How to Gold Leaf Bottles
We all know the old adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” I have been team treasure ever since I was a child, always enjoying creating things out of found objects. I remember once I used my dad’s scrap wood to build the wonkiest box to store my rocks in. Of course, my past in flipping found furniture, and even owning a vintage store are just a testimony of my love for found objects and seeing the beauty and potential in old worn out things. When the opportunity to join a group of bloggers to share upcycled projects came around, I signed up excitedly. I had seen several bleach designed denim jackets, and that’s exactly what I was going to do! Obviously by now you’ve seen my title, and know that’s not what happened. Along with most retail, thrift stores closed down, and I had to take a different approach with this project. As luck would have it, the beginning of this quarantine found me enjoying wine every night, so I had a few empties. 😉 (FYI I have since given up wine for the time being, because even though it was just a glass a night, I was feeling my anxiety rise.) I would imagine that across America, many people have empties laying around at this time, so today I am going to show you how to gold leaf bottles, and put those beauties to work as vases. Be sure to check out all of the other links at the bottom of this post to see many more creative upcycled projects. (This post uses affiliate links through which I earn a small commission. Thank you for your support!)
As luck would have it just before at-home orders happened, I received a shipment of wine from 90+ Cellars. I was fortunate to work with them on a sponsored instagram collaboration, but this blog post is not sponsored. They sent us a mixed box of whites and reds, and we were excited to try them! Also please note the bit of cabbage on our counter. You might not have seen it if I hadn’t pointed it out, but that’s the beauty of terrazzo. 😉 By the way, I really enjoyed the Cabernet, and Chris was a fan of the Pinot and Sauvignon Blanc!
Alright, so after you drink your wine, you’re ready to get started. I don’t recommend jumping into this project, or any project for that matter, immediately after emptying a bottle. Just plan on the next day or so.
I am going to take you step by step through this process, but if you would prefer a video tutorial, find that below the last step. One thing I need to mention is that I totally forgot to DO the last step because I had forgotten to order the product needed. I just wanted to mention that so you can be aware it’s not in the video. Blame it on the wine.
- empty bottles, clean and dry
- foam brush or other craft brush
- gold leaf (I used this imitation gold leaf, because have you seen the price of real gold?!)
- adhesive size
- gold leaf sealer or mod podge (not pictured because it’s the step I forgot!)
- If you have not already, clean your bottles well! I lucked out and the 90+ Cellars labels peeled off really easily, and I removed any remaining residue with lemon juice. If your labels are challenging, I highly recommend using Goo-Gone, and then cleaning with vinegar or lemon juice afterwards to remove the grease the product leaves behind.
- After the bottles have been cleaned and thoroughly dried, lay out some parchment paper or foil or cardboard to protect your surfaces, and paint your adhesive size on in a thin layer where you want your gold leaf. You could tape off designs, or paint designs- get creative! I like a random dipped look.
- Allow the size to cure for 30 minutes. After that time it will appear clear and feel tacky to the touch. You can barely see it in the photo below, but I promise it’s there.
- Apply the gold leaf sheets with the tissue paper they give you. It’s very delicate so work carefully. Simply press it into your cured size.
- After pressing it firmly in, use a brush to wipe off any excess, which will just float off because it’s so lightweight. You will be left with gold leaf on the pattern you painted. Continue until you’ve applied it to all of your size.
- The last step is to SEAL your gold leaf. It had been about 6 years since I had last gold leafed glass, so to be honest, I simply forgot this step, and I didn’t go back and read my old posts like I should have. The good news is, the sealer can be applied later, so mine eventually was corrected. The sealer simply protects and hardens so your project will stand the test of time. You can also use mod podge in place of sealer which is what I do because I typically already have that laying around.
If you prefer a video tutorial, I compiled my instagram stories with this project into one video for you. Just note that you will need to seal your project when complete.
Finally, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor! I placed mine as a grouping of vases on my table.
If you enjoyed this, check out my other gold leaf projects here:
- gold leaf mason jar planters
- gold leaf milk glass vases & glass bottles
- gold leaf tables
- gold leaf edged nightstands
- coral and gold leaf dresser
- lettered flower pots
I would be honored if you would share my project on your social media and tag me! You can pin it easily here. Also, if you recreate this project, I would love to see it. Email me at [email protected].
Now head on over to check out all of these beautiful upcycled projects! Hopefully these will give you some fun ideas for things you already have in your home, and you can recreate them into something new and beautiful.
14 Repurpose Project Ideas
Egg Carton Crafts String Lights – My 100 Year Old Home // DIY Furniture Restoration – Grace In My Space // Butterfly Kaleidoscope Art – The Handmade Home // Moss Covered Tin Can Vases – The Happy Housie