A gold leaf frame fits right into a home decorated with traditional elegance and opulence. It is particularly suitable for a large mirror and serves as an attractive wall decoration in any room, from the foyer to the dining area to the bedroom. Placed in a more contemporary space, a mirror framed in gold leaf adds an instant touch of glamour. Depending on the style of the frame, it can exude an antique, old world look or a chic metallic vibe.
Creating a gold leaf frame for a mirror is an easy project that requires some patience and time. The process is called gold leafing or gilding, and it basically involves applying very thin and delicate sheets of real or imitation gold onto the frame. The preparation work on the frame is essential as it ensures a smooth and clean surface to work on. If your frame has lots of detail in the woodwork, applying the leaf may be a bit trickier, but can result in a beautiful golden piece.
1. Remove the frame or protect the glass. If possible, remove the mirror and backing from the frame so that the frame will be easier to work with. If the glass cannot be removed, use painter’s tape and a plastic sheet or newspaper to cover over the entire surface of the glass so it won’t get dirty.
2. Sand and seal the frame material. You can apply gilding to almost any material, including wood, glass, or plastic frames. If you are working with a wood frame, sand the surface smooth before cleaning and apply a coat of sealer like Gesso primer, which will prepare the wood to receive the basecoat.
3. Apply acrylic bole as a basecoat. Red acrylic bole is often used as a primer to create a hard, even surface that is suitable for applying the gilding. It gives the gold frame a warm tinge when the gilding is complete. Apply two coats of bole, allowing the first layer to dry before brushing on the second.
4. Apply size for adhesive. After the bole basecoat has dried, use a brush to apply a thin, even coat of gold size, which acts as an adhesive to bond the gilding to the surface of the frame. The size will go on white and turn clear in 5 to 10 minutes. This is the best time to apply the gold leaf, when the surface is tacky.
5. Apply the gold leaf. Carefully lay the gold leaf on the frame, using a soft brush to smooth it in place. Apply consecutive pieces in the same way, slightly overlapping the previous piece. Trim away the excess with a brush. For the more detailed portions of the frame, tear or cut the gold leaf into smaller areas and apply.
6. Protect the frame with shellac. When the entire surface is coated in gold leaf and any wrinkles flattened out, seal the frame with a coat of shellac. It prevents the gold leaf from tarnishing and enhances its durability. Allow it to dry and you now have a gold leaf frame that is perfect for your mirror.
Source by Protechwood