A huge thank you to Speedball Art Products for sponsoring today’s post! As always, I am committed to only partnering with products and companies that I really truly love and I’m thrilled I had the chance to work with Speedball on this project! This post may contain affiliate links. Shop from your sofa and support The Gathered Home – win-win!
By now, regular readers of The Gathered Home will know exactly how I feel about gold leaf (and let’s not forget copper leaf). Our relationship started out a little rocky, but quickly progressed to friendship, and a total love affair…
West Elm knockoff pillow covers // Anthropologie knockoff giraffe trinket dish
So when Speedball Art Products asked if I would like to create a project using their Mona Lisa metal leaf products, I was all over it! I love when a sponsored post opportunity lines up so perfectly with my passions – I don’t have to try to find an angle or a way to shoe-horn it in and I can be completely authentic and true to my blog and to you guys! A metal leafing project is something I am always excited to create!
The pressure was on to dream up the perfect project! I knew the popular gold-leafed pillow covers I made last summer were going to be a hard act to follow…
But if you’ve seen the update I added to the post, you know the gold-leafed pillows didn’t hold up perfectly. I adored the look of metal leaf on fabric, but pillows that see constant use (ahem: someone in the household didn’t get the memo that they were supposed to be mainly decorative) might not be the best application.
So I decided that adding gold leaf accents to curtains would be a perfect way to combine metal leaf and a textile! Since curtains, at least, should be safe from being smushed, mushed and sat upon… Or at least one can hope!
- 1 pair of plain curtain panels – I picked up a pair of dark grey Merete curtains from Ikea for $30.
- Mona Lisa Simple Leaf – I chose to use gold leaf, but there are also options for copper, silver and several lovely variegated designs that could be great choices!
- Mona Lisa Spray Adhesive
- Mona Lisa Spray Sealer
- Painters tape or masking tape – I have used both kinds of tape in the past and didn’t see a big difference. I just used the kind I had on hand at the moment.
Iron your curtain panels. Wrinkles might interfere with your gold leaf design, so you want to start with a relatively smooth surface.
Using a simple tape-masking technique, you can creative tons of different designs on basic curtain panels for a completely glam, gorgeously customized pair of curtains! I decided to do a striped pattern with mine, since I thought it would compliment the grommet-top design well, but I think a diagonal pattern, vertical borders, or even a Greek key design would be stunning as well!
Start by finding an open floor space where you can lay out your curtain panel. I placed some scrap cardboard on my kitchen tiles and laid the first curtain panel out on it. Then I grabbed my tape and began to figure out spacing for my gold leaf stripes. (I started with two stripes in the beginning, but decided to add a third stripe later.) I used the width of my tape as a spacer for the second, thinner stripe.
Use paper towels (or scrap paper, etc.) to mask any areas you want to protect from the spray adhesive. I tucked them under the outside edge of my bottom strip of tape.
Time for the spray adhesive! Prior to this, I had only used the metal leaf adhesive that looks like white glue and that you apply with a brush. I can’t imagine how long it would have taken me to cover this kind of surface area with that!
Tip: I used a scrap of cardboard as a shield behind the top of the curtains to protect my tile and refrigerator from over-spray.
Follow the directions on the can for applying and allowing the adhesive to sit for a short period of time to get tacky. Here you can see the coat of adhesive on the top stripe:
Apply the metal leaf!
Here is where the Simple Leaf from Mona Lisa became my favorite thing in the history of ever…Each sheet of metal leaf is attached to a square of tissue paper. You simply grab the tissue paper square, turn it over, and set it down on your adhesive. Using a cloth to buff the tissue paper will transfer the metal leaf safely and securely to the adhesive, no mess, no fuss!
You guys, this was revolutionary for me! Sure, I love metal leaf, but heretofore (gosh, did I just get to use that word? yay!) it’s been quite a messy and inexact process, involving delicate sheets of metal leaf that tear easily, shreds flying through the air and sticking to my fingers, and lots of bare spots to patch up later. The Simple Leaf was so easy to apply that it almost felt like cheating!
In fact, it went on so smoothly and neatly that I actually went back over the sheet of gold leaf with my fingers to rub some of it away since I wanted a more distressed and crackled appearance.
For the second stripe, I discovered another awesome property of the Simple Leaf – the tissue paper backing makes it simple to cut the sheet down to the perfect size to avoid wasting any metal leaf. I cut each sheet into thirds and repeated the same process of buffing the tissue paper backing to apply it.
Here’s what everything looked like after I finished filling in both stripes and lightly distressing:
Allow your gold leaf design to sit for a while so the adhesive has time to dry before moving on to the spray sealer. Again, just follow the instructions on the can to seal the metal leafed areas. This protects the metal leaf from discoloration and tarnish over time, and I didn’t find that it stiffened the overall texture of the design too much. Just don’t spray it directly on the fabric, so keep your tape and paper towels in place while you apply it.
Step Six-Point-Two (the totally optional one)
After I got this far, and everything was dry from the previous steps, I decided that I wanted to add a third stripe to the curtains, so I used a piece of electrical tape to space out an even smaller stripe. So I actually just repeated steps two through six one more time. The extra taping and masking wouldn’t have been necessary if I had planned on the third stripe in the beginning.
Finally, time to peel off the tape…
Tip: If you notice any areas along the edge where pulling the tape up took a little gold leaf with it, you can apply a small amount of metal leaf adhesive with a brush and then “patch” it with little pieces of gold leaf.
After one more visit to the ironing board – careful not to iron over any of the metal leaf sections – the curtain panels were ready to hang!
This little “room” (completely open to the living room by way of a big doorway) was originally the dining room, but when the dining room moved to the back living area with the fireplace, we decided to treat this area as an extension of the living room. It holds our vintage folding teak bar and we envision it ending up as a lounge-y bar area.
For now, it’s hosting the yellow tufted chairs and a vintage brass coffee table I haven’t quite brought myself to part with yet, but you know me and my approach to furniture – it’s never set in stone. I’m envisioning some distressed leather club chairs (one day – if Craigslist cooperates!) and a more moody/masculine coffee table.
But those curtains combined with the DIY Ikea-hack “Hicks” pendant light… Perfection!
I just adore the way the gold leaf looks with the dark grey curtains! This might just be my favorite metal leaf project yet!