About a month or so ago, I had the opportunity to attend a DIY workshop with Amy Howard and Ace Hardware. If you are not familiar with Amy, you should be – she is one of the most creative and inspiring people I’ve ever met. She is a leading furniture restoration expert (with an amazing line of products available exclusively at Ace), and some truly incredible projects. On top of that, Amy is so warm, kind, + inviting that upon meeting her you feel as though you’ve made a new best friend. During the workshop, Amy walked us through several amazing projects – from a full kitchen remodel to a couch that she had painted with her one step paint (it looked like leather!). Upon leaving the workshop, I had the sense that anything is possible. That I could go home, paint my couch, buy lamps at the thrift store and restore them on my own… conquer the world, basically!
We made a few things during the workshop (including a pillow that’s on my couch – scroll all the way down to see it), but my favorite thing I learned is… how to gild. I love all things gold… and now I kind of want to make everything in my apartment gold using Amy’s gilding size + gold leaf. I decided to start with an old West Elm lacquer tray that I’ve had for several years. It was showing quite a bit of wear and tear (especially on the inside) and so I decided to gild the interior to make it a little more interesting. You can easily do this at home – either to spruce up a tray you already own – or to make for a lucky recipient as a holiday gift. The best part is that all of Amy’s products are available at Ace Hardware, so you can grab everything you need in one place.
- Lacquer Tray
- Amy Howard at Home One Step Paint in Ballet White
- Amy Howard at Home Gold Leaf Sheets
- Amy Howard at Home Gilding Size
- Amy Howard at Home Bright Idea Clear Furniture Lacquer
- Paint Brush
- Sponge Tip Applicator
- Steel Wool
I started by cleaning it and then painting the interior with a coat of Amy’s One Step Paint. As the tray is made out of a shiny material the paint helps the gilding hold on a bit better. It also covered up a few stains.
Cut the paint with water (50% water, 50% paint), and mix well.
Paint on a coat, and allow to dry.
Once the paint is fully dry, paint on a very thin coat of Gilding Size. Let it dry just a little bit (so that is tacky), and then begin pressing your sheets of gold leaf onto the size.
The best advice I can give you is not to be scared. Just keep adding more gold leaf. If the sheet breaks and you get a hole, just add a bit more gilding size and fill in the hole with more gold leaf. Don’t worry too much about texture as you will fix that later. And don’t be afraid to cut the sheets of leaf into smaller pieces to get into the corner (or cover the edges of the tray). It will get messy but you will be just fine.The important thing is to cover as much space as possible with gold leaf… and to press it on as firmly as possible.
Once you feel satisfied, allow it to dry. Don’t worry about it looking perfect – the imperfections here are what make it especially pretty.
Once the leaf/sizing is completely dry, take your steel wool and buff away any extra leaf… smoothing out any bumps and imperfections.
Dispose of any dust from the polishing… and wipe with a soft cloth. Then, to seal it all in and protect your new gilded finish, spray with a coat of clear lacquer. Make sure your space is well ventilated!!!
Allow to dry, and voila – your tray is complete!
What a pretty makeover!
Fun fact – see that white patterned pillow on my couch in the background? We made that during our workshop with Amy (all you need to do it is the one step paint and a stencil).
Created in Partnership with ACE Hardware.