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Monday, November 11, 2013

Gold Leaf Canisters

These beautiful treasure jars feature real metallic leaf, and are the perfect vessel for corralling beauty supplies in the bathroom, or craft supplies in the studio!  They would also be beautiful with a hand-made or store bought candle, or just filled with seasonal materials for festive decor.  They are a great project to practice the art of gold leaf, and can be made from cut bottles with wooden lids, or discarded glass jars with a screw-on lid.  Here are the steps Miss Ginger used to make this classic fleur-de-lis design:


After cutting her bottles, Boy G made the lids on the lathe, and she gathered the rest of her tools and materials.  "Gold" leaf comes in sheets from the craft store, and while it IS metal leaf, it's no longer all gold! You will also need adhesive, undercoat, and sealer- all available online or at the craft store- and and assortment of brushes, depending upon the complexity of your design.


Miss Ginger made stencils to create the fleur-de-lis pattern on the glass. The stencil will control the placement of the adhesive, so the gold leaf will stick to the glass only where the adhesive is applied.







She prepared the lids by painting them with red basecoat, the traditional undercoat for gold leaf.  She used the brownish-red base coat specifically sold for gold leaf, but she has found you can use just about any paint underneath. 







The options for the adhesive are not so generous- you really need to use "Adhesive Size" specifically made for gold leaf. It is thin and clear, dries with the right amount of tack, and stays sticky until covered with leaf.  It does come in a spray form and a pen form... sort of a "glue marker" that would be great if you have pretty penmanship! Miss Ginger has the handwriting of a serial killer, hence the stencils! 
After placing the stencils, she applied the sizing with a small artist's brush, allowed it to dry a bit, and then removed the stencil, leaving an almost invisible film of adhesive on the surface of the glass in the shape of her fleur de lis design.  You can't see it in the photo, but the adhesive is there on the 2 glasses on the left- I promise! Once the base coat was dry on the lids, she covered them with adhesive, as well.
Now comes the fun part!  Gold leaf comes in a little "book" with a clear plastic cover and tissue interleaves to keep each delicate leaf pristine until you are ready to place it.  Static makes it cling to the clear cover, which allows you to handle the leaf without tearing it.  After you've place a leaf, you can tear away the tissue, close the cover, and the next leaf will cling to plastic. Pretty neat, huh?
Miss Ginger laid the gold leaf across the adhesive on the jar and carefully slipped the plastic sheet away, leaving the leaf in place.  You can see the outline of the FDL in the photo; the gold leaf is adhered smoothly in the places where there was adhesive.  The leaf is loose in the voids of the design. 




With an artist's brush, Miss G smoothed the leaf onto the entire image, to make sure it was adhered everywhere. 

Then, with a stiffer brush and a somewhat more aggressive stroke, she began brushing away the excess leaf, in some cases using the brush a sort of a "spatula" to lift large pieces of leaf away that can be reused on the lids.  

There is very little waste with this process, as the pieces that surrounded the image on the glass could be used to cover the lids.  Part of the charm of real gold leaf is that a bit of the undercoating shows between the pieces of leaf, so this is a perfect place to use the "scraps". 





As the leaf is applied to the lids, it is brushed smooth, and the "crumbs" are brushed away and can be saved for even smaller projects!  After all the leaf was placed, Miss Ginger brushed sealer across the lids, and used a smaller brush to cover just the gold design on the glass. The sealer protects the leaf from abrasion, but if the glass ever needs washing it should be done very carefully by hand.



That's it! Wouldn't they be beautiful filled with woodsy fall potpourri?  Leave a comment and tell Miss G what YOU would put in them! 




























5 comments:

Old Bitch said...

This is beautiful work! It takes so much precision to do this kind of thing, I'm just in awe.

Beth said...

Beautiful! Are the lids tight enough that you could use them for kitchen canisters, like for pasta or dry beans?

Miss Ginger Grant said...

They would need a rubber seal but that would be seas enough to do… I'll have to figure out where to get a sheet of rubber or silicone to make a gasket!

Anonymous said...

Where can I find the jars. Lovely project. Thank you for sharing.

Miss Ginger Grant said...

The "jars" are actually wine bottles with the tops cut off.

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