Wednesday, December 16, 2015

"Treehouse" lantern - gold leafing DIY

I've had my eye on this lantern for years.  I don't even remember where I first spotted her, but it was absolutely love at first site.  

I think I very briefly mentioned that we added a tiny addition (literally only 140 sq to come, promise) and I really dreamed of hanging her in the new office / upstairs sitting room (affectionately called the "treehouse" now), however, I couldn't swing the pricetag.  So, I had to settle for recreating the look myself for less.

I found this Chelsea House light at South and snagged it during their sale.  I loved the lines of it and the option to have glass or not (right now we are going with no glass...who wants to clean that?!).

To make it look as similar as possible to my light crush I decided to gold leaf all the parts that were white and use a blue gloss paint (left over from highchair project) to the areas that were green.

I got all my gold leafing supplies locally at Jerry's Artarama.

First step - using the Mona Lisa Red Base Coat

Next, paint the sizing adhesive (Mona Lisa Gold Leaf Sizing is what I used) and very carefully sticking pieces of the tissue thin gold leaf to it once it becomes tacky (~15 minutes).  

This is a tedious process and a mess!!  I do think the result is worth it though!

After ~30 minutes I took a wad of paper towels and gently rubbed all over to smooth it out.  Flakes will come off and if it's more than you want, you simply repeat the process of adding adhesive and more gold leaf and then buffing again.  I wanted some of the red undercoat to show through to give it a slightly aged look.

It went from day to night, many times because this was a very time consuming project I did over several weekends and weekday nights...  The small lines of the light and curves made it more tedious than some projects.

I finally finished it just in time for the electrician to hang it for me (the exterior painters were outside working away while I painted, hence the covered windows!).

It's no Urban Electric Co. Hamilton, but overall I'm happy with the end result - it's a great size for the room and achieves a similar look for less.  I'll still pine away for the Hamilton for somewhere downstairs!

Hanging in the new treehouse!



  1. I like the light you painted even better than the one that was your inspiration!

  2. Looks beautiful! I can't wait to see the new treehouse!