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Gilded Floor-Lamp Shade

Applying gold leaf is fun (and easier than you might think). Gilt circles gleam against a satiny black finish while the interior sheds a flattering glow.

Source: Martha Stewart


  • Opaque drum shade

  • 3 big cans (to hold up shade)

  • Newspaper

  • Satin black spray paint

  • Tape measure

  • Gold leaf size (an adhesive available at crafts stores)

  • Foam brush

  • Cotton gloves

  • 30 to 40 sheets composition gold leaf

  • Soft round brush

  • Compass

  • Card stock


  1. Place shade on 3 cans over newspaper. Coat exterior of shade with spray paint, keeping the spray can moving to avoid drips. Let dry. Flip over, and paint interior. Let dry.

  2.  Working in 10-inch-wide sections, apply a thin layer of size to shade interior with foam brush, stopping at top and bottom rims. Let stand 5 minutes until tacky. Wearing gloves, hold the book of gold leaf sheets over section and gently slide a sheet onto sizing, letting 1 edge catch. Pull book away, and let sheet fall onto shade.

  3. Pat leaf with soft brush, then use it to wipe away excess. Repeat until shade interior is covered.

  4. Patch any cracks by adding small pieces of leaf. Let dry for 12 hours, then smooth wrinkles with a gloved fingertip.

  5. Create Circle Template Using compass, draw a circle on card stock (the diameter should be 1 1/2 inches less than height of shade). Cut out.

  6. Trace template onto shade with pencil, starting at seam and keeping circles close together; there may be a little open space in the rear of the shade. Fill in each circle with size (see photo), starting from outside and working in, taking extra care at the edges.

  7. Apply gold leaf as on the inside; brush away excess. It will flake off, leaving a perfect circle.

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