February 10, 2014

DIY Gold Leaf Agate Bookends

My mom and I went to our annual gem show on Saturday. I wish I could say the show was awesome like it has been in years past but it was actually pretty bad this year. Half of the vendors weren't there and the ones that were there (my agate guy specifically) didn't have a lot to offer, had significantly raised their prices, and did away with the price by pound model they used to have.

Despite all of that, I still bought a few sets of bookends and some agate slices but my haul was much smaller than I was hoping it would be. One of the sets of bookends I brought home got the gold leaf treatment yesterday:

I've gold leafed agate slices before but never an agate bookend. I love how Jessica at The Aestate's bookends turned out and Shannon's make me wish I could have found a green set!

My bookends looked like this from the front:

And like this from the back:

They were one of the prettiest sets I could find:

I gathered my gold leaf supplies:

Supplies shown:
  • Gold leaf sheets
  • Adhesive size AKA glue
  • Sealer
  • A foam brush

Supplies not shown:
  • Paper towels
  • A soft bristled brush

I started by applying a thin and even coat of adhesive size to the backs of my bookends:

I used the foam brush so I could get into all of the nooks and crannies. I tried not to leave puddles of glue anywhere but some of the nooks were deeper than others and the glue pooled up a little bit in those spots.

After I added adhesive size to the other bookend, my first piece (the left one) was almost ready for the gold leaf:

I waited to apply any gold leaf until all of the adhesive size went from milky white to clear:

I took a large sheet of gold leaf and gently laid it on top of one bookend:

Don't worry about the gold leaf sheet tearing, it's easy to fix!

Keep applying gold leaf until the entire surface is covered. Dust off any excess with a soft bristled brush and save it for later.

Both of my bookends looked like this after my first round of gold leaf:

You can see the spots where I either didn't apply enough adhesive size or simply missed adding gold leaf to them.

I filled those spots in by adding a little adhesive size over the areas and adding scraps of gold leaf to them:

After most of the empty areas were filled in with gold leaf, my bookends looked like this:

They're not perfect but I was happy with how they looked!

At this point you can consider them finished or you can dust off any excess gold leaf pieces with a soft bristled brush and then seal them with the sealer shown above. I chose to seal mine but some people opt out of that step because it can make the gold finish look painted on instead of leafed.

Here's the finished product:

They look great from the front:

And the back!

Just for fun, here's how the bookends looked before:

And here's how they look after I applied the gold leaf:

Are you a gold leaf fiend like I am? If so, check out some of my other gold leaf projects!

DIY Gold Leaf Feather Art DIY Gold Leaf Wood Slice Coat Hangers DIY Gold Leaf Hurricane

I'm sharing this project at Vintage Revivals' 'Rock What Ya Got' link party!

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  1. So so pretty! Love how they turned out and I'm glad that you found some things you liked after all.

  2. So you already know that I didn't really get the gem them but these I can appreciate. You are selling me slowly.

  3. Gorgeous! This is so funny because I did this after being inspired by your gold leaf agate coasters! But I used the 'paint' not the leaf on pink ones and I took really poor photos lol #badblogger. I think the coaster project was the one to lead me to your blog actually! Love love love it. Makes me want to go out and buy 20 more. But then I'd need more books.

  4. This is so pretty. I love the touch of gold with the blue tones. Such a statement piece on any book shelf :)

  5. Very cool! I got that C&H collection for Christmas. May be time to bust them out!

  6. OMG. These are gorgeous! I'm sorry that the gem show wasn't like it used to be :( The navy is beautiful, and your gold-leafing job is so much better than mine!

  7. OMG you have the Calvin and Hobbes Collection!!! EEEK! I cant even begin to explain how addicted to them I was as a kid. Wait, this post is about the bookends right! They are fabulous too:) I love the gold leaf. I've been wanting to do that with some agate coasters.

  8. Wow. These are stunning! Out of curiosity, how much do stones like this cost?

  9. so pretty! I've never used gold leaf, but whenever I see it I want to try :)

  10. These are so pretty! I've recently become obsessed with anything and everything gold leafed... I need to pick some up and start from one end of my home to the other. ;) Love it!!

  11. These turned out so pretty. Great job!

  12. I've never used gold leaf, but, wow these are gorgeous!

  13. I'm so sad to hear the show wasn't as good this year! I love your gold leafed bookends. Now I'm thinking I need to do the same to mine. Gorgeous!

  14. You always blow me away with your gorgeous and elegant projects! These came out so very lovely!

  15. love this - i want to do this with coasters - i know you did this last year - just need to find some agate coasters on the cheap

  16. Drool! Such a beautiful blue and with that gold it's gorgeous!

  17. This is so amazingly simple! I always liked agate bookends but never felt inclined to get some and now I know why... because they need gold leaf!! Thanks for the beautiful inspiration!


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