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Gilding Frames

Create gorgeous frames on a budget! Save money and add a touch of class to your home with this easy gilt frame tutorial. With metal leaf and adhesive you can turn your old wooden picture frames into a showpiece!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
Drying time1 hr
Total Time2 hrs 35 mins
Keyword: craft, decor, DIY, Home Decor
Servings: 6 picture frames
Author: Kristen Stuertz
Cost: $40


Gilding Materials

  • 2 individual wooden picture frames you can make up to 6 16" x 20" frames with 100 metal leaf sheets.
  • 1 bottle metal leaf adhesive any brand
  • 1 packet 100 metal leaf sheets size 5.5" x 5.5"
  • 1 glass jar
  • 1 paint brush 1 inch or a Gesso brush
  • 4 sheets newspapers or any type of protective sheet.
  • 1 microfiber towel A paper towel works if you don't have a microfiber towel.

Antiquing Materials

  • 1 roll paper towels
  • 1 bottle bottle of metal leaf sealer or Mod Podge 2 oz or more
  • 1 paint brush 1 inch or a Gesso brush
  • 2 tubes acrylic paint brown and black
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 glass jar


Gilding A Frame

  • Protect your work area with newspapers or a drop cloth.
  • Pour approximately 2 tablespoons of metal leaf adhesive into a glass jar.
  • With a paint brush coat the picture frames with a thin layer of metal leaf adhesive. Make sure there aren't any large puddles or bubbles.
  • Allow adhesive to dry around 30 minutes. (Or per the bottles instructions).
  • Once dry, the adhesive will become clear, shiny, and slightly tacky to the touch.
  • One at a time, carefully lay metal leaf sheets over the frames. Cover the entire surface trying not to overlap. To fill in tears, use a smaller pieces of metal leaf to fill in the gaps.
  • Take your towel or microfiber cloth and rub off excess metal leaf. Rub until the metal leaf has completely adhered to the wood.

Antiquing A Frame

  • In a glass jar, mix a dime sized amount of brown and black acrylic paint with water.
  • Cover picture frames with watered down paint and rub off with a paper towel. Repeat steps until you get the aged look you like.
  • Allow acrylic paint to dry completely.
  • Using a paint brush, coat frames in Mod Podge or metal leaf sealer. Allow to dry completely.
  • Hang your frame and enjoy!


Don't worry about getting rips in your metal leaf. You can fill in the gaps with smaller pieces, but a few cracks here and there give the frame an aged look. 
You might have to play around with the amount of paint and water for antiquing your frame. For a stronger look, add more paint and use less water. For a lightly aged look, water down your paints more.