Easy Afternoon Gold Leaf DIY

Oof. I hate that I’ve been such a lame-ass blogger lately. I find it so difficult to get motivated when I’m seriously bummed out, you know? (If you’ve been reading, you know why I’ve been bummed out. You’re sick of hearing about it, I’m sick of talking about it, blah blah blah.) But today, we woke up at an ungodly hour for Brad’s 10K – he finished in 1:06, woohoo! – so I felt like the day was hours longer. It just seemed wrong not to use that extra time for at least one project.

After screwing around with some supplies I found in my office, here’s what I came up with:

DIY White Yellow Gold Leaf Vase

I’m only slightly ashamed to say that this took me an entire afternoon, despite its simplicity. I don’t mind, though – I like to think of that time as an investment in my future crafting skills. You mess up, you learn, you move forward.

The original plan was to paint the inside of the vase with hot pink glass paint, then gold leaf the outside.

DIY Gold Leaf Vase - Materials

It started off well enough. First, I blocked off the section I wanted to gold leaf with Frog Tape.

DIY Gold Leaf Vase - Frog Tape

Since I knew the gold leaf adhesive would have to set for about half an hour, I applied that first with a foam craft brush.

DIY Gold Leaf Vase - Leaf Adhesive

It goes on milky, and then eventually dries to clear. That’s when you know you’re ready to apply the gold leaf. While I waited, I applied the glass paint (again, with a foam craft brush). And, well, it looked kind of crappy. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised – the whole kit probably cost about $8 from Michael’s, and it was the air-dry kind of paint. Real glass paint has to be baked. I decided to wait for it to dry to see if the coating would even out. In the meantime, I applied the gold leaf.

DIY Gold Leaf Vase - Glass Paint Gold Leaf

I really don’t have the patience or steady hands for good gold leaf application, which is a real shame, because I love it so much. But despite all that – and my lack of wax paper, which makes the job a LOT easier – I thought it came out OK. I was definitely pleased with the clean line when I removed the Frog Tape.

DIY Gold Leaf Vase - Glass Paint Gold Leaf

Meanwhile, though, my cheap glass paint wasn’t getting any better-looking. I attempted to pick out a stray piece of cat hair and realized that the paint was peeling right off, so I just peeled off all of it with my nails.

DIY Gold Leaf Vase - Leaf Only

Luckily, I had a back-up plan – a whole cabinet full of spray paint. I covered the outside of the vase with a Ziplock bag and taped along the edges.

DIY Gold Leaf Vase - Frog Tape Ziplock Bag

Ideally, I would have painted the inside of the vase neon pink, or perhaps lavender. But the only reasonable colors I had were white and yellow, so one of those would have to do. You want to hear something funny? I thought I could apply the primer to see if I liked the white, and then if I didn’t, I could just apply the yellow over it. UH, NO, IDIOT. It doesn’t work that way when you’re painting the INSIDE OF GLASS.

Luckily, I liked the white. Then I had the genius idea of adding the yellow to the inside, anyway, to give my little vase the oh-so-important P.O.C. (That’s Pop Of Color, people, and it is CRUCIAL.) After that, I touched up the gold leaf again, and then hit the whole thing with some clear sealer spray. Ta-da!

DIY Gold Leaf Vase - Gold White Yellow

The sunshine yellow goes perfectly in my office. Shocker, right? Everything ends up in there. I’m seriously running out of room for gold spray-painted tchotchkes.

DIY Gold Leaf Vase - Gold White Vase Vignette


It’s not exactly the most exciting thing I’ve ever DIYed, but I like it. And working on it took my mind off my knees for a little bit, which is always good.

Have you ever rescued a DIY from icky-streaky-cheap-looking failure?


  • I love love love how this came out! And sadly I can offer you NO help on your gold spray paint dilemma b/c I’m in the same boat! Just about anything I get ready to donate to the thrifts, I first spray paint gold (and then often end up keeping.) It’s bad. And shiny! 🙂

    • THANKS! Everything is better with gold spray paint … it’s SO HARD TO RESIST.

  • Lisa / Sunhat

    Seeing all of your wonderful gold items is making me itch to add some to my own home! I would have done the same thing about the white paint – I would have painted it and THEN realized I couldn’t change my mind! Sometimes you just get in a little too deep with your own projects. It happens to us all. It turned out great!

    • Thank you! You definitely need some gold items in your home … I think everyone does. 🙂

  • This project turned out so great! I love the vase, and it goes perfectly with the rest of your decor.

    • Thank you! Everything I make seems to match my decor, haha — I think I need to work on some DIY diversity!

  • Hahaha, I loved this post, this is how most of my DIYs go as well. A comedy of errors that somehow leads to a decent-looking end product and a ridiculous tutorial. It turned out great though!

    • A comedy of errors that somehow leads to a decent end product — sounds just like my life! 🙂

  • Really, really awesome project! I love the colors you picked! The POC is perfect!!

    • Thanks, Sara! Gotta love a POC!