Thursday, January 20, 2011

Shine On

I was feeling a little artsy the other day and decided to try something new to fill the space above the console table in the living room. 

I wanted to do something with silver leaf and being that I've never worked with it before, decided to try something simple on canvas.  Here's a pile of my supplies, including a 24" x 36" canvas (on sale at Hobby Lobby for $10.50!), a package of 5 1/2" square silver leaf ($8.99), green acrylic paint ($0.99), and some paint brushes ($0.99).  Not shown are the spray adhesive and spray sealer ($8.99/each).  And, of course when anything is placed on the ground, it's fair game for cat sitting.


I knew the silver leaf wouldn't be perfect and cover the whole canvas, and to be honest I wanted it to look a little distressed, that's why I started by painting the canvas a light green (including the edges).


After waiting about an hour for the paint to dry, I sprayed the canvas with the spray adhesive, not forgetting about the edges, which would be covered too.  The directions then said to wait 2-3 minutes for the adhesive to get tacky.  Then it was simply adding the silver leaf squares in a grid pattern until the canvas was covered.  A trick that I read was to use wax paper cut a little larger than the leaf square to move and attached it to the canvas.  The leaf is attracted to the wax paper and rubbing the wax paper on the leaf helps to ensure the leaf temporary sticks to the wax paper.  This made it easy to pick up and place the leaf onto the canvas without ripping, (or catching a breeze and flying away, which only happened once when I tried it without the wax paper).


(The orange sheets are the separator sheets that make it easy to pick up one piece at a time.  I tried using those to move the leafs, but they didn't stick to them like the wax paper.)

Here's a progress shot a little over half the way through:


As you add more, the edges overlap and are removed by brushing over lightly with a soft paint brush.  The more you rub with the brush, the more is removed.  I got pretty aggressive along the edges, because I wanted to make sure the green would show through.  After cleaning up all the pieces not stuck down to the adhesive, I sprayed the whole thing with the spray sealer, once in one direction, then another in the opposite direction.

In the end I like the overall look of it, and I like the contrast of the shiny silver leaf and the wall, I just think it would look better with a different colored wall.  Mike and I have talked about drawing something in black paint like a simple outline or silhouette, but we haven't agreed on anything, so it will sit like this until inspiration strikes:


By the way, the glass bowl usually holds wine corks that we've collected, but the little furball prefers them scattered on the floor, and doesn't let them sit in there for more than an hour before pawing them all out.

And a close-up to show the green that's shows through along the edges of the squares:

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