It’s a new year and that means time for a new calendar!!! (You know you are an adult when…) This year I am bringing some elegance to my DIY monthly calendar with easy gold leaf frames.
A few years ago, my friend Audrey made a gorgeous wall of mirror framed calendars that made me gasp. At the time I was desperately looking for a calendar that allowed me to see several weeks ahead for order management purposes while also displaying the current month. I immediately made my own using two plain black frames I picked up from the craft store & kraft paper I used under curtains I stenciled earlier in the year. It changed my workflow for the better.
After two years, I’m ready for something a little more fancy and what’s fancier than gold leaf!
Let the Fun Begin!
Prime your frame with two coats of a red oxide primer. Not only does the primer help the gold leaf adhere but it also brings out the brilliance of the gold leaf.
After it’s dry, sand smooth and then wipe it down with a damp cloth. Metal leaf draws attention to mistakes so make sure your frame is as smooth as it can get before moving on.
Next, apply the adhesive size with a good brush. Do not use a foam brush as they tend to leave bubbles and it will mess up your final look. Follow the directions on the bottle for application tips and drying time. I like to apply 2 coats of size when I use Simple Leaf as it gives me a more aggressive tack. If you are using loose gold leaf, 1 coat should be fine.
After your size dries clear, it’s time for the fun part! Applying the gold leaf.
Take a sheet of gold leaf and apply it to your frame, rubbing it onto the adhesive. If you are using Simple Leaf, slowly separate the wax paper from the gold leaf and reapply if the gold leaf doesn’t stick in spots. If it doesn’t want to stick at all, move on for now. When you are done applying full sheets of leaf to the frame, go back over the spots that didn’t stick and repeat the process of applying size and then the gold leaf.
After you are done adding your leaf, go over it using a soft mop brush to brush away all the loose bits. Gold leaf will go everywhere but it’s easy to vacuum up later. And it’s pretty dust, so who cares.
Gold leaf you buy online or at a craft store is not real gold and it will tarnish. You will need seal it with Mona Lisa Sealer (highly recommended by my mother who has used it for decades) or you can use Clear Shellac to remove the tarnish first then seal it.
I’ve found shellac takes all the tarnish away and seals it for a short time in one step when applied with a foam brush. My gold leaf was a brassy yellow before applying shellac and I was stunned by the beautiful color it turned after the shellac dried.
*Note* Do not use the clear shellac spray can!!! It will not leave a nice finish and seals in the tarnish.
If you want to keep the gold bright, seal it immediately with the Metal Leaf sealer. I am going to try applying lacquer to see if it works & I’ll report back.
I use double-sided tape to stick my calendar pages on the front of the glass for quick change outs.
Calendar: Hewitt Avenue
Online Printer: Mpix