Monday 1 December 2014

How To Make Your Own Gilded Wreath!

Welcome to The Relics Festive December Post! 
This year, we're giving you a seasonal tutorial to create a stunning wreath,using variegated leaf to gild, making a beautiful statement on your front door, or as a Christmas table centrepiece.

We stock variegated metal leaf in two forms: loose metal leaf and transfer leaf. Transfer leaf, which we're using today, is easier to work with as the wax-backed paper allows a firmer hold, as well as strengthening the leaf.

Here's how to make yours!

You will need:

One of our vine wreaths
Garden foliage

Select evergreen foliage from your garden or the hedgerow. We've chosen viburnum, but ivy would work just as well. Holly is an option but be warned: it bites! 

Our vine wreaths are like round, plump doughnuts, with plenty of room to build up a layers. Begin by inserting your first stem. 

The stems work best if they are cut to a medium length (about 20 cm) with the leaves stripped from the lower end of each. This means that the bare twig can be inserted into the vine wreath without getting clogged up.

It's a good idea to keep all your stems flowing in the same direction to give the most professional finish. You'll notice that much of the foliage will have a natural bent one way or the other. Make sure that you manipulate the stem so that it bends the same way as the wreath base before insertion.

Keep building layer upon layer until you can't see any more of the vine base, and your wreath has a pleasing fullness.

Working your whole way around the wreath, squeeze your hands gently but firmly over the foliage to make a tighter shape. This helps to calm any wayward tendencies!

Pick out 7 or so new stems to gild. These should have nice big leaves so the gilding shows up really well. Coat each leaf surface with acrylic size. When size is ready, it becomes transparent and has a glossy sheen, whilst still remaining tacky.

Press a sheet of the transfer leaf onto each leaf at a time, using your finger, or a brush to give firm pressure all over. Then peel the wax paper away. This will leave the variegated leaf clinging onto the size.

Check for any areas that need a second (or third...) attempt. The wonderful thing about gilding with this method, is that you can have multiple attempts to get the look you want. Keep going until you are satisfied with the coverage.

Softly rub the gilded surfaces with a brush to remove any loose flakes and apply a thin coat of Liberon's Black Bison Antique Pine wax with a soft cotton cloth to protect the gilded finish. 

This is essential if you're planning to hang your wreath outside. Once the wax has been left for its allotted time, you can buff the waxed surface with a clean cloth. This will bring out a superb lustre to the variegated leaf.

Insert these gilded stems into the wreath, and remove any leaves that are not in tip-top condition.

If you're only just getting the gilding bug then you'll love our Gilding Kit, full of the essentials to get you going, and, at only £14.99 is a huge saving on the sum total.

We hope you love it as much as we do.

Happy Gilding

Merry Christmas!

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