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Project

Gilded Charger Plate

Use gold or silver leaf to gild an exquisite charger plate with this how-to from furniture expert Christophe Pourny.

Introduction

Note: The same techniques can be used on any wooden object; we used gold leaf to create coordinating napkin rings.

Resources: Wooden plates available from Hofcraft. Leaf and leafing supplies from Gilded Planet and New York Central Art Supply. (Note: Leaf books are also available in palladium, aluminum, copper, and various colors.) Furniture tonics and information on furniture restoration at christophepourny.com.

Materials

  • Unpainted wooden chargers (large plates)
  • Gesso
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Clay bole
  • Linen scrap
  • Soft bristle brushes
  • Aquasize water-based sizing (glue for gilding)
  • Foam brush
  • Gold and/or silver leaf ("patent" or mounted on tissue paper)
  • Stiff bristle brush
  • Brown shoe polish (optional)
  • Steel wool (optional)
  • Wooden napkin rings (optional)

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Apply gesso to plate surface to prime and smooth any imperfections; sand.

  2. Step 2

    Apply clay bole to surface with a soft bristle brush. (This will create a neutral color base, which will make the gold or silver leaf more brilliant.) Let dry. Burnish clay surface with a small scrap of linen.

  3. Step 3

    Apply water-based sizing with a foam brush; let dry until clear. (Sizing will "stay open," or remain sticky, for about 24 hours.)

  4. Step 4

    Starting in the center, apply gold or silver leaf to sized surface. Remove paper backing and repeat with more leaf, overlapping the edges by about 1/8 inch. Continue until charger is covered. Let dry 24 hours. (Tip: Use talc or baby powder to keep leaf from sticking to fingers.)

  5. Step 5

    Apply brown shoe polish with steel wool to age piece (optional).

Source
The Martha Stewart Show, January 2012

Reviews (1)

  • 24 Jan, 2012

    Lovely demonstration! 19c Giltwood Cartouche provided for set by Balzac Antiques, 3506 Magazine Street, New Orleans, www.balzacantiques.com