Cover an ordinary glass candle holder with gold leaf to give your candles an even warmer glow. This is the perfect sweater weather project as the days are becoming cooler and noticeably shorter where I’m at. At this small size they’re a great warm up for using gold leaf in your projects, too.
– glass votive holders (these are from IKEA)
– brush that you’re willing to use with glue
– gold leaf – this is imitation gold, any color of leaf will work
– leafing size (this is a specialized glue that works with metal leaf)
– leafing sealer (I used this brush on but if I was doing it again I would probably try clear spray seal)
– waxed paper
– newspaper to cover work surface
– rotary cutter and/or scissors
I used this kit: Speedball Composition Gold Leaf Kit, and this project only takes 1-2 sheets out of 25. At this point it appears I’ll have size left over after I use up the leaf, so I will just buy another pack of leaf next time instead of another whole kit.
Leafing will always look somewhat imperfect/aged, that’s the character of the method. If you want a perfect shiny metal finish just use metallic spray paint.
Wash your glass thoroughly – any dirt or grease will prevent adhesion.
Brush a layer of size where you want leaf to go and let dry until tacky. My jar specified one hour and that worked great for me. See the bubbles in this picture? You don’t want those. Brush them out or blow on them so they pop.
Cut the leaf into manageable pieces. I found a rotary cutter and scissors to be my best tools for this, but slide the leaf away from the stack before using the rotary on it.
Waxed paper is a great leaf magnet. If you cut a small piece and lay it over the leaf you want to pick up it will lightly stick, and you can hold the waxed paper to move it around. I set the votive holder right onto the leaf in this picture and used the waxed paper to stick it into place.
Keep adding leaf until all of the size is covered. Burnish it thoroughly with your fingers over waxed paper (to reduce the amount of oil on the leaf before sealing.)
Brush any loose leaf off. I collected the scraps up into a little paper envelope to use in other projects.
Brush or spray a coat of sealer over the leaf to prevent it from discoloring and oxidizing. Let that seal dry completely before using them with candle (wet sealer may be a little flammable.)
Never leave candles unattended. Kids and pets are notorious for burning down homes, but curtains and upholstered furniture try to get in on the action, too. Electric/LED faux candles are a great alternative, especially if you know you’re in a high-risk environment.