Fancy Christmas tree ornaments can be pricey, but you can get a high-end look on the cheap by learning how to make these DIY Gilded Christmas Ornaments! The gilding techniques shown here can be applied to other crafts as well.
With Christmas just around the corner, I bet you’ve also started to see hundreds of sponsored posts floating around Blogland, and I hope you won’t mind reading one more. So before jumping into today’s tutorial, let’s quickly go through the disclaimer below and show our love to the wonderful sponsor of my DIY gilded Christmas ornaments, shall we? 😉
This post is sponsored by my awesome hubby! I want thank him for driving me to all the craft stores (even during this crazy busy season), for always providing me with all the craft supplies that I oohhh-and-ahhh over, for taking all the progress and final pictures for my projects without bitching and complaining, for proofreading my posts and correcting my grammar mistakes so our readers can understand what the heck I am talking about, and basically helping me in every way to make this and all my other DIY posts possible. Oh, and before I forget: though this post is sponsored by my babes, of course all opinions are 100% mine, as he is currently too busy [being awesome] to comment. LOL.
Hahahaha – ok, ok…enough of me goofing around. Here is the material list for this easy-peasy Christmas ornament project.
- Gilding sheets (metal leaf) – I used two different kinds: one had gold and copper mixed with blue patina and the other had gold and copper with a reddish patina
- Gilding adhesive (size)
- Ornaments – any plain color ornaments will do. I found mine at Michaels. By the way, Michaels currently has a terrific sale on these glass ornaments, so you might want to check them out.
- A pair of scissors (optional)
- A small paint brush – for applying the gilding adhesive
- A soft brush – for gently brushing out the creases and brushing off the excess gilding sheets or
- Rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs (optional)
Now that we have the supplies list out of the way, let’s start making some gilded ornaments, shall we?
First, I cleaned the glass ornaments with some rubbing alcohol and a lint free cloth, so they wouldn’t have any dust and lint on them.
Once I had my ornaments and gilding sheets ready, I applied some gilding adhesive (called “size”) on the ornaments using a small paint brush. As you may see from the pictures, I brushed on the gilding adhesive (size) in a random way and only to the top or to the bottom of the ornaments. If you want to gild your ornaments entirely, then you need to apply the size all over the ornament.
When applying the size, it is important to avoid puddles, because the gilding sheet is so thin, it would show any imperfections on the surface below. You can either apply a little bit of size at a time, or you can do like I did: put a whole lot of size at once, then distribute it evenly with your brush until you have no puddles nor drip marks. Both ways will work perfectly.
Now here is an interesting thing about gilding size: while in the bottle (in its fluid form), it has a milky white color, and it’s not sticky at all. Once it starts drying, it gets transparent and tacky, and it just stays sticky until you glue something on it (which is the gilding sheet in our case). It’s almost the opposite of regular adhesives that start out tacky and then dry completely. You’ll see what I mean the first time you get some on your hands. More on that later.
Once the size turned transparent, I started gilding: with a gilding sheet in my hand, I touched the surface and pulled back. Touch and pull, touch and pull. It is that easy.
During this process, if there is any loose gold leaf hanging off of your ornament’s surface, just brush it with a soft-smooth paint brush. Brushing helps those loose particles in two ways: they either smoothly stick to the ornament or fall off. Either result is good.
Oh, before I forget – here is an important hint about the size I used: rubbing alcohol is the best and the only mess-free cure for its tackiness. So let’s say you applied the gilding size to a spot where you didn’t want to gild, or even worse – let’s say you work so messy that you mistakenly tipped over the size bottle and ended up with size drips all over your hardwood floor…I know, sounds terrible, doesn’t it?…but no need to panic…really!…at least not until your hubby steps in it and carries it all over your house… LOL. No, of course that didn’t happen to us…why do you ask? hahahaha 😀
Anyway… in case you find yourself in that kind of scenario, I suggest cleaning the mess with rubbing alcohol. It is the easiest mess-free cleaner for the tacky gilding size. But also note that if you wipe your gold / copper gild with alcohol, it may degloss it a little. And if the gild is just newly done, it may even take the gild off. So try not to get it on the already nicely gilded area. 😉
Ok, now back to the tutorial…
As the last step, I did the final cleaning. While gilding, I mistakenly applied the size where I shouldn’t have, so to clean off those areas, I dipped a cotton swab into some rubbing alcohol.
Then, I simply rubbed my mistakes off, and that was the end of this easy Christmas ornament project!
Before going into the beauty shots, I also want to mention that you can go for any pattern when gilding. I went for a random pattern, because it was easy and I liked the look, but you can easily do any pattern you like. All it takes is applying the size in the pattern of your choice.
Now for the beauty shots 😉
Do you remember this feather tree? My babes loves blue so much that he couldn’t wait to change the previous red ornament on it. Hahahaha 😀
I love how these ornaments turned out, and I’m loving this gilded look more and more. I wonder how it would be if I tried it on some fabric? I know it would look really nice, but I’m wondering if it would be washable or not. I guess we won’t know until I give it a try, right?
I have to say, between the two gilding sheets I listed in the supplies list, Martha Stewart’s gilding sheet was a bit easier to handle. As for the copperish reddish one, it needed a little more attention when applying it. But in terms of colors and the patina I love them both equally!
Hahahaha – don’t you love that thick cooking twine my awesome sponsor used to hang the ornament? 😀 He told me he couldn’t find my fancy-schmancy twines, so he thought it would be just as fine with his cooking twine. LOL. You just gotta love him, don’t you?!?
I know I said I’d be posting about gift wrapping ideas, but I was so excited about this quick and easy project, I couldn’t help myself sharing my gilded Christmas ornaments first. I hope you liked them.
Don’t forget to save this idea to Pinterest or share it on Facebook, so you can find it again later!