How To Apply Gold Leaf Decoration To Stained Glass

If you really enjoy making your own stained glass, you might be interested in learning how to enhance your creations with gold leaf. The addition of some beautiful gold leaf can give items such as Christmas baubles and table centre vases a real touch of seasonal luxury.

Here's how to do it.

What you'll need

  • a piece of stained glass (vases or baubles both work well)
  • a pack of gold leaf (ready to use and supplied on paper backing sheets)
  • a bottle of spray adhesive
  • a pair of scissors
  • a pot of gold leaf sealer
  • a small artist's paintbrush
  • a bottle of white spirits
  • some cotton wool buds

You can find everything that you need for this project in good craft stores or from your usual art glass supplier.

How to do it

  1. First of all, decide on the design or pattern that you would like for the gold leaf embellishment on your stained glass piece.  Now take your scissors and carefully cut the gold leaf (whilst still attached to its backing paper) into the desired shape.  
  2. Next, take the spray adhesive and apply a light dressing to the gold leaf.  For this stage, place a piece of old newspaper or cardboard onto your work surface, as the glue can easily end up straying from the target area. Don't apply the adhesive directly to the piece of stained glass, as you can finish up with too much glue in the places where you don't want it!   
  3. Now, carefully place the gold leaf shape onto the glass, with the glued side downwards.  Gently apply pressure with your fingers onto the gold leaf, smoothing it carefully over the glass.
  4. Leave the gold leaf on the glass for ten minutes or so to allow the glue to dry completely.  
  5. When the glue has dried fully, carefully peel away the waxed backing paper from the piece of gold leaf.  Do this very slowly to avoid dislodging the delicate gold leaf and spoiling your design.  
  6. Your final job is to seal the gold leaf so that it is protected from accidental knocks and rubs.  This is particularly important if you are decorating stained glass Christmas tree baubles, which could be damaged by stiff pine needles on a natural tree. To apply the sealer, simply use a soft, artist's paintbrush and brush a thin coating over the gold leaf only, avoiding the remainder of the glass.