Silver/gold leafing

So much harder than I thought

Who knew that silver leafing would be so difficult & fiddly?  

Having just had the wonderfully named Steve Painter, our local decorator in to paint the day room, I decided to give a few upcycled pieces in the room a face lift too.

Previously when I have changed the frames of mirrors, I have either used Ruff 'un Buff or used emulsion paint.

The day room was once a double garage, but when our children were in their teens, we thought it was a good idea to convert it into another living room so that they could have their friends around & be away from "the parents". However, by the time it was complete, they were far too "cool" to want to be anywhere around us.

I digress, so, the day room became my sitting room.  The room in which the Sky box has nothing but crime programmes on record, football never on, where the hounds & I have to share the sofas & the radiators are either off or low whatever the weather (being a lady of a certain age).

The last time I decorated it, Hubby was away. I told him on the phone that I was going to paint the short wall gold. The wall that was then blue. He didn't even know we had a blue wall so I decided that as his observation skills were pretty much nil, I could  do what I wanted. I have continued to paint anything I feel like in any colour that takes my fancy since as he’s obviously colour blind.

So after the wonderfully named Steve Painter had painted the day room white from top to bottom, I decided that the theme would move from gold & cream to silver & white. My short wall would now be silver.

I have previously posted about the transformation of an old sideboard I bought at auction that was a horrible dirty brown that I cleaned up, painted & used as a cupboard to place the TV on. Well that got a facelift & went from the cream & gold to white & silver.

When it arrived

When it arrived

1st make over

1st make over

3rd look

3rd look

 with that done & the once unnoticed blue wall, that went to gold, now that had a coat or two of silver.

The final job was to have a go at applying silver leaf to the mirror.

It was one that a friend had given to me years ago & the frame was made of wood, but coloured gold. I had previously painted it cream & gently rubbed with sand paper to give a distressed look. I now wanted it to be silver.

Rather than just painting it with the silver emulsion that I had used on the walls, I thought I’d try to silver leaf it! I have ideas far above my station. It is hard, really hard.

I first sanded it gently, then applied a coat of the white chalk paint I had used on the unit. I let that dry for a day & the next day attempted the silver leafing.

I started by applying a thin coat of PVA glue over the frame. I’d watched a few YouTube videos & they advised to ensure the adhesive was almost dry before you attempt to apply the leaf.

Patience has never been of virtue of mine alas. I probably should have let it dry a little longer. Anyway, in for a penny etc.

I didn’t buy proper silver leaf, I bought the cheaper version, but the handling is the same I understand. If you have ever tried, you’ll know that the slightest breath of air will send the leaf flying away!

Anyway, I start to lift each leaf with a brush I bought that was advertised as for this purpose. The 1st leaf flew every where as I had a window open. Take 2. All doors & windows closed, hounds told to hold their breath, me trying not to breath or cough, the second leaf gets lifted & placed delicately on the now almost dry PVA glue.

Cut a long story short. Some glue had dried so much, the leaf didn’t stick, some glue was so wet, when I tried to buff it later, the leaf came off. It was not one of my more successful attempts of acquiring a new craft skill.

That said, the patchy appearance with the white background gives the frame a distressed look that I am now quite fond of.

If you attempt silver leafing, good luck & if you are after a perfect finish, my advice would be to practice lots

Close up of the end result

Close up of the end result

The completed room

All done, just need to replace the rug now.

All done, just need to replace the rug now.