I mentioned that it was based off of one Brittany Makes did for 6th Street Design School last week. I loved the piece she made so much that I had to make one of my own!
Her ampersand was a little smaller than I wanted so I opened Illustrator and started playing around with a larger size:
I made my document 20" x 20" because that was the original canvas size I planned on buying. I enlarged my ampersand until I liked what I saw and then I printed it out on two pieces of paper (it was too large for one). I slowly cut it out with scissors, matched up the edges and taped it together:
As you can see, my canvas is 24" x 24". Like I said above, I had originally planned on getting a 20" x 20" canvas. I actually did get one but when I brought it home and hung it in the powder room, it was a little too small for my liking so I took it back to Michael's and exchanged it for the 24" x 24" one. It happened to be 50% off so I paid $13.99 for it!
The gold leafing supplies (adhesive size AKA glue, sealer, gold leaf, and a brush) I had on hand. If you don't have these supplies, they'll run you around $10 to $20 depending on where you shop and if you use a coupon or not:
After I cut my ampersand out, I placed a few pieces of tape on the back so I could figure out its placement on the canvas:
There was a lot of measuring and stepping back and staring to make sure it was centered:
Once the placement was perfect, I stuck my ampersand template to the canvas and began to trace:
I found it easiest to focus on a little part at a time. I would hold the paper template down and trace all around a section before letting go of it just to make sure it wouldn't shift and cause my line to be off.
The bumps in the canvas made the lines a little less than crisp but it's to be expected since the surface isn't smooth to begin with:
After the entire ampersand was traced, I removed my template:
And started applying the adhesive size AKA glue:
I applied one thin and even coat making sure to be extra careful around the edges:
When the glue became tacky, I started applying the gold leaf:
As I applied the sheets, I gently smoothed them out and tried to avoid getting creases:
I'm letting you know this now so you don't panic like I did: things are going to look pretty ugly for a little while!
Let your glue dry for about a half an hour to an hour before you start removing the excess gold leaf:
Be gentle when you're pulling it away from the edges and use a soft artist's brush to remove the tiny pieces you can't grab with your hands:
When you're done, your ampersand will look like this:
You can stop here if you'd like! I didn't because I had a few spots that were missing some gold leaf (mostly around the edges) so I applied tiny amounts of glue in those sections:
And stuck on scraps of gold leaf:
I waited until the glue had dried again and then I gently ran my artist's brush along the edges to remove the excess gold leaf:
After I few more hours had passed, I erased my pencil marks and applied the gold leaf sealer:
Then I hung the canvas up in our powder room:
What do you think of my gold leaf ampersand? Will you be making a gold leaf letter/symbol of your own?
I'm sharing this project on House of Hepworths and Our Fifth House!