EAT and be merry – a mini silverleaf tutorial

As I shared last week, we finished our billy bookcase hack in our dining room finally. I’ve been hunting for ideas of something dining room related to hang on the wall behind the kids eating bench. I was inspired by some old metal letters I saw on etsy and thought about ways to re-create that look. When my best friend got married she faux finished some of the large paper mache letters you can buy at JoAnns to look like wood. So why not the same with metal?

Mercury glass, silver leaf, and patina/pewter/old metal finishes are everywhere in the stores lately, and as I have alot of white on the shelves already, I wanted to avoid more white on the walls.

I considered a bright color, a bright red or a aqua blue, but it didnt go with the current feel in the room, so I decided to make the leap and do some silver leaf for the firs time ever!

I bought three letters with two coupons for 40% off and ended up paying 10.97 with tax for all three. A quick stop at Michaels for silver leaf (8.99) and adhesive (2.99) and I was ready to go!

At home, I spray painted the sides of my letters with a silver spray paint. I knew I wasnt going to be leafing the sides, so it finished them off and they blend in with the leafed fronts. The paper made the spray paint dry super quick, literally only five minutes of dry time, so I only had enough time to lay them out on plastic to get ready for the next step!

Step one: paint a thin layer of the silver leaf adhesive on the front of the letters. It said that it needs one hour of dry time, and you will know its dry when it goes from milky white to clear- well, turns out again that it only took 5 minutes of dry time before it was clear and tacky. You can see in these photos the transformation from milky white to clear, some spots where I must have painted it on thicker took longer.



OK, all dry- time to leaf! I went ahead and cut my sheets in half aheaf of time, since half the width of a sheet was slightly larger than the width of the letters. I knew I didnt want my sheets to lay perfect and look new, so I patted them on instead of rubbed them on, and used the excess edges to create cool patterns. It literally is as easy as laying it silver side down, rubbing, patting, or scratching the back, and peeling it off! I used all the little extra corners, sides, and pieces that didnt adhere the first time to create an “old” “beat up” look.


I used a brush to brush away any pieces that were hanging off, and used my finger to pat down any pieces that looked like they might bubble up.


It took about 20 minutes to do all three letters.. I kept a small pile of little bits of silverleaf to use on the other letters, and made sure there were no “straight” edges showing so it truly looked like a piece of metal that had its finish scraped off in some places.


Now, I didnt seal these yet- because I wanted to get them on the wall before it got dark out, to take “finish” shots, but tomorrow I’ll spray them with a clear sealant, just in case. See the furry four legged friend in the photo? She has to be involved in EVERYTHING! 😉 Next up.. a tutorial on silverleafing a vase and perhaps a frame if I get around to it. I had plenty left over from this project for a few other things, and bonus: you dont have to buy anything extra.


One response to “EAT and be merry – a mini silverleaf tutorial

  1. Pingback: Silver Leaf Vase – Faux Mercury Glass Look « Silver Firs Farm·

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