Saturday, November 10, 2012

Silverleaf Canvas

Trying to decide on the art for my updated bedroom design has been the hardest issue I dealt with! Here is what I finally decided upon for over the fireplace:

It started life like this:

I had purchased the flower canvas online, and then added the frame and fabric behind it trying to give it more presence, but it just didn't feel right in the space. 

The other art in the room is in silver frames; mostly black and white prints of old proms, flowers, and chandeliers.

As I already have two mirrors in the room (over either nightstand), I didn't want to add another mirror, but I wanted to do something that was more neutral and in keeping with the other art, plus the era I am trying to evoke in the room. (1930's Hollywood Glam / Regency).

I ordered Silver Leaf online. The packets I purchased were 25 leafs each. I used about 20 leafs on this project.

If you have never done leafing before, it can be intimidating, but the payoff is huge, and while it is messy, it is not difficult at all.

The leaf booklets come like this. On top of the package is a small clear plastic sheet. Keep this! You will use it to hold the leafs to put them on your piece, otherwise the leaf will fall apart in your hands.

The first step is to prime your piece (clean it, paint it, etc.) and then apply sizing (another word for adhesive.) I used the spray adhesive on this piece.

Using the clear leaf, lift the piece out of the booklet, and place it on your piece, and remove the clear plastic. Inevitably, you will get some adhesive on the plastic,  but you can use a piece of wax paper in place of the clear plastic if it gets too messy to use.

Just keep placing your pieces to cover your surface. I like to slightly overlap the pieces so there are no gaps, but this is a matter of personal preference.

As you work, the silver leaf doesn't look all that impressive - in fact, it looks like cheap tin foil! Don't worry! After it is all done, you will burnish it with a cloth and that is when you get the beautiful texture and glow. Just keep going and cover any spots you missed with left over pieces.

When you are all done, use a soft cloth without an obvious texture to rub the foil into place, and get rid of any bubbles. If your cloth has texture, the foil will pick it up. So, for example, you can use a brush over the foil, and you will get the look of brush lines (this can be pretty if you cross-hatch). 

You can see here that even though I overlapped my leaves, you can see lines where the pieces came together, as well as some spots where the leaf didn't adhere. You can simple go over the leaf with more leaf (the brush on adhesive is easier for this than the spray), or you can leave it. As I wanted my piece to look a bit older, I didn't cover these imperfections.

After I had the leaf in place, I used a clear varnish over the top to prevent it from tarnishing. Then, using brush on Tacky Glue and some rhinestone ribbon I purchased online from Save-on-Crafts, I glued the embellishment in place.

When I said that silver leaf was messy, I meant it. Here you can see some of the many little pieces that ended up on my carpet after I finished the canvas. These are quite simple to vacuum up, however, as they will not stick without adhesive on them.

And here is the finished piece on the wall. Very simple and minimalistic, but perfect for my Hollywood Glam room.

Here you can see it in context of the room, above the fireplace.

This project has been shared at the following sites:


  1. Hi,

    I just found you via Funky Junk! Love your blog. I've gone back and looked at all your painting, magazine features, etc. Great talent! I'm your newest follower. Please come by for a visit at my place.


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