Wednesday, October 5, 2011

DIY faux silver leaf and/or faux mirrored dresser tutorial. AKA My 7 dollar mirrored dresser.

Pay no attention to the funky carpet! We inherited it with the house:)

Over the weekend my hubby and I put in a lot of time trying to faux silver leaf an old dresser we've had in the family for years. 

My husband put more time in than I did and basically took over the project for the most part. 

He's a pretty helpful guy and I"m really lucky to have him.  The bad part of this is that I told him we needed to sand down  the drawer fronts and sides before applying our faux finish. 

He, getting really caught up in so many other things he had going, decided against the sanding of the sides and drawer fronts and the results were less than stellar.  So, while this was a DIY flop for me, it still can be DIY success for you. 
All you have to do is basically make sure that whatever piece of furniture you are going to use has been thoroughly cleaned and sanded so that the surface is as smooth as a baby's bottom.  This is aluminum foil and it's not very forgiving. So prep time is crucial to your positive outcome:)

Cost for all of this was about 7 dollars!
You are going to need 2 sizes of aluminum foil, the wide kind and the normal size, wallpaper glue, and something to apply the glue with. I used a foam brush.   You can get the aluminum foil at the Dollar Tree and wallpaper glue anywhere.

I have frequented several sights where people used aluminum leafing to DIY a piece of furniture. I, not knowing anything about metal leafing thought, " Hey, that looks a lot like aluminum foil and if they can do that with aluminum leafing I'm sure I can do it with aluminum foil!" 

  I pretty much thought I had an original idea and was excited to show what I discovered to the blogging world of other DIY'ers.  I did some research however, and found a few other bloggers who have had similar ideas:

My best advice to anyone wanting their results as smooth and shiny as possible, is to use it on a piece of furniture that is rectangular and no wider than the widest version of aluminum foil they sell. 

My dresser was, and I was able to get a wide roll of aluminum foil to cover the tops and sides without having to piece it. We tried piecing it at first with the smaller aluminum foil and the results weren't so hot. However if you are going for more of a shabby chic look piecing it can be beautiful! Just look at the amazing transformations that I found in the above links!

                          Here is a quick tutorial:

Prep: Clean and Sand your surface if there are surface irregularities. Make sure it's free from all dust.

1) Measure out the size of foil you want and carefully cut. Decide which side of the foil you want to use. I used the shiniest side to make it look more mirror like.

2) Take your foam brush and apply wallpaper glue to the surface you are working on.

3) Have someone to hold the aluminum foil up for you while you work the other end. Smooth the foil with your hand in a karate chop position and sweep with your hand across the foil at an angle, while your helper is holding the rest of the foil up off of the surface. You want to do this project  with a helper to avoid getting too many air bubbles in the foil, by working small sections at a time. Continue working down the surface until it's covered.

4) Repeat with all other surface areas. If  you get air bubbles keep working them over to an edge and you should be able to get most of them out. We had a lot of problems with air bubbles at first but we were able to work most of them out.

Here is a close up of the wood grain. I love it!!!
5) If you are working on a wood surface use a small soft towel to smooth over the foil so that you can work the wood grain in to the foil. This makes a more realistic finish. To me it looked like brush strokes so looked more like what I imagined silver leaf to look like.

6) If you accidentally get wallpaper glue on the surface, and you will, clean it up immediately with a little soap and water. I read where others said their glue came off easily. Mine did not.

7) This is something I did but didn't get to take pictures. If you have wood grain showing through the foil, take some black acrylic paint and rub it into the grain. Let it sit for several seconds and then wipe it off until  you have the look you want. We had a look similar to something I saw at Z Gallerie: 

8) Editors Note: My dresser is getting small tears in it or nicks from items I've placed on it with sharp edges. You may want to seal this or use it on something like a nightstand that won't get so much wear and tear.

And that is about it you guys! I haven't given up. I'll probably redo this dresser again and make sure that prep work is done first. So, what do you think? Would you use aluminum foil to redo a piece of furniture? Let me know! And if you have and want to post pictures send them in and I'll add your photos up here as well! 

 Oh, one more thing!  Speaking of this Z Gallerie coffee table, I feel inspired to try my own version in the not too distant future! So, we shall see.

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  1. That's awesome!!!!!!! :D

  2. Very interesting. I never would have though to use foil on furniture.


  3. I really like the look of this silver dresser.

  4. OMGoodness! This is such an awesome makeover! I'm definitely gonna try this! Looks so expensive! Please come link up today at!

  5. Thank all of you. Sorry, I wasn't able to link up, I just checked back on my blog today and was a little late in getting your message. Thanks so much for the invite, though!

  6. oh my I luv luv this, but wondering how do you keep it clean?

    Would luv for my readers to see this awesome idea, will you please join our weekly party at
    have a great crafting weekend!

  7. Hi Maggie! Thanks for the comment. I use just a little vinegar and dry it in a circular motion. We use white vinegar, peroxide, and baking soda for most, if not all, of our household cleaning.
    Anyhow, so far it's worked:)

  8. You know, I wanted to silver leaf something the other day and thought about using foil as well. And here you've gone ahead and done it so I don't have to reinvent the wheel! What an interesting finish, you must be thrilled with your hard work. Thanks for linking up to Refresh Your Nest Friday, and who knows-- I might just have to try this idea in the very near future!

  9. Thanks, Carrie. If you do, make sure you seal it with something. There are a few others I've found who've used aluminum foil as well. The links to their projects are in my post.

  10. Nice creation..!!i have just seen the Gold craft studio is also values the creation.and they are good in gold leafing process,silver leafing process and antique leafing process....and many more.

    you can find it all details on http:///