Gold Leaf Desk Chair

April 10, 2012

Hello everyone, how are things? I’m busy busy busy with a very cool new project I’m working on, I’m very excited to share it with you, that’s coming next week.  Meanwhile, you may recall this $7 thrift store chair I scored a few weeks ago.  Well lah dee dah, look at her now!

gold leaf chair before and after

She was all by her lonesome at a local thrift store and I adored that scroll back and figured she’d be a great piece in my neighbor’s daughter’s room.  Now she’s all fancied up with some paint, new fabric, and (ooh la la) gold leaf on that gorgeous scroll.  It’s the perfect little desk chair for this space under the window. The room is mostly white and turquoise, so we were going for a dash of glam, and as always metallics will do the trick – this time it was gold leaf.

It was sanded lightly then primed with my fave primer – Zinsser Cover Stain. (You can see how gorgeous this chair would be in white too!)

cover stain primer


Next came the water based enamel paint – a popular color around here since I painted this blue bureau with the same.  (Benjamin Moore’s ‘Thunderbird’).

enamel paint on chair


Next came time to add the gold leaf, I used this product found at my local craft store.  I learned long ago that simple spray adhesive works great for applying silver or gold leaf (see this lamp and this chair).

gold leaf kit


With the spray, you don’t have to wait for a brush on adhesive to get tacky – that I love, but you have to tape off the surround sections where you painted.  Or I could have just applied the gold leaf first, but well, I didn’t, so I just taped the surround off to avoid the spray adhesive.

Apply a small amount to your first section.

spray small amount


With one sheet of gold leaf at a time, simple press and carefully peel away.  Use the tips of your fingers to get it to stick to your piece.

press and peel gold leaf

Applying gold leaf is a flaky messy business and sometimes a little frustrating, especially when you’ve got crevices and corners.  With patience you can eventually get it into all the cracks.  But I’m impatient, so I cheat sometimes.

gold leaf detail on chair


I use this.

liquid leaf to fill in blanks


I’ve had this Liquid Leaf in my stash since this gold table project and Matthew uses it to achieve the gold leaf look too.  It’s stinky so beware, but it works great for giving you the look of gold leaf without all the trouble of actually applying gold leaf.

Here’s the detail up close.  I like that subtle crinkly texture of real gold leaf but you can only see it when you’re about 2 feet away (or less) so if you could care less about texture, just skip the gold leaf process entirely and use the Liquid Leaf paint instead, it will give you the same look without the time, expense (or headache) of applying gold leaf.   Heck, you could use a great metallic spray or craft paint too, why not?

gold leaf detail cg


The seat was reupholstered too – I’ll share some tips on that soon.

reupholstered seat cushion


The gilded detail adds a touch of glam to this transformed chair, and it’s a big hit in my neighbor’s daughter’s room, the perfect addition to her feminine space.

gold leaf chair cg


By the way, for anyone who’s curious, the rug is the Espana from Home Decorators, and they have several colors in that circle pattern!



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