Silver Leaf Dresser
This second hand dresser from the Catholic Guild was the first piece of furniture I undertook in my quest for a nicer home. Most people would start out silver or gold leafing some fruit or a tiny statue, but I decided to meet the challenge head on. I didn’t take photos during the process because I didn’t
know I would be blogging this stuff almost a year later. But I must say when I tried to find a blog with silver leafing, I couldn’t find anything. I will make the effort to video how I accomplished this task and post it here soon.
I used a nontraditional method, but my process has held up well as a bedside table for about a year now. I frequently put glasses of water on the nightstand and the water rings have never marked up the surface.
Garage or enclosed space (any bit of wind will ruin a piece of silver leafing)- move the car out too unless you want speckles on your paint job…
A squatting stool
Decoupage (nontraditional adhesive), large bottle
Cheap paint brush to apply decoupage
2 packages Silver leaf pieces* ( purchased at Michael’s for less than $10 each)- depends on the size of your piece. Each piece of silver leaf in my pack was approx. 4″x6″. My small piece of furniture measure about 3’x2’x1.5′
Silver polishing cream (in a small tube)
Furniture wax or satin polyurethane
4-6 pieces of 12″x12″ scrapbook paper (for sides)
A sturdy brush for adhering or patting the silver leaf
Scissors (to cut leafing to size)
I really liked using the decoupage because I was accustomed to how it worked and it dried clear. So if I wasn’t moving along fast enough, it was no big deal. You really need fingernails to separate the leafing from the backing. * I do not suggest purchasing the leafing with adhesive backing since you’ll be applying your own.
Plan to overlap the pieces.
It will look bad for a while and you will likely second guess yourself for a while. I did not paint my piece prior to applying the pieces. I don’t even remember sanding it down. I was fine if my pieces crumpled because I wanted that worn look.
Basically, I ran out of silver leaf and I was getting impatient, so I put scrapbook paper in the recessed sides. I figured since it wasn’t really visible, it didn’t matter. See the photo of the side of the nightstand. I think it makes the piece even more original.
I was going to replace the handles, but I couldn’t remove them…see image.
As you can see from the close up images, this is an imperfect job. If you have OCD, I do not recommend this for a weekend project. You will need a lot of time and a lot of silver leafing to get it right.
After applying the silver or gold leaf with decoupage paste, allow the piece to dry thoroughly. Then I rubbed the silver rubbing cream from my finger onto the edges of all the drawers and the sides of the cabinet.
Finally, you can leave it if you will not be touching the surface and you want a flakey look over time. But, I recommend a coat or two of satin polyurethane or some rub on furniture wax. Upclose, the piece looks rough; but in the whole room, it dazzles in the sunlight. I am very proud of my first piece.
These drawers come in very handy for all of my inspirational magazines as well.
I hope you have enjoyed my first post. I look forward to your questions and comments. Happy cre8ing, my friends!