No pain no gain they say… well silver leafing is just another one of these things!
A little tedious to do the results are breathtaking. Here are a few projects that involve the delicate process.
Because leafing consists of thin sheets, any imperfections in the item’s surface will be accentuated. So sand the surface down, clean it with a degreaser like T.S.P. (Trisodium Phosphate Powder) . Be sure you remove any dust from the sanding before you move on to the next step.
I recommend painting on the surface a grey latex coat of paint… just to even out the playing field let’s say.
Then, brush your silver leaf sizing on the entire surface with a brush. When the sizing changes from milky white to clear it is time to apply the leaf (This should take about an hour).
Now comes the tricky part. Apply a silver leaf sheet, using a plastic sheet (looking like a soft spatula) to the tacky surface with the sizing and brush gently the leaf flat onto the surface. Any extra flakes will detach at this point. Repeat the process until your surface is covered.
Finally brush on 2 clear coats of varnish to seal your masterpiece!
Design*Sponge offers a great tutorial for silver leafing right here.