gild a chair in gold!

Gild Chair 2

It all started with a trip to the thrift store…

Don’t you feel like all your posts and projects start out this way? You’re on you’re way home, innocently driving past your neighborhood thrift store, when you suddenly realize it’s been a while (a day? a week? a month?) since you’ve last thrifted.  You remember the thrill of the last item you scored, which makes you turn your car sharply toward the direction of the closest parking spot.  If you’re like me, you’ve already unbuckled your seat belt and opened your car door before putting the car in park.  Then, you walk to the entrance as fast as possible, just a hair slower than a run, I mean, you don’t want to look stupid running into the thrift store, right? You all know what happens next…

This is exactly what happened with this chair.  I rewarded myself with a spontaneous trip to the thrift store, after having finally sold my white coffee table.  I found this chair for $5.  It was sticky and smelly, the seat wasn’t attached, and the back leg needed to be reinforced.  The chair was clearly a mess, pure garbage in anyone else’s eyes.  I was pretty sure I struck gold…



I struck gold, get it? Ha! Sometimes I think I’m so clever. I love before and after shots, don’t you?  Here are some of the close-ups…


That diamond detailing was just yucky before, but dressed in gold it’s stunning!



Look at those legs! I am so in love with this copper bicycle.  It’s fully functional! The pedals, wheels, and chain turn and everything!

I’m sure you have a lot of questions right about now, like, how do you go about gilding a chair? Did I use metallic spray paint? Where on earth did you find that bicycle?

Ross.  I freakin’ got that bicycle at Ross of all places!  So, tell me! How does one gild a chair? With gold leaf!  But before we jump to that step, let’s review the basics of restoring an old chair

1) remove the seat

2) sand with fine grit sanding paper, I used 400 grit just to get the dirt and grime off the wood

3) wipe away the dust left behind from sanding with a damp cloth or baby wipe

4) reupholster the seat, but first, remove all old staples and tacks, then follow the same steps I shared when I recovered 4 antique dining chairs.



5) cover the chair with tacky spray adhesive (you don’t have to use the gold leaf brand, but I had a coupon at Michael’s and got it for $2)

6) apply the gold leaf*

*here’s where it gets tricky, you can choose to follow the directions on the gold leaf package by applying piece by piece – OR – you can follow this tutorial by applying the leaf in what seems like a hap-hazard manner, then buffing it in place with a soft artist brush.  Whatever you decide, I strongly recommend using a SOFT ARTIST BRUSH, and not the cheapo foam brush pictured in the gold leaf instructions.

7) after your first layer of gold leaf, fill in the gaps with more adhesive and excess flakes of gold leaf that fell off from the first layer.  I sprayed some adhesive into the cap, applied it with a small artist brush, and then applied the gold leaf using the same method as step 6

8) next, seal the chair with spray acrylic.  Some people will say to skip this step, but I on the other hand think this step is very important.  It will not dull the shine of the gold leaf, it will protect it from flaking off or getting damaged.  Let the sealant dry overnight.

Lastly, mount your seat, and enjoy!



Do you like the pink-ish red striped pillow? I shared a tutorial yesterday on how to make a no-zipper pillow cover.  Check it out!

Gold leaf is impressive.  Recently I have been pinning all things gold on Pinterest, so it just made sense to test it out on a cheap-o piece of furniture.  Move out the way, BF, this chair is my new love.

linking up with:

 five days five ways | feature friday free for all    Furniture Feature Fridays 

     DIY Show Off

  • This is my favorite by far! Maybe I should do this to my two old chairs out back that I haven’t done. Maybe silver leaf them? Amazing!!!

  • I’m sooooo in love with your chair!! I have to do this!! Awesome job! So glad you linked up!!

  • Hi Brittany!
    I’m visiting from Passionately Perfect’s link party. I love this chair! you did a fabulous job. I just might have to gold leaf something… anything! (my dog is not safe now that I’m inspired) 😉
    Take care~!

  • Brittany you’re very brilliant! They turned out great! This is my first visit here, I found you through the DIY Show Off and it’s a pleasure meeting you. I have become your newest follower! Have a nice day!
    Love, Olga

  • thank you for visiting!

  • I love new followers! And your blog is sooo fun, thank you for visiting!

  • I love this project so much. I saw over at DIY Showoff. I have had a chair for a while that I wanted to do in Gold, but resisted the Gold Spray Painted look. Gilding it is on my Redoux list now! Genius!

  • You should gild it! It’s much easier than it looks, just takes a little bit of time. The outcome is incredible tho!

  • You have been featured! Check out the party tomorrow and grab a button!!

  • This is gorgeous. Now I want to gold leaf everything 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration. You’re going into my reader now 🙂

  • i absolutely love this and you inspired me! i bought some gold leaf to do my nightstands and will be sharing your chair on my blog as well as soon as i get mine done! 🙂

  • thank you, you’re so nice! I have a nightstand in mind as well! please share, I would love to see how yours turn out!

  • Gorgeous!! I will not pass up the next bargain chair I see at the Goodwill!
    Psst I have a Valentines Giveaway I think you will love!!
    Art by Karena

  • Wow you did a beautiful job on this chair. Gold leafing is tedious and messy but oh so worth it. I have even put a glaze over the sealer if I think it is too stark, or want the more antiqued look. Great advice on using a good brush! Makes a world of difference.

  • This makeover is killing me! That chair is so beautiful!! I’ve got a thrift store find chair as well, and now I’m thinking instead of purple: gold!!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  • omg! such a fun idea!! i haven’t seen anything like this. makes me want to head to thrift store this weekend! found you through a creative day. loving your blog and all your diys!

  • Just bopped over from Centsational girl- what a cool project! That is SO me, walking/sprinting into the thrift store (you never know what you’ll miss by just a few minutes!!!)You make gold-leafing look easy, though I’ve heard it can be a headache. Great job!

  • Thank you!! You’re so nice 🙂 and yes, gold-leafing can be a headache, no doubt. Seriously, the key is patience, and a soft artist brush, aaaand not being afraid of the little flaky bits of gold leaf. Reading up on other people’s horrible experiences, I realize I must have been in a good mood that day LOL

  • Unbelievable! I love the idea of gilding a chair. I’m curious about how the gold leaf will hold up over time… But this makes me want to run around my house and look for things to gild! Love it!

  • Thank you Liza! I feel the same, I’ve already gilded other things since this chair LOL. I’m not sure how the gold leaf will hold up over time, to be honest. I think using the sealant will help prolong the life of the gold leaf, especially on something that get’s daily use.

  • I’ve seen this chair all over blogland and I seriously fell in love with it the moment I laid eyes on it! It’s sooo beautiful! I was inspired to spray a bunch of things gold ever since, but it doesn’t have the same impact as gold leaf. And I’ve literally been on the hunt for a similar chair with that diamond work ever since!

  • Ah! You’re too nice 🙂 And you’re right, gold spray paint just doesn’t have the same brilliance as gold leaf. I hope you find the chair! I’ve been keeping my eye out for another ever since I found mine. Thank you for the nice comment 🙂

  • Julie

    Brittany your chair if FABULOUS!!!!! I love some bling, I cant help it…. and this is a gorgeous example of not too over the top blingtasticness. Can you help me a little, with what is “spray acrylic”?
    I really want to attempt gold (or maybe silver or maybe BOTH) leafing, and I will need to seal it against all the possible catastrophes that tend to happen to furniture in my house (dogs, boys)…. THANKS for the awesome tutorial… I got here from your chalkboard project. I am in love with all of your projects, and your blog is fantastic!!!

  • Julie

    oh, and your little bicycle is fantastic too!!! nice Ross score!!

  • Julie! Thank you for your comment! Spray acrylic is a clear gloss spray sealer, which you can find at a craft store like Michael’s. Here’s an example:,default,pd.html?cgid=products-generalcrafts-aleenes&start=2 or just Google “spray acrylic sealer”. Krylon also sells a can. Hope this helps!

  • Nicole

    Hey Brittany, love how the chair came out! Just wondering around how much gold leaf you used for this project? I was thinking of doing something similar and would hate to run out in mid process!

    • brittanyMakes

      Hey Nicole! Great question, I bought 2 packages of the Mona Lisa (I think?) gold leaf from Michael’s. It only takes about a package and a half for a chair this size. Good luck, I would love to see how it turns out if you end up doing it yourself!

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