DIY Project: Gold Leaf Lamp Shade

I love gold leaf because it creates a surface with texture and dimensionality that you just can’t get any other way. It’s also a surprisingly versatile way to glam up vintage finds or even things you already own. To create an unexpected surface on this little bedside lamp I choose a fabric shade to gold leaf. The fabric’s subtle texture highlights the imperfections in the foil and gives the shade a warm and earthy elegance. A bonus of gold-leafing over a fabric shade is that your application can be less than perfect (ideal for first-time leafers). -Megan at One Kings Lane

The full how-to is after the jump!


The Process

Here’s What You’ll Need:

-2 clean, soft-bristle paintbrushes
-An 8-oz. tub of water-based sizing (I used Dux)
-Imitation-gold leaf (I used this)

Begin by painting your surface or objects with the water-based sizing. It goes on milky white and dries clear and slightly tacky. Once the sizing is dry, you’re ready to apply the gold leaf. Simply place the thin foil sheets onto the sizing until the entire surface is covered. Use a clean paintbrush to help maneuver the delicate leaf into place and smooth out the gilded surface. To finish it off, use the same brush to remove the excess foil.

Tip: The more you smooth the gold leaf with the brush or your finger, the less visible your seams will be, but be gentle.


This is such a gorgeous project. I was actually thinking of gold leafing my wooden jewelry box! So many things to make :D


*ahem* pretty sure you mean “LEAF” not “LEAD” in the post title.

Katie S.

LOVE it!! What kind of lamp shade was used? Does any kind (flat vs. textured) work better than another?



Ah, good to know – I’ve never used it but am looking for a first project, and this may be it! Thanks, Grace!


I love the look of this lamp shade, but I wish there were some photos of the process used to create it. I’ve never used gold leaf before but always wanted to. It would have been helpful if there were images showing how it adheres, whether it’s ok to overlap, what to do to smooth it out, etc. Instead it’s just a photo of a complete product and list of tools?


Also, if you find the leaf sticking to the clean paintbrush or your fingers, baby powder can be really useful!