diy project: gilded acorn charms

Fall is by far my favorite time of year. The colors and textures of the materials that come with the season never cease to inspire new project ideas for me, and I find myself returning to those materials again and again. These wooden acorns are a quick no-frills project. They might come in handy for a last-minute gift idea, or as decor for an impromptu dinner party. If you have more time, you could make dozens and give them out as Thanksgiving day treats. Smooth natural wood and the texture of gold leaf is a match made in heaven — once you start experimenting with the two, you may not want to stop. Have fun and Happy Autumn! — Kate

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


  • wooden acorns (these are available here)
  • spray adhesive
  • gold leaf sheets (available at most craft and art supply stores)
  • 2 small paintbrushes (one for stain, one for gold leafing)
  • wood stain
  • drill with small drill bit
  • tape (any tape with strong stick will do)
  • gold leaf sealer spray (also available at most craft and art supply stores)
  • key chain loop, gold chain or fine-gauge wire (if using the acorn as an accessory)


1. Use the small paint brush to stain the acorn caps and let dry.

2. After the acorns have dried, use the drill to make a small hole in the cap near the point, but not too close to the top.

Note: I decided to drill after the staining process because I did not want stain seeping into the drill hole, and the drilling does not cause too much splintering or mess, so the acorn remains intact. You can choose to do it either way.

3. Place a layer of tape around the cap of the acorn to protect it from spray adhesive. Take the acorns into a well ventilated area and place them on a scrap piece of cardboard or paper. Coat the entire base with an even coat of adhesive.

4. Wait about a minute as the spray adhesive gets very tacky, then place a strip of gold leaf over the entire base of the acorn, covering all the glue. It’s okay if the gold leaf overlaps at first. If you use your brush to pat the leaf down in place, it will flake off any excess.

5. Once the acorn is covered with gold leaf, spray the base with an even coat of gold leaf sealant. Follow the instructions on the sealant and let the acorn dry completely between coats.

6. String your acorn on a necklace chain, a key chain loop or a piece of fine-gauge wire to create a pendant, napkin ring or fun accessory.



How beautiful! I wonder, would these work for decor purposes if you used a real acorn?


Gorgeous! I love these!! I think, for me, I’d stain the caps mahogany…I’m just a sucker for reddish woods and gold:)

Kate Pruitt


You could definitely use real acorns, they would look lovely! If you want to incorporate the charm aspect, you’d have to be much more careful with making a hole in the top of a real acorn- try using a large needle or an awl instead of a drill. It’s definitely worth a try though! Good luck:)

McKenzie @ Stitch & Soiree

Gorgeous! And would look fabulous as little ornaments or tied to gift-tags too! Ooh, I’m thinking kraft paper, golden acorns and brown bakers twine with an ivory gift tag!

Linda hunt

Those acorns are truly inspiring! It puts me in the frame of mind to find other natural objects that can be turned into a beautiful decoration item. Thanks!


god i love gold leafing…I would gold leaf everything I own if it wasn’t so expensive lol….

i suggest not using the spray glue and use the glue that you put on with the brush that is specifically for gold leafing, it stays tacky for over 24 hours so if you see a problem you can always touch it up with more gold leaf. Plus its easier to manage than a spray as you can really get into the detail of anything you are leafing.

actually, if this was my project, I would suggest staining after you put the gold on, and staining over the gold leaf as well because regular gold leaf that isn’t “antiqued” looks really bright and a tad too….cheap…plus you wont have to wait around for the stain to dry before you put on the tape. If the gold is antiqued just a bit it would give it more of a vintage edwardian feel.

Terry Kave

If you use real acorns, be sure to bake them in a low temp oven (200 degrees for about 20 minutes) to kill any bugs inside. You don’t want any surprises coming out when you least expect it!!


Just picture….. Fall leaf garland with gold alcorns for your mantle or table runner.


Just picture….. Fall leaf garland with gold alcorns for your mantle or table runner.


Just picture….. Fall leaf garland with gold alcorns for your mantle or table runner.