Monday, January 18, 2010

silver-leafed side tables

is that a collective gasp i hear? surprising but true: i have completed another furniture makeover. it helped that this one didn't involve hours of painting tiny leaves. it did involve hours of messing with leaves of a different sort though: silver leaves. i don't know if you can pluralize it like that, but i'm gonna. no use trying to stop me.

you may or may not recall the recent lack of bedside table chez stone. no more, friends. no more. i wanted something reminiscent of this from horchow (and others in the aforementioned post), to tie in with the silver starburst mirror above the bed:

but i wanted to make it myself. obviously. most of my girlfriends think i'm a total wackadoo for wanting to make things that i can already buy in their completed state. but that's why i have blog friends, no? and two kindred spirit bloggers, get your martha on and little green notebook, had recently completed silver leaf projects themselves with fabulous results.

firstly, i procured a pair of tables in my desired shape. these came from my friendly neighborhood target:

then, i coated them in silver leaf size. it went on milky, like so:

eew, milky. but it dried clear and tacky within 20 minutes-ish, at which point i started applying the amazingly thin and infuriatingly delicate silver leaf sheets. tip: pick yourself up a roll of wax paper along with your size and silver leaf. you can cut it to the size of the leaf sheets, lay it on top, press with your hand and transfer the leaf from the tissue paper it comes in onto the wax paper. it is so. much. easier. to transfer it to your project like this. trust me.

i used a soft brush to smooth it down. i didn't worry about overlap or wrinkles or oddly-shaped pieces, because i wanted it to have a distressed vibe. the stuff smooths on pretty well though, so it didn't really matter anyway. when the leaf had all been applied, it looked like this (notice the scraggly bits all over the seams):

the leafing instructions suggested using a soft cloth or piece of velvet to burnish it and buff off these bits. i used a swatch of velvet from my fabric sample stash, and it worked really well:


warning: silver leafing will turn your living room into freaking tinkerbelle's fairy dust party extravaganza. even after a good vacuum and a shower, you will sparkle for days. after the glitter settled, the tables looked like this:

only i wanted something less shiny and a bit spotty, kinda like an old mirror, so i finished the tables with a coat of antiquing glaze:

here's one in action:

both tables are complete and in place now, but the one on the other side of the bed is hard to photograph, and also nekkid at present. next on the list for the bedroom: bedside table lamps and window treatments. go.

for kicks and giggles, here's a glimpse of the bedroom last spring, before the wedding. note that this is not a true "before," as i'd already done a considerable amount of sprucing to captain fantastic's bachelor pad by then. the true before, which was also before i blogged and therefore undocumented, involved brown plaid sheets, a black/pink/blue/yellow quilt and a picture of an 1800s log cabin from an estate sale, hanging off to the side of the bed (because the nail was in that spot when he moved in, duh).

and now, the "during" (since there's still work to be done)

and now the real work begins: teaching c-fan to consistently use a coaster. hmmm...


Anonymous said...

Your table looks fantastic! Great job.

Anne said...


Gorgeous!!! I'm totally going to copy you.

Love the antiquing glaze. Did you seal the silver leaf, too? If so, before or after the glaze?

maribeth said...

oh, lauren! i am not sure which i should comment on first: your beautiful side table or your amazingly clean side table. it is beautiful! i prefer it to the horchow table because yours is much more usable in a home not located in the hollywood hills. i love it!

lauren @ gathering moss said...

thanks so much, y'all!

the glaze i used is actually a sealant too, so i put it directly on the silver leaf, as my friend mrs. jones suggested. however, i think i may end up putting a layer of poly on top to make it more durable, given the use these tables will see.

haha maribeth, i totally styled this photo before taking it. don't worry, it's no where near this neat on a daily basis!

Miss Mustard Seed said...

Very glam! I love leafing things. I just did a gold leaf frame for a client and, you're right, it makes a mess. I had gold leaf floating around my kitchen floor for a few days. Nice work!

Unknown said...

Love it per usual. Very cute. We almost bought those side tables at Tar-jay last month and I thought "well it is just a bit too plain." Of course I didn't think about silver leaf!!

As for the antiquing glaze - tell me about it. I've got two white chairs that are in our dining room and are a bit too stark white. I've been wanting to make them more of an "antiqued white" look. Would this work for that?

two Excited nests said...

Oooh, this is so gorgeous! I just added you to my Google Reader!

Courtney said...

BEAUTIFUL job! This is just gorgeous! So glad you commented, and I ended up finding your blog!

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