Surface Treatment Workshop

Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 12

Week 12 of the Surface Treatment Workshop is all about Metal Leaf. This weeks’s major discovery for me is that I DON’T LIKE metal leaf… !! I’ve never used metal leaf before and probably never will again but it’s part of the workshop so I’ve done it and given it my best shot….

You can click the images to view them in more detail…

Week 12 - Metal Leaf - Gold Lace - NB
Gold Lace

Above is my first sample – metal leaf over some lace. This actually worked quite well. I stuck my lace to some thick paper with PVA glue, then applied more glue over the lace and applied my metal leaf over the lace. I carefully pushed the metal leaf into the lace thoroughly to make sure the pattern showed through.

For my next sample I applied glue through a home made stencil and then applied the metal leaf over the stenciled glue:

Week 12 - Metal Leaf - River of Gold - NB
Rivers of Gold

It kind of worked OK, you could see the pattern but the edges weren’t crisp – probably something to with my technique…. ! So I then collaged around the metal leaf with some of my left over art work from previous projects and blended in some oil pastels.

How both samples look in my sketchbook:

Week 11 Sketchbook - NB

Now, why didn’t I like metal leaf?? I’ll tell you:

Firstly, I discovered I had the same issues with metal leaf as I did with the aluminium foil (Week 3) – it’s difficult to apply colour to the shiny surface. Secondly it’s incredibly flimsy, delicate stuff to handle and use – it tears very easily. Thirdly,  it’s very “fly away” – when you rub your excess metal leaf off just breathing too closely makes the stuff fly every where. I’m going to be picking up metal leaf bits for weeks….

In conclusion then my final question is: why should I faff around with gold metal leaf when I can use gold acrylic paint instead? Gold acrylic paint is quicker, easier, and cheaper to use and the end result is the same….. ! Of course, this is just my personal observation and experience of metal leaf. It will not be featuring in my future art works…

20 thoughts on “Surface Treatment Workshop – Week 12

  1. I feel the same way, Evelyn! But…you rocked that lace piece and the stenciled piece is marvelous – I love the irregular edges. That’s the stuff that brings us to the present and outside the comfort zone. I’m a big “linear” habit artist and tilting things and irregular edges usually freak me out. But seriously, you rocked these pieces. And the flyaway ‘ash’…yep. Be sure and check your face and hair!

    1. Thank you Carol – I do quite like the lace piece but I wasn’t too sure about the stenciled collage. But I’m glad you like it Carol, maybe it will grow on me! I love torn paper edges on my collage work… !

  2. It’s good to experiment and finding what we don’t like is as important as finding what we like. I’m always thrilled when I can eliminate a techniques since I do too many as is. I do like your pieces-good job especially when you didn’t like using metal leaf.

    1. Thank you Sandy – yes, you’re right it’s just as important to discover what we don’t like as what we do like. And this workshop has been an interesting learning curve for me, as I still regard myself as being at the beginner end of the art experience scale. I’m gradually discovering what I want to focus on in art and what I don’t…

    1. Thank you Jodi – I do like the blues and the gold together! But on the whole, I’m not totally in love with these samples, I feel I have done better work…

  3. Really good to step outside your comfort zone from time to time, Evelyn, and to experiment with unfamiliar materials even if you hate them! I’ve never used metal leaf but I’ve done a bit with foil. It does give a more reflective surface than gold acrylic paint. You can colour any shiny surfaces like this with alcohol inks, which work well. I also use gilding flakes which give a great effect. I do like your samples, though, especially the lace one. Interesting effect.


    1. Thank you Shoshi – I was miles out of my comfort zone here… ! I didn’t know I was going to hate it until I actually tried it – but I guess that’s the whole idea of experimenting! I may try alcohol inks on foil sometime, but I don’t actually have any – so they will go on my “to buy” list….

  4. Good for you for trying it again, even though you didn’t like it. I think I’m going to take your word for it, and not try it myself. Thanks!

      1. Waste of time…but it can be a strongly ingrained habit to say things nicely for no real reason, so I appreciate your straightforwardness. 🙂

  5. This is an interesting experiment, I wouldn’t have thought of using it over something textured like this. Does your book specify what type of glue to use? I’ve only used gilding flakes with stamps but the glue that came with my kit remains sticky even when “dry”. Once the flakes hit the glue they’re stuck and I just buff the loose bits off. They are messy though and blow around with the slightest draught.

    1. Thank you Sunnyfae – no the book doesn’t specify what kind of glue to use, my sister used a glue stick and that didn’t work too well but she did use acrylic gel medium which she said did work well provided you let it dry thoroughly first. I just didn’t like the metal leaf at all – paint is so much easier to use….

      1. Trying out these techniques and supplies out like this is a great way to find out what does and doesn’t excite you, it’s all valuable experience. I love to see how the experiments work out. x

      2. Me too – experimenting with these products is a huge learning opportunity for me, and then by the end of the workshop I will hopefully have a more clear idea of what I want to focus on…

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