A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that my vanity table was a little worse for wear after all of the makeup, hairspray, and the occasional flatiron melting. In the comments section, ya'll had some brilliant suggestions about how I could fix my problem: plexiglass. I was so excited by that idea, and couldn't wait to put it into action. I had planned to just add a piece of plexiglass to my old vanity (which was also originally a disaster), but when I came across a larger, much nicer desk at the thrift store last week for $15, I decided to donate the old one and start over. Here's the desk I found that I just knew would be an awesome replacement.
It had a few dents and scratches in the wood, but I absolutely loved the shape. It had simple enough lines that I knew it would be the perfect specimen for my first silver leaf project. I've had the below picture saved as inspiration for my little vanity area for quite some time here on Pinterest, and since cutting mirrors to fit my desk turned out to be way too expensive, I decided that using silver leaf would be a great, affordable way to achieve a similar look.
via Decor Pad
So here's how I did it.
This project was super time intensive (about 4 hours total) and super messy (glitter in my hair, glitter everywhere), but actually kind of easy once I got the hang of it.
Here's what you need:
Metal leaf adhesive
Silver leaf (Great deal on 100 sheets here. I used 50 sheets on this project, just leafing the top and drawers.)
Paintbrush (To apply silver leaf)
Sealer (I tried the one pictured above, but wanted something sturdier, so I ended up using Polycrylic.)
Sponge brush (to apply polycrylic)
Silver pray paint (I used my favorite silver color and you could probably achieve a similar look with the spray paint alone...if I'm being honest.)
*Above links all take you to my Amazon Affiliate shop.
I started on the drawers. After removing them from the frame of the desk, I sprayed the entire surface with my spray adhesive. It stays sticky for about 10-15 minutes, so it works best to work on small areas at a time.
Pardon my man hand.
Then, I applied one sheet of silver leaf at a time, laying it gently on top and smoothing it out carefully with my paintbrush. To avoid a line in between each sheet of leaf, I slightly overlapped them. The sheets are super delicate, and tend to stick to your
manhand. Whenever one would tear, I would just cover the gap with a smaller piece. There will be plenty of little pieces to choose from, as the silver leaf is super flaky, and you will end up with a million bits of silver leaf on the floor. Dropcloths come in handy.
Also, I definitely walked in some adhesive at one point and silver leafed my feet.
That added to my enjoyment of this project. :)
Once the surface is completely covered in leaf, you have to seal it. I ended up using 2 coats of Polycrylic.
And now for a moment of honesty. After several hours of silver leafing the entire top of the desk and all 3 drawers, I realized how hard it was going to be to silver leaf the legs and all of the parts in between each drawer. So, instead, I covered the top of the desk with some craft paper, left the drawers out, and then took the frame outside and spray painted the legs with a super shiny chrome metallic spray paint. It ended up working out perfectly, and since the larger surfaces are all silver leafed, it looks like the whole thing is.
Once the desk was done, I decided to put your suggestions into action. Even with two coats of Polycrylic, I knew that the top of the desk wouldn't hold up to my flatiron and face goo, so I decided to buy a sheet of plexiglass to protect the top. After searching around for a bit, we ended up at Lowe's, where they cut glass for free.
I say 'we' because after DAYS of working on it, this vanity became a family affair.
Jesse think vanity lovely, but Jesse hate vanity.
I came home with a perfect piece of plexiglass for $20. Seriously, who knew?!
You did. You knew.
The plexiglass top is super functional, and it looks great, too. I couldn't be happier.
And since I didn't want to ignore any inch of this beautiful little hard-earned desk, I decided to paint the insides of the drawers black.
And then I added beautiful crystal knobs to each of the drawers. I love the tiny bit of gold against the silver leaf.
I'm obviously having a metallic identity crisis lately.
This room changes about once weekly, as I'm sure you're aware of, but this new little addition is definitely one of my faves.
And with that, my silver leafing career is complete. As in, I'm never doing it again. :)
And as always, thanks so much for stopping by!
For related posts, please check out the following:
1 Bedroom, 10 Ways: Mistakes & Learning Lessons
10 Thrift Store Furniture Makeovers
10 Budget Decorating Tips
When I eventually decided to try again with the gold leaf
And feel to pin this post so you can find it later!