Gilded Bowl Centerpiece
DIY centerpieces are a great way to save money on your tablescape and get exactly what you want. The possibilities are endless, and you can often make a beautiful centerpiece with materials you already have in your home. We used an old wooden salad bowl, salvaged hutch parts and gild to make a gorgeous centerpiece!
Here’s a real quick project to tide you over until our next dining room makeover or laundry room renovation post.
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Now, I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right – this is the kind of project that Handan usually tackles. And it started out that way, really. But she kept asking me to do stuff…
“Hey babes, can you cut these spindles for me?”
“Hey babes, can you make a bigger base for this?”
“Hey babes, can you glue this?”
“Hey babes, can you stain this?”
“Hey babes, can you put polyurethane on this?”
At some point, it became my project, even though I wasn’t calling the shots. So, my project, my blog post!
This project, like most, started at the dump. We were tossing some old drywall into the construction waste area when Handan spied an opportunity. Mind you, all I saw was junk – broken, useless junk – but Handan saw Solomon’s Treasure.
There was an antique hutch in with the other detritus – an old, broken thing, far beyond restoration. Again, my eyes saw only garbage. But Handan keyed in on the doors, some fancy trim and some spindle thingies. We loaded the battered behemoth into our car and headed home so I could dissect the carcass and extract Handan’s prizes. The doors and trim will be used for some future project. The spindle thingies are shown below.
Handan’s original plan was to make something for our deck with these pieces. But then she started experimenting with different toppers for them – trays, discs, bowls – until she grabbed an old wooden salad bowl (a Put & Take find – pictured below with a bed post)…
…and held it over one of the spindles. She liked what she saw. And that’s where I come in. She wanted me to make the bases bigger. Well, that was easy enough.
I grabbed a scrap piece of maple and cut it to the size she wanted. Then I found a router bit in my set that pretty much matched the pattern above and routed the piece of maple.
I glued the old base onto the maple base and clamped them together while the glue dried.
I had made two bases, because at this point, Handan was still thinking these would end up outside.
I also cut the spindles shorter (no pics), and glued them onto the bases.
Okay, I want to give credit where credit is due. I didn’t do all the work for this project. Handan did sand the bowl – and she got to use her new detail sander to boot!
I told her the outside didn’t have to be perfect. A slightly flawed bowl would add interest to the final piece. She didn’t bother sanding the inside, as she had other plans for that. Meanwhile, I stained the maple base to the same color as the rest of the pedestal. At that point, Handan’s plan was to paint the pedestal white and distress it, which is why she wanted me to stain the maple base.
To finish the bowl, I decided to try something a little different than the standard salad bowl finish (polyurethane thinned with mineral spirits) that I was planning to use. I had picked up a gallon of boiled linseed oil at a tag sale a couple of years ago, but I never got the chance to use it. This bowl offered the perfect opportunity to try it out.
I applied the boiled linseed oil with a clean patch of cloth, then waited the recommended 5 minutes. I then wiped up all the excess with another clean cloth. I did this every day for 5 days. BLO gives a beautiful satin sheen, and I will use it in the future for other woodworking projects. There’s just one really important safety consideration with boiled linseed oil. Since it is what’s called a polymerizing oil or drying oil, it reacts with oxygen to form a durable, protective finish. But this process is exothermic – in other words, it creates heat. Rags soaked with BLO must be laid out to dry. They must NEVER be bunched up and thrown away. Here’s a video showing what can happen and how to safely dispose of BLO -soaked rags:
Here’s the bowl after a week of BLO applications.
At this point, Handan changed her mind about painting the pedestal white. She wanted to leave it as is. I agreed. It had a nice, rustic look going on, and I’m not sure a distressed white pedestal would have added to the look.
The last step – gilding the inside of the bowl – was also Handan’s job. Her idea was to paint the inside with liquid leaf – sorta like a gild paint.
It looked good, but I thought it was too dark. Since the outside was already dark wood, I thought the inside needed to come alive. I asked if she could apply actual gilding over the liquid gild. She obliged, and the change was stunning! For a full tutorial on applying gild, you can check out Handan’s Gilded Pumpkins post. Gilding couldn’t be easier, and it adds such a cool look.
After gilding, Handan sealed the inside of the bowl with a water-based metal leaf sealer.
And that’s it, folks! Easy. Simple. Quick. Wait, did I say quick? Nothing’s ever quick around here! It actually took a few months to finish this project, because we worked on it 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there. It would have taken a day (not including the week of BLO applications), but we really stretched it out. Enjoy the beauty shots!
It looks great on its own, but it really comes alive with water and tea lights!
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Beautiful! And I love Handan’s treasure gleaning instincts! Please please tell me you kept the other parts of those spindles!!!
Thank you, Derry! Oh, of course we still have them! Handan doesn’t waste a thing! 🙂
Absolutely ingenious!! That is now a true treasure…amazing!! KUDOS!! franki
Thank you so much, Franki! It is, indeed! 🙂
Beautiful! Did you apply BLO on the inside of the bowl too? Also, did you apply anything on top of the gilding to protect it?
Hi Sara, Greg must have forgot to mention it in the post. I’ll update it 😉 I ordered leaf sealant, but it didn’t arrive until Greg took the pictures, so I had to apply it after the pictures were taken. But the sealant I used is this one: https://amzn.to/2GvaQIh
Since we’ll be using the bowl for floating candles, it needed this sealant as it helps prevent tarnishing.
Hi Sara, I didn’t put BLO on the inside of the bowl – just gild and sealant.
i am always amazed that you can take what is junk to most of us and turn it into such beauty xx
Thank you, Chris! Handan has a great eye for turning junk into beauty. Just look at what she did to me! 😀
That bowl is amazing looking now! Can you explain where the greenish-aqua look inside the bowl comes from? Love the way you two interact; sounds a lot like my husband and me!
Thank you, Nancy! The gilding process for the interior is explained by Handan in this post: https://www.thenavagepatch.com/gilded-pumpkins/
Hi Nancy, that greenish-aqua was due to the gilding sheets as they have that patina look in their pattern. Here is the link for the gilding sheets I used: https://amzn.to/2q5ehzc 🙂
This is beautiful you two! Thank you for posting the BLO video – holy crap, says the girl with a basement workshop.
Thank you, Marie! I know, right? Danger lurks in the most unlikely places.
Hi both ,lovely job as usual ,the guilding really makes it glow .I have a collection of rescued spindles and finnials and goodness knows what else ,problem is i don’t have a diy genius like Greg, my Tony is allergic to diy ,he has a knack for wrecking things .We were quite amused when a neighbour whose garden we look after ,gave him a toolbox for Christmas a couple of years ago ever since he has been known as ‘Toolbox Tony .
LOL, “Toolbox Tony” is a great name! I wish I had a cool nickname like that! But Catherine, what’s in the toolbox? If it’s not filled with goodies, Tony won’t be able to unleash his inner DIY superstar!
This is one of the most gorgeous project I have seen,
Thank you so much, Maria! 🙂
Beautiful makeover! Pinning! Here from Morning Cup of Joe!
Thank you, Julie! 🙂
Wow. You were so on target with the gilding. My mouth fell open. How truly creatively beautiful!! I’ve been reading your blogs for a little over 2 weeks now & I just want to tell you both what a special and very sweet inspirational couple you both are. I’ve read your back story and your blog for a couple weeks now and I’ve learned that sometimes you should just trust your gut because it might turn out awesome. Thanks for giving me that courage!
Thank you so much, Summer – what a fantastic comment!
Hi there I just found your blog and I have to say that your story is amazing and you are a great writer/storyteller. So now that you have my attention with the DIY’s you will probably get sick of me asking you questions. How did you get the color inside of the gilding? Did I miss that part? You 2 are very creative and funny. So glad i found your blog. I don’t have my business page/website up yet. I have just started my life over at the age of 55. I paint furniture and restore things that people take to goodwill and i sell it in my booth. looking forward to learning from you and reading your stories.
Hi Cheryl! Welcome and thank you so much!! The gilding IS that color! Check out Handan’s post about gilding pumpkins for more info: https://www.thenavagepatch.com/gilded-pumpkins/ Best of luck to you with your new business!