Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend. The leaves are turning, it feels like fall, and Hocus Pocus is on repeat. Life is good, with the exception of the creepy skeletons, zombies, and fake cobwebs all over everyone's yards in my neighborhood.
If Tim had his way, our house would be the craziest, creepiest one on the street, or even in the city. He LOVES Halloween. I however, have always been on the fence. Yes, I love the aspect of dressing up and bedazzling my costumes to death, and of course I love the candy. What I can't get on board with (and continue to try year after year) is the scary aspect of the season. Give me sparkly pumpkins, a little candy, and a bedazzled costume and I'm a happy girl. I don't need to subject myself to haunted houses, haunted hayrides, or any of the terrifying movies that seem to play nonstop on TV this time of year.
That's where this little craft comes in. Gold? Check. Not scary? Check. I'm on board.
For the past few years, my go-to Halloween craft was glittered mini pumpkins. After all, they are the CUTEST (see?). I wanted to try something a little different this year, and something that will last a few seasons. Crafting is fun and all, but you sometimes wind up spending $50+ on something that gets eaten by squirrels or rots within a month, and that's not a fun investment. Consider me another year wiser, because these pumpkins will stand the test of time and squirrels, which is well worth the money in my opinion.
I'm always on the hunt for Halloween decorations (or any holiday, for that matter) that match my aesthetic and the style of our home. Minimal, neutral, white and/or gold are key. I'm sure you aren't surprised to find that most stores don't really carry those types of Halloween decorations, so I decided to make my own. These gold leaf pumpkins are exactly what I envisioned, and I love how they turned out... perfectly imperfect.
The good and bad thing about working with gold leaf is that it's always an experiment, and it will never turn out exactly how you want it to. The material is incredibly delicate, the adhesive is thin so it occasionally runs, and your "perfect" pattern will turn into something even more beautiful and unique each time. Perfectionists, get ready to practice some patience :)
Initially, I had planned on making matte pumpkins with shiny gold leaf. The matte paint would contrast against the shiny gold to pop even more, but then I realized that gold leaf sealant is shiny, sooo there went my 24+ hours of paint & dry time for the chalk paint. Whoops. My once-matte pumpkins are now shiny, but I love them nonetheless.
Here is what you need to make your own gilded pumpkins...
Cardboard and/or foam pumpkins (I used a combination of both)
Acrylic paint (I used chalk paint, but like I mentioned above, the gold leaf sealant is shiny so there's no use in using matte paint)
Paint brushes (one for each paint color, one for the gold leaf adhesive, plus one extra to get rid of excess gold leaf)
One gold leaf kit (I used this kit from Pat Catan's)
On a covered surface, paint each pumpkin. Apply a second coat of paint and let dry. Once the paint has dried (allow for at least 6 hours or until paint is no longer tacky - I let the paint dry overnight to be safe), begin to apply the adhesive that comes in the gold leaf kit. Use a thin bristle paint brush to apply the adhesive in random strokes and patterns. I made small dots, odd shapes, and a few squiggly lines to get a completely random, somewhat natural looking pattern. Use a small amount of adhesive because it will run, and affect how your pattern turns out.
Carefully read the instructions on the gold leaf kit and do not apply the gold leaf immediately. The adhesive needs to become tacky and will turn clear after about 30 minutes. Take out one sheet of gold leaf at a time once the pumpkins are ready to be gilded. (Make sure you don't have a fan on, or kids/animals running through the house while you're working. The gold leaf will get everywhere!) Using pieces about 2" in size, begin applying the leaf to the adhesive-covered areas. I'm sure there are several different techniques, but what I found easiest was to tap the gold leaf in place, and continue reapplying the gold leaf until all of the areas are covered. It's a relatively forgiving material and you can smooth out most imperfections.
Depending on the size of your pumpkin, this could take up to 10 sheets of gold leaf. This is the part that becomes kind of monotonous, but be patient! You're almost done.
Once all of the gold leaf has been applied, use a dry paint brush to smooth away any flecks of gold leaf that didn't stick to the adhesive. Continue brushing away the excess gold leaf on a covered surface until you're finished brushing each pumpkin.
Using the foam brush, apply a thin coat of sealant to the entire surface where gold leaf has been applied. I do not recommend skipping this step - you don't want little bits and pieces of gold leaf flecks flying around your house, and trust me, they will. Allow the sealant to dry before styling up your pretty little gold leaf pumpkins.
I hope you have a happy, just-the-right-amount-of-spooky Halloween season!