Try this gold leaf project for Valentine’s Day! I was excited to make these hearts for Valentine’s Day using gold leaf because I’d only used gold leaf once, and I knew that I hadn’t done it correctly. These beautiful decorative hearts started with clear glass heart-shaped ornaments, and through the process of gilding, they have been transformed into gold leaf covered hearts in different metallic hues. You will learn how to make them, yourself, in this post.
Let’s Start With the Terminology
First, I want to clear up some terminology because I had been using words in this process incorrectly. I thought that the proper term for what I was doing in this project was “gold leafing”, but, in fact, the correct term is “gilding”. Gilding is the process of applying gold leaf to an object made with other materials. “Gold leaf” is a very thin sheet of gold that is used to make the gilding. So, a correct and true statement would be: We are going to be gilding glass hearts using gold leaf.
In researching this project (yes, I frequently research the projects and materials I plan to use), I found that the most commonly used gold in gilding is 22-karat gold. They hammer the gold into thin sheets by goldbeating. Reading this definitely piqued my interest. What in the world is goldbeating?
Goldbeating sounds kind of aggressive, doesn’t it? The process is basically this: the gold is rolled into a ribbon and cut into squares. Then the ribbons are placed between sheets of heavy paper and enclosed in a sheepskin. After this, there is a lot of repeated hammering, and finally the delicate sheets are put in book form between sheets of paper.
What You Will Need
Now that I’ve given a very brief description of how the sheets of gold leaf are made, I will move on with the tutorial. I found that gold was not my only color option, when looking on Amazon. They sell these sheets in basically any color.
I purchased the gold foil sheets in a pack with 6 different colors, and I also purchased a very basic kit that included an adhesive, a varnish and 2 brushes. That’s all I really needed for this project, but I noticed that I can use gold leaf with stencils and for a lot of other decorating projects, too.
I knew that I wanted to use the gold leaf on some type of hearts so that I could use them for Valentine’s Day. Absolutely, I am going to be using gold leaf for projects for every occasion I can think of, because not only do they look beautiful, but this technique is really fun to use!
Originally, my goal was to find glass hearts at Dollar Tree because I feel like I remember seeing them in past years, however they didn’t have any at my store this year. It worked out fine, though, because I found some really nice quality glass hearts at Amazon, and they weren’t expensive.
To make this project, you will need the following materials (simply click on the links to order them from Amazon):
I prepared this area for making the hearts by covering the table with some craft paper to protect the surface and also for easier clean-up. You could also use newspaper or cut open a paper grocery bag and lay it down. I also had an egg carton on the table to put the hearts in for drying.
- Clean the glass ornament with a small amount of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and a soft cloth. This will clean off any oil that may have gotten on the glass, just from touching it.
- Put your gloves on to protect your hands. Using a plastic cup, pour a small amount of the adhesive and a little bit of water in and mix them together. The packaging on my adhesive said to use 10-20% water.
- Coat the entire surface of the glass heart with the adhesive. You will want to give it a thin, even coating.
- Set heart aside to dry for about an hour, or until the adhesive is tacky but not wet. I used an egg carton and it worked perfectly because the carton did not stick to the adhesive.
- Lay one sheet of foil onto the heart and using your (gloved) hand, gently press it down and even it out the best you can. I actually liked the look of having some small areas of the glass heart not being completely covered with the foil, but you can cover it however you think it looks best. Also, you definitely don’t need this to be perfect. If some of it overlaps, it won’t hurt the overall look of the finished project. You also can move the foil to different areas of the heart that you are trying to cover. I used approximately 3 squares of foil for each of my hearts.
- Using a dry gilding brush, go over the surface of the gold and even out the coating, and brush off any of the gold that isn’t stuck down. You can also go back and replace any of the foil that has flaked off in areas that you still want to cover.
- Using a clean or new plastic cup, pour in a small amount of the varnish. The instructions on my kit were not clear on exactly how much water to add, so I just added a very small amount of water and mixed it up in the cup. Then, using a clean brush, I spread the varnish all over the surface of the heart. This will protect the gold from flaking off and will also prevent the metal from tarnishing.
- Place the hearts in your egg carton and allow to completely dry. I left mine to dry overnight.
IF YOU PREFER TO LEARN BY WATCHING…
Take a look at my YouTube tutorial:
When my hearts were all finished and dry, I put them in a clear glass vase and put them on the table. They look so pretty, especially using the various colors of foils that came in my pack. You could also place them in a pretty bowl and set it on your coffee table or as a centerpiece on your dining room table. If your hearts are ornaments, such as the ones linked above from Amazon, you could hang them on a large houseplant or Ficus tree. That would look really pretty.
Another Fun Valentine’s Day Post with Tutorial
Try out another post (link below) which shows you how to make a Valentine’s Day wreath using pages from books. Take a look at it and let me know what you think!
I hope you will give this project a try. I khow you’ll be happy with the results. Thanks so much for stopping by my website and reading my words. Your support means everything to me! If you have any questions on these projects or suggestions for a future post, please leave them below in the comments section! See you next time!