From Bronze to Silver: Lamp Transformed

March 29, 2010

Over the past months, I’ve been putting just a few finishing touches on my stepdaughter’s bedroom, and one of the last things I wanted to do for her was inject the space with a dash of big girl glam.  As you know from my fixation on metallic finishes, I’ve been wanting to silver leaf something, anything, for quite some time.  An inexpensive bronze Kmart lamp became the victim.  I’ve had this lamp for over three years and it was just looking a little, well, plain to me.  So rather than buying her a new lamp, I just decided to give it a glitzier look. 

For the faint of heart, the lovers of standard lamp bases, and the devotees to dark bronze, avert your eyes, look away, look away !   Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Now, for those like me who adore all things shiny, feast your eyes on my latest transformation, a lamp refinished in silver leaf. 

silver leaf lamp

Before and After:

silver leaf before and after

This project was incredibly simple, and took only a few hours to complete.  Here’s the play by play. 

But first, peeps, come a little closer, I’m about to say something that the silver leaf company doesn’t want to tell you.  There is no need to buy those expensive adhesives and coating sprays that are sitting there next to the metal leaf products.  Sssssh.   It wasn’t me who told you.  Pass it on.  This message is brought to you by a gal who has silver leafed only one thing in her entire life.

But seriously, other than the $10 dollar package of silver leaf available at a craft store, I used products I already had for this project including multi purpose spray adhesive and Minwax Polycrylic to seal.  I’m sure the other products designed for applying metal leaf are fine and dandy, I’m just a cheapo, and I wanted to save the $15 bucks. 

silver leaf package

The instructions tell you to use wax paper to ‘iron on’ the leaf with your fingers to the wax paper before you apply it.  Hey, it worked !   This stuff is incredibly thin and prone to flaking so it helps to use the wax paper as a guide. 

iron on with hand

And may I just say that my wrist looks particularly chubby today.  I’m gonna blame the lens and not my latest melted cheese binge. 

I applied my spray adhesive to the area of the lamp where I wanted to apply the leaf, and used the backs of my fingers to adhere it to the lamp. 

applying leaf

I cut smaller sections for the skinnier and curvier parts.

smaller sections

When I was done, I applied two coats of Minwax Polycrylic to the lamp to protect the finish.  That’s it ! 

lamp after

silver leaf lamp 2

Flirty gray lampshade from Tarjay.

Some of you spray paint devotees are thinking why not just use silver spray paint ?   You’re right, I thought of that.  After all, I am a self confessed spray paint junkie, and there are a ton of metallic spray paints available.  Valspar has an entire ‘metal’ series that is fab !  However, I’ve been wanting to experiment with silver leaf forevah, and I like the subtle textural difference between a smooth spray painted surface and an silver leaf crinkly surface.  Glamour injection ?  Check.  And my daughter loves it ! 

What about you ?  Have you ever danced with the silver leaf in the pale moonlight ?  Er, I mean, have you ever used this product, and what were your results ?


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