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DIY Tutorial: Modern Gold Leaf Easter Eggs!

bowl with stencil

DIY Tutorial:  Modern Gold Leaf Easter Eggs!  {using washi tape}

kels randi completed

We had a Modern Gold Leaf Easter Egg Party last night at the shop!  The class ended up totally full (and then some!) and since we had to max it out we wanted to share with you our hints on gold leafing eggs in case you missed it.

table girls

Gold leafing has relatively simple instructions – apply adhesive, apply gold leaf, smooth out, and seal if desired…but as we first got started with it we had quite the love/hate relationship with how static-y, delicate, and sticky the leafing can be.

sticky fingers complete

{it can really stick to your fingers!}

There are some great tutorials online so what we’ll include in this little DIY is using washi tape to create a stencil and will link towards the end some other sweet tutorials for marbelizing and giving your gold leafed eggs a pretty pattern like we did with our other eggs.

minimal completed

Above is the minimum you’d need for sweet gold leafing of Easter eggs:  Adhesive Size (we bought ours at Hobby Lobby), an old smaller paintbrush (since it might not recover well after the adhesive), hard boiled/baked/or blown out eggs (blown out eggs allow you to keep them forever!), dye, gold leaf sheets.

ideal completed

Ideally you’d also include what we added here in addition to the minimal supplies:  washi tape or any tape like masking or painters, a foam sponge, and acrylic sealer (we bought ours right next to the gold leaf supplies).

egg baked completed

1.  Prepare your eggs.  We hard baked ours since we needed 110+ eggs and didn’t have time to watch over each batch being boiled.  It takes longer to hard bake, but required much less attention.  We initially tried to blow out some eggs but realized it would never be possible either with the amount needed!  To hard bake it’s easiest with a mini cupcake pan.  Bake your eggs at 325 degrees for 30 minutes and then immediately put them in an ice bath for about 5 minutes to stop the cooking process. This helped decrease the amount of eggs cracked but some still did AND you get this weird look:

baked brown complete

Your ice bath will decrease the amount of brown spots on its own and make them a super light tan color.  Once they are dyed it doesn’t show too much and the gold leaf (depending on how much you put on) covers a lot of it.  Moral of the story:  if you have time you should hard boil or blow out your eggs.

egg toothpicks completed

2.  Continue to prepare your eggs by dyeing them.  We used Wilton coloring from Target and it was AWESOME.  Follow the directions and then find a way to evenly dry your eggs – we used a piece of styrofoam and toothpicks.  WAIT for it to dry completely – we recommend treats and wine at this point to help you truly wait long enough!

taped m

3.  Tape it off!  Using tape (washi, masking, or painters seems to be best) apply it wherever you DO NOT want the gold leaf to end up.  With this egg we wanted the gold leaf to outline our M rather than fill it in.  Which means we also taped around the egg because we only wanted to gold leaf half (we’ll show you the other side later):

taped m side

Hints:  Be sure to press down on the tape well so you don’t have any areas that the adhesive size will sneak under!

brush

4.   Apply adhesive size (ie. gold leaf glue).  Hold your egg in one hand.  Using your brush, dip it into your adhesive size and being super careful very THINLY apply this where you want the gold leaf to be applied.  THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!!  THIN APPLICATION.

cloudy m

You DO NOT want to have the adhesive size go on so thick that it causes cloudiness like on the right side piece of tape here.  If this happens you can use your foam sponge to blot it.  Again, apply the size VERY THINLY.  If you were going to apply gold leaf to both sides of the egg, work to totally complete one side at a time.

knuckle

5.  Wait.  After about 30-60 seconds, check with your knuckle to see if the adhesive size has become tacky.  If your knuckle doesn’t really stick to the egg much, check again in 30-60 seconds.  Once your knuckle sticks more you can get ready to gold leaf {this is not a rushed part.  the adhesive size could stay tacky up to 24 hours so you have time!}

applying

6.  Apply the gold leaf!  Taking a sheet of gold leaf or a smaller piece that you gently rip off, lay it slowly over the areas of adhesive.  Pieces might rip right away and that’s totally cool.  Fill in any spots missing leafing with the pieces that ripped off or the flakes.

applying2

7.  Smooth out.  The gold leaf will immediately stick to your egg and you can begin to use your thumb to gently smooth down the leafing.  Pieces will start to flake off where the adhesive size wasn’t applied OR where the size wasn’t tacky enough (if you applied too much).  If it seems like you applied too much size, give it a couple more minutes and check again with your knuckle to be more tacky.  Continue to fill in any areas missing leafing that should have it with the flakes or ripped pieces.  Get it totally covered and totally smooth.  Be sure to use your thumb to smooth out and get any flakes sticking up off of the egg.  You can also use your foam sponge brush instead of your thumb to do this.

tape off

8.  Start to remove the tape.  With our egg we must have applied the adhesive size on top of most of the tape because our M was almost completely covered with leafing on the tape!  Very slowly (after waiting just about a minute once your leafing is smoothed on), start to remove your tape.  It’s a bit annoying if you covered all of the tape with your leafing and adhesive like we did here!

tape off2

If you have any spots that are missing gold leaf where you wanted it, just dip your brush in the adhesive size and apply a very thin and small amount to that area and repeat the process of smoothing it down to get any dry flakes off (waiting for it to get tacky first, though).

done m

9.  Done!  If you want to be.  Otherwise now you can take your spray sealer or brush sealer and apply that over the gold leaf.

seal

We used the spray sealer over a sink and did just one coat since it won’t be handled too much.  It’ll take 24 hours to totally dry, but you can touch it after just about 30-60 minutes.  We didn’t do this with our marbelized/patterned eggs because we figured they’ll just last through Easter, but we were pretty proud of our M {sometimes it’s those small victories!} and wanted to be careful with it so it got sealed!

diamond

This was a very simple diamond “stencil” that we tried at home earlier.  Keep it simple when you first start!

eggs lightroom

To get a more patterned/marbelized look we followed the instructions here!

back room

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to try their hand at gold leafing!  It’s an awesome DIY project to try because you may just find other items to gold leaf like vintage glassware, etc. and will have more confidence in making it happen!

earring

{attendees also found a way to use of their excess gold leaf flakes on these rose cabochon earrings!}

Be sure to check out our events page for more sweetness coming up soon including terrariums, linocuts, and basic sewing!

table food spread

To check out a few more tutorials like wheat grass centerpieces and wreaths like the one pictured above you should catch The Forum’s article by Anna Larson on Easter DIY!

We also loved A Beautiful Mess’s gold leafing tutorial of plates/bowls.

We found this video pretty dang fun and informative on gold leafing just about anything.

Maybe in May we’ll get some more gold leafing projects happening around here!  Sign up for our newsletter at the top of this screen to get a monthly event schedule and update emailed to you!

{Happy spring!!}

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