the piece. Then delicately brush away any loose pieces. Repeat with another sheet of leaf as you make your way around the piece.
Don’t worry to much about it being perfect, you want some wrinkles and holes to give it character. Once you’ve finished, let the adhesive fully dry and seal the item with a clear coat of polyurethane for protection.