Monday, March 19, 2012

Silver Leaf End Table Tutorial

Lately there has been a lot of silver leafing out there. I knew I wanted to try it but wasn't sure on what yet. One day I saw an ad on craigslist for a warehouse that sold furniture from foreclosed homes they had cleaned out, so I thought I'd check it out. I almost left with nothing, but on my way out I spotted this beauty.

I loved the shape of it but it needed a ton of work. It had previously been spray painted gold and had names carved in the top. To top it all off, someone had used some acrylic paint to hand paint some lady bugs on it, and this was clearly not the work of an adult. Since the end table wasn't wood, it wasn't a candidate for sanding off the raised lady bug and painting it. Normally, I would have passed on something like this, because even chalk paint couldn't save it. Luckily a light bulb came on in my head before I left with nothing- this would be perfect for silver leafing. It would cover up all the crazy stuff going on underneath.

So how do you silver leaf? Well I'm going to write my second tutorial ever so bear with me.

First of all you'll need supplies.

1. Silver leaf- You can buy this at crafts store or the Internet in thin sheets. I bought mine on eBay. I looked at my local Hobby Lobby and was unable to find any.

2. Adhesive- The brand of silver leafing you buy has a glue that is sold for this specific purpose. I had read somewhere that someone just used a spray glue so I opted for that because it was cheaper. It worked great!

3. Paint brush

4. Sealant of your choice, I used a clear Minwax water-based polycrylic

First, I primed my end table with a spray primer like Kilz.

After the primer dried, I applied one coat of cheap black spray paint. I wanted a darker color to show through on any cracks and crevices for an antique look.

Once your paint is dry you can officially start applying your silver leaf. I suggest starting with a flat surface first such as the top. Spray the glue adhesive on a small section. Then take your silver leaf sheet by grabbing the silver leaf liner and lightly press it down. The silver leaf is very delicate and rips easily if you grab it directly. Pull off the silver leaf liner.

Next is when your brush comes into play. Use your brush to gently push it down into place. Again the silver leaf is so delicate using your hands is out of the question. I overlapped my pieces and also applied ripped pieces, because I didn't want my end table to look like a whole bunch of squares put together. It's especially hard to get the silver leaf to stick into tiny little details and crevices, but I have read that some people use a wax product called Rub N' Buff to fill them in. Amazon sells it here if you want to check it out. I wanted it to have an authentic look, so I let a lot of the black paint show through for an aged feel.

The last step is just to seal and protect your beautiful new piece, so just apply whatever sealer you decided on. Let it dry, put the hardware back on, and enjoy!

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  1. Looks beautiful! Thank you for the tutorial, I am getting ready to cooper lead a nighstand as well, and I kind of put it to the side, because I have never done it, and didnt know where to start. Great job!

  2. Wow! It look fabulous! So Frenchy chic! Love it, Jenine!!

    xoxo laurie

  3. Visiting from Coastal Charm! It is hard to believe this is the same piece. I like to do leafing -- it really can give you neat effects. nice job.

  4. This really turned our beautiful! Thanks for the tutorial. I'm stopping by from Made by you Monday.

  5. Fantastic project! So glad I popped over to see what you are up to! xoxo, tracie

  6. it looks awesome! i silver leafed our bathroom mirror and i love the textured look it gives!

    1. I'd love to see your silver leafed bathroom mirror

  7. Gorgeous! I love the shine. Thanks for linking to my party.

  8. Very nice restyle! Thanks for taking the time to leave step bp step instructions, tutorials are very time consuming but your readers really appreciate the detail. Stop by for a blog visit I'm your newest follower :)

  9. Go you for making this! It looks amazing. I recently used silver leaf and I know the patience involved :-)

    It's a great look!

  10. this turned out terrific. I'm your newest follower.

  11. Looks great! Love how you have the darker spots showing.

  12. I love the finished look! Great tutorial! :)
    I would love for you to share this with my "Unveil Your Genius" Link party!

    Happy Weekend!

  13. That is STUNNING! What a wonderful transformation!!

  14. I'm so glad that people enjoyed the silver leafing. I plan on silver leafing my own nightstands and putting an antique glaze over it.

  15. LOVE IT!!!!! I just spray painted a mirror (frame) w/ silver spray paint. I love it. Hope you can check out my new website and tell me what you think!

    ~Julie (the redhead)

  16. I just LOVE this! Please add pictures of your nightstands! I'm thinking of doing a table like this and had no idea where to start. THANKS!

  17. Nice creation..!!i have just seen the Gold craft studio is also values the creation.and they are good in gold leafing process,silver leafing process and antique leafing process....and many more.

    you can find it all details on http:///

  18. Hi, I silver leafed the wood molding around my bathroom medicine chest, and it looked great until I brushed on the Minwax Polycrylic. Now it's a total mess - cloudy, milky looking. I sanded as instructed and applied a 2nd coat, thinking it would get better. But still looks horrible. Did you experience any milky looking problems with the Minwax? Any suggestions? Thanks very much.