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DIY Watercolor and Gold Leaf Technique

By: Lynn Spencer from
DIY Watercolor and Gold Leaf Technique
DIY Watercolor and Gold Leaf Technique
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"My daughter and I have been redecorating her bedroom recently, and still on my ‘To Do’ list was to gather some art for the ubiquitous gallery wall that she requested. We re-purposed many pictures and frames that we already had, but we needed some pops of pink and, as is my wont, I opted to make art instead of buy it. This was a nice, quick project and one that perfectly accomplished our goal."

Estimated CostUnder $10

Time to CompleteIn an evening

Primary TechniquePainting


Project TypeLearn a Technique

Materials List

  • Watercolor Pad
  • Gold Leaf
  • Gold Leaf Adhesive
  • Watercolor. For this project I used Cotman Permanent Rose and Cotman Cadmium Red Pale Hue
  • Wide brushes

How to Paint Watercolor and Gold Leaf Techniques


  1. Lay on the colors that you want in the watercolor.

  2. By using your brush to ‘draw’ a line in the paint, you create a barrier that the paint really doesn’t want to cross, but will if really forced to. I made my line a little wonky, as opposed to a straight line. You can force the paint to ‘cross the barrier’ by holding the paper up and lightly tapping it on the counter. I like the way this made a few streaks of color to go out on their own.

  3. Once that is dry, lay down the gold leaf adhesive where you want the gold leaf to be. You don’t need much of the adhesive, a thin coat will do.

  4. Wait about 45 minutes before you lay your gold leaf in pieces over your adhesive.

  5. Take a sheet of gold leaf. If you haven’t worked with gold leaf before, it is some fragile stuff. Don’t panic if it tears, wrinkles or folds. That’s part of the characteristic of it. You’ll notice it really wants to cling right to the adhesive.

  6. Use a soft brush to gently brush the gold leaf away from the areas with adhesive.

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I have been wanting to do some art for my walls and bought some gold leaf and silver leaf paper but have so many other things started and then I come across this tutorial and now I have got to go get my paints. This is also a gret way to teach a teen how to use the watercoloring technique which I am going to show my grandson. They can use their imagination and create their own art.


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