All That Glitters Is Gold, Silver and Copper Leaf

Gilding is the traditional technique of applying thin sheets of gold, silver or copper to a painted surface.

I have gilded a number of ceilings using gold leaf –





This last room of mine was featured in a recently published book, Designer Faux Finishing, Ideas and Inspiration for Sophisticated Sufaces, by Victor DeMasi


The before photo…dsc_11400012-desktop-resolution

My present favorite is silver leaf over brown.  Here it is, in the middle, squashed between the copper leaf and the gold leaf sample-


I used the Caromal Colours Gilding Kit to create these trim samples.   This kit is nice because a) it includes everything you need – a basecoat, sticky size, leaf, toner, stir stick, chip brush, gloves and b) its basecoat sticks to almost anything including previously painted surfaces, wood, metal, plastic, bricks , even concrete.     So you might not tackle a big ceiling project, but you easily could gild outdated picture frames, mirrors, accessories, chandeliers, furniture, niches,medallions, trimwork, even eggs and pumpkins!


Gilded and Stenciled Pumpkins  Country Living Magazine

Gilded and Stenciled Pumpkins Country Living Magazine

Silver Leaf Table     SweetPeaAndWillow.Com

Silver Leaf Table SweetPeaAndWillow.Com

Barbara Barry Gold Leaf Cabinet for Baker

Barbara Barry Gold Leaf Cabinet for Baker

Old chrome and brass bathroom hardware, Silver Leafed   Fabulous Finishes,Inc

My old chrome and brass bathroom hardware, Silver Leafed, Fabulous Finishes,Inc

Really, the possibilities are endless (watch out Bruno!!)   I will be hosting a Spring Gilded Eggs Workshop on Tuesday March 31st from 7-9pm at my studio in Shelby Township, Michigan.  You will learn, hands on, the technique of gilding, using your own, pre-purchased Caromal Colours Gilding Kit.  (kit includes 25 sheets gold leaf, 25 sheets silver leaf, 25 sheets copper leaf, chocolate basecoat, sticky size, toner, stir stick, chip brush, and gloves).   Take home your gilded eggs, your gilding kit (which will go a long way) and the knowlege and ability to create spectacular finishes!   For more information


17 responses to “All That Glitters Is Gold, Silver and Copper Leaf

  1. I just keep looking and looking and looking at those leafed eggs. Then I drove my butt to Hobby Lobby and bought myself a paper mache bunny and egg tonight to try it on. I was considering using 777 spray as my adhesive… have you ever tried that?

    I MUST try these Caromel products….

    Did you do both gold and silver leaf on that ceiling? My very first faux job EVER was gold leafing a ceiling for practically no money. Boy did I learn that lesson quick!

    So beautiful!

  2. i have the 777 that I’ve used on stencils b4 – wouldn’t be my first choice for gilding – may end up giving you a bumpy, pimpled look (sometimes those adhesive sprays dont lay down smooth).

    I love those pumpkins too – cant wait to try those, and add the polka dots, etc as well!

    Wunda size would be equivalent –

    no all the ceilings were in gold leaf only. the first 2 i left some of the basecoat showing through, and to both i applied a glaze over to age… Nope, certainly DONT want to do it for no money – its not a simple task – ceilings are AWESOME when they are finished, but they are a real bitch to do… after you do a couple you don’t feel bad charging for it.

  3. Wow, love the ceilings!! That is one job I haven’t done yet is to gild a ceiling.


  4. Wow! your work is inspiring.
    How did you get that silver leaf table to look so finished and smooth.
    I just love every piece of your work.
    I have an event management company and we also do weddings. Our weddings are typically very elaborate and rich in colors and finishes. I hope to use this technique somehow!..we don’t have a hobby lobby in this part of the world:( will hunt the markets!
    Good luck! you seem immensely talented.

  5. Thank you! The table photo I showed was from You smooth the leaf out after you apply it to the size, with a soft brush or cloth. Could use this technique very much in wedding events… oh the possibilities!

  6. Dear Sir/Madame,
    I am intrested into purchesing real gold leaf paint for celinig therefore i need to know what are your prices for this colour.
    Should you have any further enquires please do not hesitate to contact me at 020 7792 5767 or e-mail me at
    Many thanks in anticipation.

  7. I am in the process of silver leafing a chester drawer piece of funitire in my bedroom. I’d like to put a brown glaze over the silver leafing but unsure when to use the spray sealer. Do I use the sealer before or after the glaze? I’m a newbie at this so I’m still learning the ropes.



    • I’ve done it both ways, but the preferred method of choice is to apply the leaf, burnish it, apply sealer, let dry then apply glaze or stain or toner. This will prevent tarnishing.

      You could apply leaf, burnish it, apply a glaze/stain/toner, then topcoat, but you might get some oxidizing of the leaf over time. It’s all a matter of personal choice, both ways are beautiful!

  8. Hello Patty and kids,
    Love your site.
    I have been teaching gold leaf to create halos on Russian Orthodox Icons for years now at St. Michael’s and All Angels church here in Albuquerque, NM. We use only natural ingredients to apply the leaf to the gesso-ed boards. The process is that we mix rabbit glue (commercially made now not from rabbits) mixed with Russian vodka. Mix 1 drop of rabbit glue to 10 drops of vodka. Lightly brush on the glue to any surface and wait just a few minutes for it to get tacky to the touch.
    When you blow your breath on the surface it warms and humidifies the surface and the gold will stick to the glue/vodka mix. You have to re-apply the glue mixture to make the gold or copper leaf stick if the glue is allowed to dry overnight. You can use artificial substitutes for the copper or gold leaf. We get ours from
    This process would work for small projects but I don’t think I would attempt this process for a whole ceiling. Wow what a wonderful look.
    John T

    • Hi John,

      It was so interesting reading your post – I’d never heard of rabbit glue before, or that method of gilding. Is Russian vodka specifically used because you are gilding Russian Orthodox Icons or is that just coincidental? I think if I did a whole ceiling using your ‘size’ method I’d probably be intoxicated from the smell 🙂

      I’d love to see photos of your work – do you have any you’d be willing to share?

  9. How did you get the mottled look on the trim pieces above?

    • you apply the leaf in small sections, not smacking a whole sheet down at once – that way you will have peeks of your basecoat coming through

      • To get the mottled look, Is the sizing applied in a solid coat, or sponged to help leave bare spots? I was thinking it might be sticky if the leaf didn’t cover all the sizing.

  10. Hi, The sticky size is applied evenly, but the foil is applied in little pieces instead of a whole sheet. 🙂

  11. How much do you charge for a gilded ceiling? I have a client interested in haven’t completed a ceiling before

    • Hi Mae, Gilding a ceiling is a huge undertaking with SO many variables. You will have to figure out your time,product cost & what it’s worth for you to do it. In the past i have doubled my $ rate for ceilings as they can be a real pain, I don’t do wall finishes anymore, gilding furniture pieces is a project in itself…..though the outcome is always beautiful :). Good Luck

      On Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 9:52 AM, Fabulously Finished wrote:


  12. Dennie Garwitz

    Your gold ceiling is so beautiful. I would not have believed it if I hadn’t seen it on here. I’m thinking your arms were in much pain after doing this. I have to commend you on this. It’s beautiful.

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