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Gilded Picture Frames
I love gilded picture frames, and I’m assuming that if you’re reading this post, you love them as much as I do! I’ve spent hours gazing at and searching gorgeous framed walls on Instagram, Pinterest, local boutiques, and frame stores. However, most custom and even store bought gilded frames are very expensive. I don’t know about you, but I simply can’t afford one, let alone a collection of them. But as the old saying goes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way”. I knew there had to be some way that I could create the same custom look of a gilded frame on a very small budget.
So I turned to the internet to figure out how I could make my own. I discovered you can buy faux gold leaf sheets and stick them on wood frames, transforming them into gilded frames! The imitation gold leaf is so much more affordable than the real gold, and I feel they look just as expensive. The ones I purchased were under $7, and the adhesive was around $9. So, under $20, you can create dozens of gold-framed pictures at home! And they will look beautiful, luxe, and custom! How does that sound? It sounds like a winner to me!
A Little Effort:
With a little elbow grease and a small investment into some products, you will end up with glorious picture frames to adorn your house! Not only that, but I guarantee you will start gilding everything you can get your hands on! I find it to be a relaxing, fun activity. You can rest assured that I am going to start amounting a collection of gilded frames for my walls at home. I feel like I’ve discovered some sort of Midas touch here my friends.
So let’s get into the tutorial. This is a bit of a longer post because I want to be as thorough as possible. Please rest assured that this DIY is an easy project and perfect for any beginner. There are a total of 7 simple steps to create these gilded picture frames, and I am going to walk you through each one. Let’s have some fun!
You Will Need:
- A wooden picture frame. (Old, new, thrifted, or gifted. Any kind will do).
- Imitation gold leaf sheets.
- Leaf adhesive. (I used Speedball Mona Lisa Metal Leaf Adhesive 2oz, also from Amazon)
- An old art paint brush.
- A glass jar.
- Mod Podge.
- (Possibly paint stripper or sandpaper if your frame is lacquered or painted).
- Brown and black acrylic paints.
- A microfiber towel (a regular rag or old towel will work as well).
Don’t feel overwhelmed by this list of items. This diy couldn’t be easier! Seriously, if I can’t do it, I know you can too! Let’s take this step by step.
Grab An Old Frame:
Before you begin creating your gilded frames, you will need an old wooden frame. I’m sure you have an old frame lying around, or one that you just don’t love hanging on your wall. You can also salvage a frame that you scrounged up at a thrift store or garage sale. The main thing to remember is that it needs to be a wooden frame. They will work best for the final product and the gold leaf sticks to it really well. (Avoid metal and plastic frames).
And here is the same frame just with a different picture.
Prep Your Frame:
If your frame has paint or lacquer on it already, they you will need to either sand it or strip it. In my case, the wood was raw and didn’t need either, so I apologize I don’t have any pictures of this step! However, if you’re looking for a product to strip paint off wood, I’ve heard great things about CitriStrip Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel. You can buy it at most home stores such as Home Depot and Lowes, and it is also sold on Amazon.
Apply Your Leaf Adhesive:
Let The Adhesive Dry
Read the instructions on your adhesive bottle. Mine recommended letting it dry at least 30 minutes. The adhesive will be clear when it dries, and slightly tacky to the touch. It should stay this way for at least 48 hours.
Apply Your Gold Leaf
Okay, here is where things get fun and messy! You are going to lay your gold leaf on the frame. Be gentle with the sheets as they are very delicate. This part takes a little getting used to, but fear not! If you rip it or leave gaps in your frame, that’s okay! Cracks will help to give your frame an older more vintage look, and you can always tear smaller pieces and stick them into your gaps if you want. It’s really impossible to mess this part up!
When you rub the leaf off, don’t be alarmed at the mess or if you see any tears or holes. A few holes will actually look nice and will add to the antiqued look of the frame. If you have large holes or gaps, simply stick a piece of gold leaf on it, press it down, and rub some more!
Paint Your Gilded Frame For An Antiqued Finish:
This part is optional, but I highly recommend it. The gilded frame will look very bright and very gold. Painting it over will provide your frame with a beautiful faux patina that will make it look like it was sitting in an attic for a hundred years (in a good way).
Add a few drops of brown and black acrylic paints into your glass jar. Add a little water so it is runny, but still opaque.
Coat your picture frame with the paint and water mixture. Allow it to run into any cracks or holes. This will give your frame the antiqued look.
Wipe down the entire frame. Allow some of the paint to stay in cracks and crevices. Use your artist eye to determine how much antiquing you want your frame to have.
Protect Your Gilded Frame:
Now all you have to do is keep the paint from flaking and preserve your beautiful work! After your acrylic paint is dry, coat your frame with Mod Podge. This is found in local craft stores and of course Amazon. Give it a good coat, and once it dries clear, your frame will be complete!
And here’s the final product! Inside my beautiful frames I have my DIY intaglios. (I’ll be posting the intaglio DIY very soon , so stay tuned!)
I hope you enjoyed this post and found it helpful and inspirational. Please leave a comment below with any questions or share your own projects with me! I’d love to hear from you!