Tuesday, October 16, 2012

DIY gold leaf bowls

 This DIY  is based on a lovely project from Kelli Murray's blog that you can find here.

What you will need: Mod Podge, balloons, newspaper, gold leaf (starter kits often include the adhesive and sealer), acrylic paint, paint brushes (foam and bristle), razor.

1. Start by blowing up balloons in various sizes. I used 5", 9" and 12" balloons. (I found it can also work if you just buy one size and blow them up to different sizes).

2. Now here's the sticky part...use Mod Podge and a foam brush to glue strips of torn newspaper onto your balloon. The thicker the better, so don't be afraid to layer on the newspaper and glue. Try to eliminate as many creases and bubbles as possible, but also remember that part of this project's charm is that it is handmade, so you don't have to aim for perfect!

3. When you have finished Mod Podging all of your balloons, let them sit overnight (or at least 5 hours) to dry. For me this is the hardest part of any DIY because once I start a project, I want to finish it. Trust me, however, you want them to be dry and it's nice to get away from the glue fumes.

4. Next pop the balloons. The rubber should shrivel into the middle of the bowl, but if it gets stuck in a few places just use your fingers to help peel them off. These bowls are surprisingly sturdy (I dropped mine several times and they were fine). The edges will be very jagged, but sharp scissors should remove those quickly. I just cut the top bit off until I had the bowl the size I wanted.

5. Now paint the inside and outside of each bowl the color of your choosing. It will take two to three coats depending on the color you pick. 

6. Once the paint has dried--which shouldn't be too long if you are using acrylic paint--it's time to start the gold leaf! (*Warning: Gold leaf is delicate to work with and can be tricky!) I picked various sizes of polka dots as my pattern, but the sky's the limit!

7. Start by either spraying or painting the adhesive onto the bowl and letting it sit for a minute or two. Use your fingers to place the leaf in sections until the desired area is covered. I found my fingers would get sticky after a few sections, so I used a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover to keep my fingers from sticking to every gold flake in sight. This is pretty drying for your skin, so make sure you slather your hands in lotion after you're finished. The razor blade is used to remove any excess gold leaf.

*If you want the base to be primarily gold, then I recommend leafing the entire bowl (like the one to the right or the one on the bottom), then painting your pattern over top. Since we are using acrylic paint, it will take two coats. The first coat tends to be transparent, but the second coat will stick to the first coat just fine.
*If you want the leaf in a larger pattern (like the bowl on the left) then I would use a paint brush dipped in adhesive to create the design. You will have trouble making clean edges, but I just used my base paint over the uneven edges of the gold leaf to give the illusion of a smooth finish.

8. Last but not least, spray with a coat of sealant. This will prevent the leaf from flaking off and gives it a lasting result. Now it's time to enjoy!

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