DIY Network

How To Gold-Leaf a Lampshade

Add gold-leafed stripes to a metal lampshade for a warm, elegant look.

More in Decorating

add gold leafed stripes to metal lampshade
  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Apply the First Coat of Paint

Metal lampshades often come with a painted surface. If unpainted, apply a coat of cream-colored latex spray paint, and let dry.

Step 2: Wrap the Lampshade in Painter's Tape

Wrap 1/2" painter's tape around the lampshade in horizontal stripes. The placement doesn't need to be precise. Press the edges of the tape firmly to the shade.

wrap narrow painters tape around lampshade

Step 3: Apply Adhesive and Gold Leaf

Use a 1" brush to apply a layer of gold-leaf adhesive to the untaped areas of the shade. Let the adhesive dry about 5 minutes, until it's tacky to the touch.

To prevent the fine, tissue-like gold leaf from blowing around, do the project in a very still area. Carefully position a sheet of gold leaf on the shade, covering as much of the sticky area as possible. Use a Chinese brush or another soft-bristled brush to gently tap the gold-leaf sheet to the surface. Allow to dry for about 10 minutes.

Step 4: Remove the Tape

Peel the taped strips from the shade. Remove any adhesive left on the shade with a cotton swab dipped in mineral spirits, and wipe clean with a dry rag.

peel taped strips from shade

Step 5: Apply the Stain

Use a 2" brush to apply fruitwood wood stain to the entire shade. Marie suggests Benjamin Moore stain to achieve proper consistency and tone for the antiquing procedure.

Before the stain dries, crumple a few soft paper towels, and pounce the lampshade. This is called "ragging off" and adds a rich look to the surface.

applying the stain and ragging off