Monday, December 21, 2009

#115...goldleafing metal

My friend Lisa's mom Liz got the above matching metal lamp and table as a wedding gift over 35 years ago. Liz asked me if I thought there was anything that could be done to restore the metal to the golden finish the metal had when she got it, as years ago someone had cleaned the metal with a chemical that had eaten all the gold off. The above two shots are of the metal condition when I picked them up from Liz.
Initially, I had hoped to take the pieces to be replated at a metal refinishing shop. With replating, the metal is first dipped in a stripper and then dipped in a new metal, dried, and meticulously cleaned and polished. You can choose from a variety of metals like chrome, brushed nickel or gold. Tyler and I have had most of the original hinges and doorknobs in our bungalow replated to a brushed nickel. Unfortunately, it is not an inexpensive thing to have done, and the price quote on Liz's pieces was in the hundreds of dollars. While the lamp and table do have some vintage value and are very cool in a Hollywood Regency kind of way, they are not worth spending hundreds on to replate.
I decided to try my hand at gold leafing them. I purchased gold leafing powder in two varying colors from the art supply store, as well as the liquid mixing medium needed to make the leafing paste. I used a brush and thinly applied the leafing, layering multiple coats, allowing each coat to dry in between. The liquid medium has a very strong odor, so I would recommend doing this in a well ventilated space.
It was a fairly easy process, and I think they turned out fairly nice. My other thought was to spray paint, but I think that the leafing turned out much nicer looking than spray paint, as the leafing process is actually applying metal onto the surface and not merely paint. Additionally, I picked up the new lampshade at HomeGoods, as the former shade was dry rotted and totally hid the black crystal at the top of the lamp base that you can see in the last picture below.

1 comment:

Sara Carolina said...

Those turned out so nice! I love that table!