Monthly DIY Challenge: April

This is going to be short and sweet!  April is going to be my busiest month in a long time, so my project is teensy.  Literally. 

I got this nightstand from my grandmom's house.  It was nice, but not exactly my style (sorry, Grams)! 

I knew it had potential, though...

The sad thing is, I don't actually have a "before" pic!  Lame, I know!  I can show you what the dresser in the set looks like, so you should have a pretty clear idea.  Hopefully. 

You can see the out-dated hardware and speckle finish.  I've never been a fan of those speckles.  (Not to be confused with freckles, which I have and my dad always told me were cute, and I believed him.  So, I like freckles.)

Top left: Here it is with primer on it (I got a thick sticky primer, to help grip the silver leaf.  In fact, I believe it was called "Gripper."  Umm... yep!   I just picked it up at Home Depot for less than $10). 

Top right:  The nightstand after my mom and I applied the silver leaf.  I got a spray adhesive (I am totally a fan of spray anything, I hate painting) at Michael's (in the metal-leaf section) and silver leaf on paper backings. 
So, all we had to do was apply it and pull the backing off.  It is much better than the strait leaf kind,  which falls apart if you breathe on it wrong.  Highly recommend.  Don't get me wrong, when I say "all we had to do," I am sounding a little too nonchalant.  It was hard and took a loooong time.  You have to painstakingly line-up each sheet, affix it to the adhesive, and then lightly brush the paper lining on each sheet to remove any bubbles and make sure it is sticking.  You will want to softest paintbrush you can find, so that it doesn't tear up your lovely (and kinda pricey) silver (or gold) leaf

After all that, I used a heavy-duty spray varnish.  I just asked the person at the Home Depot paint counter what to get, and went with a water-based one.  My mom's advice was to go with something other than the stuff they sell in the metal leaf aisle, which dings and stains very easily.  My only complaint is that some of the super-shine you can see in the naked silver leaf is muted, as you can see in the bottom two pics.  It's still shiny and silver, but in some lights almost looks white.  My mom said the next time she does this, she is going to buy this lacquer that you pour over the top and it forms an almost glass-like coating.  She thinks that will help prevent damage to the silver-leaf.  I can see that, but I think you would still have to use something else on the sides, since that stuff is so thick.  I have already noticed a small discoloration where a drip of water from a drink (which was on a coaster that apparently decided to take the day off) sat for a few minutes on the top of my nightstand. 

I love my night-stand! I think the most major change was going from absolutely hating those hideous brass pulls to LOVING them once silver-leafed!  I have to admit, that part was sticky and horrible.  I used the spray adhesive and just went to town trying to stick the silver leaf on there.  My fingers ended up silver, too, which usually I might like, but by the time I was almost done with this project, I was SO over being silvered!  The grooves on the pulls (and many details on the nightstand itself) were really difficult.

Yes, I realize this thing is totally crammed between my bed and the wall!  I have a tiny apartment and a king-size bed.  Other furniture suffers. And yes, this is where I hide (not so well, apparently) my lap-top and phone charger.  Don't come try to rob me, though, that laptop is about as old as the hills.  (Also, it's not worth the a**-whooping I am SO ready to hand out to anyone who ever tries to do me wrong.  Karate and kick-boxing training plus about a year and a half of pent-up anger will not bode well for my robber.  ;)  But, that's for another post!  Hee hee! [I laugh.  But I'm not kidding.])
So, that's it!  My not-so-detailed-and-totally-thrown-together DIY post!  Next month will be better, I promise! ;)


Kerry at: April 10, 2012 at 7:32 PM said...

Yay! Thanks for sharing your tips on silver/gold-leafing. I was always curious about the process in detail; it seemed pretty daunting to me before this. Now it's more daunting, but doable. : )

And I can vouch that it looks amazing in person, especially with how it's styled in your room! Love.

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