To elevate your next craft or decor project, try adding gold leaf to glass! Whether you’re planning an Anthro DIY dupe or just want to add sparkle to your home, gold leaf is both easy and fun. It’s also available as silver leaf and copper leaf, but “gold leaf” seems to be the most common term, so that’s what I’ll call it in today’s post.
Get the Anthro Look With This Easy Gold Leaf Tutorial
Supplies Needed to Apply Gold Leaf to Glass
I was inspired to try this DIY project over the summer after spotting a fun wine bottle at the store. (I admit, I bought this rosé 90% for the bottle and 10% for the wine.) While I’ve seen gold leaf applied to cards, candle holders, ceramics, and other home decor, I don’t usually get the itch to add metallic accents to our home. For some reason, this wine bottle just spoke “gold leaf” to me and I grabbed it.
To apply metallic leaf, you’ll need a few inexpensive supplies, in addition to the item you plan to gild. By the way – gold leaf is not real gold. Sorry to disappoint, but at least this is an inexpensive DIY. If you’d like to practice your technique before tackling a more expensive or precious piece, try using a mason jar. You can always add votive candles to the jars to make inexpensive table decor.
Glass item for project
Isopropyl alcohol + towel
Gold leaf sheets or flakes (I used copper flakes)
Adhesive + small paintbrush
Shallow cardboard box
Clean Your Glass Item Well
You’ll need a clean base before applying gold leaf to the glass. If you remove stickers or labels and have gummy residue, try using lemon essential oil or Goo Gone, etc. to remove it. I’ve had success with both of those options, but lemon EO is my favorite because it smells amazing.
Next, clean the glass with warm soapy water and wipe it down with isopropyl alcohol. (That is, if you have it on hand – COVID has wiped the store shelves clean!) I used a microfiber cloth for this step to ensure no lint was left on the glass. You could also just use a paper towel.
Set Up Your Project in a Contained Area
My next tip is to use a shallow cardboard box to keep the gold leaf flakes contained for easier clean up. I used the lid of a copy paper box. FYI, this is an indoor craft. Close all windows and doors, so you won’t have a breeze blow your flakes around. The foil is paper-thin and can be quite messy if you’re unprepared.
Apply Adhesive to the Glass
Next, paint on the adhesive wherever you plan to add gold leaf to the glass. I borrowed my son’s paintbrush for this step, but I might have ruined it, so learn from my mistake and use an old one! This adhesive is pretty thin; use a light hand to paint it on because it will run if it’s too thick. If that happens, just wipe it off the glass with a damp cloth.
I learned as I painted, and I turned the bottle upside down to dry, so that the glue would sag a bit for a more organic look. On the final piece, you can see the spots where my paintbrush strokes are too defined, which may not be the look you’re going for.
The adhesive should dry completely before applying any gold leaf. You can speed this up with a hair dryer. The surface will feel slightly tacky but it should be clear.
Now Apply the Gold Leaf to Glass
This is the best part! You can just stick the gold, copper, or silver leaf on the glass, wherever you’ve applied adhesive. I tried out these copper leaf flakes for this project, but metallic leaf also comes in sheets, which might be slightly easier to apply in larger sections.
Keep applying the leaf until the adhesive is entirely covered. It will look a little messy at this point.
Use a chip brush to smooth the gold leaf over the glass surface. The chip brush will also help dust off any extra flakes that aren’t adhered to the surface. At this point, you should start to see a final, smoothly gilded surface emerge.
Keep brushing the glass with the chip brush until all of the extra metallic leaf is brushed away and the surface looks smoothly covered. Ta-da! You’re done. Wasn’t that easy?
Carefully Clean Up Extra Metallic Leaf
You can reuse any of the leaf flakes that were scraped off the project during application. I just shook my scraps into the corner of the box top and then carefully packed them back into the jar. You can see below that my jar still looks full – this project barely used the copper leaf. I can still gild all the things! My family is so lucky. Ha!
Be careful to keep the flakes contained because they can end up all over your workspace if a breeze (or sneeze) blows through. Just a word of warning.
Admire Your Creation!
Now that I’ve tried this project, I’m dreaming of other ways to add gold leaf to glass decor in my home. Perhaps some gifts might be gilded this year, too! Get creative and have fun with this craft. Would you try gold, silver, or copper? They all look great!
Resources for this project:See all materials
Cat on Feb 25, 2021
A+ on this idea. I have collected all shapes and size of bottles unfortunately never found one with such pretty raised art but to use leafing OMGOODNESS ..... now off to find a pretty bottle Thank you !!!
Terry on Feb 25, 2021
I've been known to purchase wine and booze bottles simply for the bottle. Figure the contents are the plus but they've not always been great!
This a a great project! Thanks so much!