A friend taught me how to gild last year and I have to say, it is not really something that I have since embraced. The last time I had a go, I got my husband to stand beside me with the vacuum cleaner on - I had decided it was a good idea to work beside an open door on a breezy day! Still, I do love a bit of hands on mess and when I clapped eyes on this sideboard in a local charity shop, for some reason I just saw gold legs. Yep - gold shiny blingy smack-you-in-the-face shouty loud gold legs! And I didn't want to use gold paint - it had to be gold leaf. You just don't get the shine or lustre with paint.
I had recently discovered this gorgeous off white and gold marbled wallpaper which has a wonderful sheen to the gold, and as I was desperate to use it again, the idea was formed. You simply cannot go wrong with navy and gold so I took to stripping and sanding the piece (urgh, the worst bit) and fortunately the legs came off as separate pieces so I could work on the body and the legs at the same time.
Coastal blue is probably one of my favourite GF colours. It can look so different depending on what else you mix with it. Sat next to this marbled paper, ooooh, I just adore it. So after painting my layers on and sealing everything with High Performance Top Coat in satin, I took to papering all the surfaces. The doors are beautifully curved and the top has such a delightful detailed edge. Further layers of top coat later and the main part was done. The original handles were mostly broken (and ugly) so these were replaced with new shiny brass knobs.
It has been VERY hot here in the UK for weeks, so I should point out that most of this work was done at around 4.30am before the sun became too hot. My workshop is in my garden so I've had to revert to nightshifts to ensure a good finish, but it is totally worth the extra effort.
The legs as you can see, are very detailed and once I began the gilding I did have a moment of 'why did you think this was a good idea?!'
Anyone who has gilded before will no doubt agree that curves and turns and bends are quite tricky! I decided to apply the size and leaf in my workshop and then brush it off outside....that was fun! My new neighbour's two black cats have become my unofficial apprentices and are never more than a few feet from my side when I am working. I smiled the whole time as I sat on the grass gently brushing away the gold leaf. In no time at all the lawn was all a sparkle as if it was Christmas. I was covered pretty much head to toe and the cats...well, they twinkled for days. It was bliss.
And when I put the piece back together, legs on, doors on, knobs on - then stood back to admire it, well I smiled again. I am so very proud of it and thrilled that it turned out even better than I had imagined. I hope you like it too.