April 19, 2013

DIY Gold Leaf Ampersand Art

If you saw our powder room yesterday, then you probably saw the ampersand art I had hanging on the wall:

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:

So shiny!

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!

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  1. It adds such a nice touch and I love the gold!

  2. I love it. So simple and pretty! And yes, I have been considering to make my own ;)

  3. I have never used golf leaf but it looks like fun. This is the perfect piece for your bathroom!

  4. That is only for the detail-oriented! I love it and it turned out really perfect. I love how you can see hte texture of the canvas through the gold leaf.

  5. Thanks Mrs. DeVore! :)

    Thanks Julia! I can't wait to see which letter/symbol you choose!

    Thanks Michelle! Gold leaf is addicting and it lasts forever which is good since it's a little expensive :)

    Thanks Crystal! Seeing the texture through the gold leaf is my favorite part too!

  6. Gorgeous! I love the shiny gold!

  7. Oh my gosh, I LOVE this. I'm obsessed with gold leaf. I need to craft asap!

  8. Caitlin, what font did you end up using?

  9. Yeah, what font did you use? I have a ton, but can't seem to get the same look. Thanks! Love this project!

  10. Yeah, what font did you use? I have a ton, but can't seem to get the same look. Thanks! Love this project!

  11. I LOVE this project! I can't decide which I love more– your gold ampersand or that mirror! I tried my hand at my own version here: http://www.youme-we.com/blog/diy-ampersands-three-ways-a-free-printable - but used panel instead of canvas. Thanks so much for the inspiration! Love finding another graphic designer/home designer :)


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