Golden Child: How to Gold Leaf Pretty Much Anything (Including a $20 Side Table)

By Brittni • Updated on 04/20/2016

How to gold leaf pretty much anything (including a $20 side table)

I’ve had this side table for ages and it’s undergone a couple of transformations over the years. It went from a glossy, semi-gross piece of furniture (when I bought it), to a matte finish color blocked little guy, to an all lilac option, and now to the golden child. Third time is a charm, right? And this one is definitely my favorite.

So, if by chance you’re interested in making your own gold leaf side table, or pretty much anything else you can think of, I have a tutorial for you.

How to gold leaf pretty much anything (including a $20 side table)

How to gold leaf pretty much anything (including a side table)

Click through for the full gold leafing tutorial…


  • old piece of furniture, like a side table
  • gold leaf sheets (I used somewhere between 20 and 25 sheets)
  • metal leaf adhesive size (which is basically glue for gold leaf)
  • paint brush for applying sizing + paint brush to remove excess gold leaf
  • sealer

How to gold leaf pretty much anything (including a $20 side table)


Make sure the table surface is free of debris. Clean with soap and water and fully dry with a rag if necessary.

Then, apply a thin coat of sizing across the surface to be gold leafed, with a brush. Smooth out thinly, without brushstroke marks, if possible. Then wait until the surface is tacky (between 15 and 60 minutes) and start applying gold leaf sheets, one sheet at a time.

Repeat this process over and over again, until the entire surface of your table is covered.

Let the glue sit and dry before touching up any areas that may need it. Then, with a dry brush, brush off any excess gold foil that did not stick to the sizing, if applicable. Let the gold leaf cure for 24 hours, then apply a clear sealer.

As you can see, the end result is a little on the glam side with all that gold. So, to tone it down, I painted the table legs a bright blue to bring in a trendy / cool vibe. Paint is a great way to balance out the shiny gold, just FYI, in case glam girl isn;t quite your vibe.

How to gold leaf pretty much anything (including a thrift store side table)

How to gold leaf pretty much anything (including a $20 side table)

How to gold leaf pretty much anything (including a side table)

Photography and styling by Brittni Mehlhoff

You can use this technique for loads of other furniture too – dressers, shelving, chairs, etc. Even smaller projects, like trinket dishes, artwork, and planters.

Have any ideas for additional gold leafing projects? I would love to hear your thoughts.

15 comments | Click here to reply

Oh, wow. I had no idea that they ere more expensive there, Gilly. 🙁 Although $16 still isn’t too bad if you’re covering a small to medium sized surface.


Wow – that is amazing! Craft products seem to be less expensive in the US than the in UK. I found some gold leaf sheets online over here and they were £11 ($16) for a pack of 25 6×6 inch sheets. It’s the same with loads of craft products – the US is more crafter friendly I think!

Gilly Maddison

Hi Gilly. A booklet of 50 sheets is $9-12 here in the states. Each sheet is 4 or 5 inches square, so depending on how large the surface you’re covering is, it’s pretty affordable. At least for a side table like mine.


It looks very beautiful – it’s got me thinking! Mmmmm – what can I jazz up with gold leaf? Is it expensive? I have only ever seen gold leaf flakes in teen tiny boxes here in UK craft shops and they are quite expensive.

Gilly Maddison

[…] Dale un toque único a una mesita, con un poco de oro y un azul potente. O simplemente el azul de las patas o las ideas que se te ocurran, pero coge el pincel ¡y […]

Ideas para el fin de semana - Demodé

Aw, thanks Marwa! Glad you like it.


This idea is mind-blowing, never crossed my mind!! That blue looks brilliant with gold!

Marwa | Enthralling Gumption

This side table especially was super easy, Michelle. Since it has a big flat surface for applying the leafing. You can definitely apply it to pretty much anything. 🙂


I find it rather hard to work with gold leaf on smaller pieces, but I bet it’s easier with this size. I could apply it on anything!


Thanks Corina. 🙂 A golden house would be pretty fun.


I could live in a golden house for the rest of my life if it was up to me! This table is absolutely adorable!

Corina Nika

Thanks Catherine. I love that color too. It’s Brilliant Blue from Behr.


Ooh love! That blue color is beautiful too! What is that color?

Catherine Blubaugh

Awesome Amanda. Glad to hear that!


Just the inspiration I needed! I’ve looked for side tables for months & haven’t been impressed with any, but this is perfect!
-Amanda Machell

Amanda Machell
Leave a reply