Metallic and Spun-Glass Ornaments
These refined ornaments -- some brightened with gold or silver leaf, others tinted in soft pastels -- are among the dozens adorning Martha's tree. Her own collections of antique china, including Wedgwood drabware, jasperware, and Old Paris porcelain, served as inspiration (see Cameo Appearances). Birds, acorns, and musical instruments also make an appearance.
Using a paintbrush, apply acrylic paint (yellow ocher for gold leaf, white for silver leaf) to both sides of an architectural ornament. Let dry.
With another brush, apply size (an adhesive available at art-supply stores) to front of ornament. Let size set until it becomes tacky, about 20 minutes.
Wearing cotton gloves, lift 1 gold- or silver-leaf sheet. Drape over front of ornament; smooth gently with fingers. Using a soft-bristle brush, even out texture, removing stray flakes. Repeat, overlapping sheets slightly, until front is covered.
Reapply size and leaf to sections that aren't fully covered as directed in steps 2 and 3.
Repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 to cover back.
Loop cord through top of ornament and tie, or attach looped cord with hot glue. (For spun-glass variation, attach cord to center of halo with hot glue, then attach 1 gold- or silver-leaf ornament to each side of halo with hot glue.)