I’d like to share with you today a little project I did over the Christmas holidays, my Christmas copper candelabra (I love a bit of an alliteration I do). It came about because I organised a dinner party in December for some friends, and then invited some family for Christmas dinner. After being rather rash with my invitations, I then went into a bit of a mild panic as I realised that I was completely ill equipped to entertain people in my home. Unless I expected them to eat food off their lap, or drink straight from the wine bottle (they can do that later on), my chipped plates and clouded up glasses needed replacing. So I went on a bit of mad-dash shopping spree and bought everything I needed to serve food and drink. And much to my husband’s confusion, some other stuff to make the table look pretty…oh, don’t look at me like that, it was Christmas!
So, I ended up going for a bit of gilt theme, copper table mats, gold coasters, gold napkin rings…and it all looked rather lovely at the dinner party, except for one thing. The table was quite clearly lacking a centrepiece, it was lacking a big gorgeous gilt candelabra with lovely twinkly candles…again, the husband looked confused when I mentioned this, and because we’d run out of dosh with all the festive pressie-buying, I took pity on him and didn’t press the issue. What I did instead was root out a candelabra that I didn’t like so much anymore. Although it had suited the room I’d bought if for in our last home (lighting up my bedside table in the “Enchanted Garden”), I’d not been able to find a spot for it here, so rather than it gathering dust in our garage I decided it would be the perfect candidate for a little experimental updating. It was time to transform this baby from matt white to sparkly copper, and let it do it’s shiny centrepiece thing in style.
There are three common colours of metal leaf you can buy, gold, copper and silver. That’s if you go for the cheaper metal ‘effect’; if you wanted to be extravagant, you can buy real metal leaf, and then I’m sure you could probably get all sorts of different coloured metals, but in my world, I stick to the affordable metal effects, and they still do a really good job. For this project, I decided to use copper for a number of reasons:
1. It’s bang on trend, with loads of gorgeous copper items available at the moment, so I knew I’d be able to buy lots of lovely things to compliment the candelabra (probably from Mia Fleur! See all their lovely things below)
2. I’ve already mentally planned an update for this house’s kitchen, which includes copper and gold accents, so the copper will fit in nicely
3. I wanted to try something different. I’ve used gold leaf a couple of times now and thought it would be nice to play with something different (such a fickle playmate, sorry gold leaf)
The first time I used gold leaf to update something was to funk up the vintage wall lights shown below. I fell in love with the shape of them as soon as I saw them on eBay and they were such a bargain, that I went for them immediately. But I was always disappointed with their colour, I just couldn’t imagine a background, painted or papered, where dull cream would look amazing. And these sconces really deserved to look amazing. I tinkered with painting them, but it was when I was decorating my living room, which I wanted to be all 70’s tropical glamour, that it dawned on me that they needed to be gold. They’re actually in (if you haven’t heard of it) the Hollywood Regency style (my absolute favourite style of decor, and something I will talk about very soon) which epitomises glamour, so it was only fitting that they ended up being all gold and sparkly and glam themselves.
I also had another lovely play with gilding when I painted the dressing table for my Punked Up Boudoir (my dressing room in other terms). This project was a bit more tricky as I had to be very careful where I placed the gold leaf, but my god, it was satisfying. In fact, I can’t begin to tell you how satisfying applying gold leaf is! I could do it all day. If someone employed me to gold leaf the entire ceiling of their cathedral, and in my dreams they do, I’d be such a happy girl. When I had my shop, Aunty Mabel’s Seat, and supplied Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint, I used to teach painting workshops and in one of them I’d teach my ladies how to gild. I’d always say to them, now when you try this you’ll think it’s the most marvellous thing in the world. And they’d look at me like I was a bit mad. Until they did it themselves, and then there was just pure silence, with the odd contented sigh wafting into the air. Forget meditation, applying gold leaf can take you to places even the Dalai Lama can’t get to.
Tomorrow, for any of you interested in updating a neglected object in your home, I’ll be sharing the equipment and steps you’ll need to take to achieve this very simple but effective update. In the meantime, I’d just like to share my top favourite gilding projects that I’ve discovered on my travels, in case they inspire you to take up this lovely craft.
When Annie Sloan, the Queen of Chalk Paint and Paint Effects In General (my title for her; it’s not official) was decorating her home in France, she wanted a freestanding copper bath, but didn’t really want the price tag that went with it. So she transformed an inexpensive acrylic bath by covering it entirely in copper leaf, and I think it’s absolutely stunning! So, so simple, but just so effective; and easy on the wallet too.
I’m still with Annie, bear with me. Again, when decorating her French home, she transformed a gorgeously carved French bed by painting it in her Antibes Green colour and then highlighting the carving with gold leaf. Another triumph in my book.
Another way of using gold leaf is to stencil with it. What? Stencilling? I hear you cry. I know, I know, stencilling is so 1980’s but it’s slowly making a revival, and in a good way. Less naff, and more class. See for yourself; look how gorgeous the cupboard below looks! (Image courtesy of Pinterest)
And finally, my favourite. Just as an aside, I always leave the best til last, especially when eating meals that come with chips; the chips always get saved til the end, and god help anyone who tries to pinch one. Anyway, I digress. I love the way that gold leaf has been applied to the inside of the cabinet below, it’s such a modern application of a traditional craft and shows how you can keep it bang up to date. And look at the contrast of the gold with the black, it’s stunning. I’d love to fill that cabinet up with all sorts of lovely curiosities and let the gold do its job as a light-giving backdrop that would really show off its contents. Lovely! (Image courtesy of Pinterest)
So, my lovelies, I hope you’ve enjoyed my little gilding introduction, and I would love to see you back again tomorrow for my guide on how to do update your own piece. Have a wonderful Friday evening, behave yourselves, and if you have any comments, I really would like to hear them. And if you have gilded something yourself, please do share, I’d love to see your projects x
© Carnival Of Colour 2020