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Create A Little Magic This Autumn

With This Simple Gold Leaf Project…

It’s been said that all it takes is a lovely display of pumpkins outside a grocer’s shop for me to stop in mid sentence, stare whimsically mouth open for a few long seconds and forget entirely what I was saying – it’s called in our house, ‘a pumpkin moment’ . Roddy has witnessed this first hand as we were rushing very late to an autumn wedding and is forever grateful to that grocer as it saved his ears from my animated rant about how we should have checked the address and left earlier!

It’s true, I have a thing for colourful fruit and veg, its such an easy and fairly economical way to decorate through the seasons and the best part is that you can cook or eat the display afterwards! Autumn is one of the best for this with rich colours from amber and yellows, to orangey reds and plum colours think pumpkins, pomegranates, aubergine, plums, berries you can pick, persimmons, kumquats, lychees ( exotics are available in supermarkets virtually year round of course), red onions, purple cabbage the list goes on – they are a fantastic way of creating little pops of colour in the form of an edible still life – the Dutch Masters are a great source of inspiration and you can give it your own quirky twist. I would advise reining in your colour palette a bit or it will end up looking like you’ve emptied out the fruit bowl or shopping trolley onto your table! For todays post, I chose rich plum shades, dark red leaves and punchy oranges ‘earthed’ by a stripey pumpkin and some nuts.

If you follow us on instagram @curioegg you’ll have seen the incredible autumnal arrangements created with our products by the talented @mademoisellepoirot (I’d also highly recommend having a read of  her blog which has amazing tips on styling, interiors and food). The main image you can see at the top of this page is one she styled with our kavata tray and all sorts of lovely seeds, an antler and heather – like handpicked ingredients for a little Autumn magic spell!

So with this in mind and in the spirit of autumn ( I love autumn!), I thought I’d do a little DIY blog post on how to create an autumnal candleholder for your hall or entranceway that will announce the season and welcome you everyday along with any guests to your house.

This is very easy takes approx an hour and a half in total so follow the steps and away you go.

equipment list for Autumn DIY blog post

Equipment List

  • 3 x  candles ( I picked black ) diameter approx 2.3cm 
  • 3 x Curious Egg hand forged brass candle cups 
  • 1 x small bottle of PVA glue
  • 1  x small bottle of Japan Gold size ( special fast drying varnish for gold leafing available in art shops or online – you will use it again!)
  • 2  x squares of Faux Gold leaf cut into 3cm strips keeping the tissue attached. 
  • 1 x small soft paint brush &  1 x decorators paint brush 1 “
  • 1/2  x cup of matt emulsion paint colour of your choice ( I used left over black paint I had)
  • 1 x terracotta pot approx diameter 15cm with a disc of tin foil pushed into the base to cover the hole
  • 3 x cups of sand approx

 

Method:

Unless you want to keep the terracotta colour (it is actually quite fitting for autumn!) you’ll need to paint your plant pot. Firstly though, terracotta is a porous material so it’s a good idea to seal it to keep out any dampness from the sand you’ll add which could affect your paint surface over time. A ‘secret’ solution for all sorts of purposes like sealing plaster walls is to mix 1 part PVA with 4 parts water in a jar. For speed I just added some of this mix to the first coat of paint . Let this dry approx 20 mins in a warm room.

Then paint a second coat of paint only, you can still thin slightly to make it flow better and leave less brush strokes. Let this dry completely – 30mins approx

Take a small amount of gold size ( gold size has particular drying properties that make it different to glue and perfect for gold leafing) on your small brush and paint around the collar of the pot, it doesn’t have to be too neat a band because you don’t really want a hard line at the bottom edge. Leave this until it seems almost dry but not completely. It shouldn’t be sticky just mildly rubbery and the leaf will stick to it immediately – 15mins approx

N.B. Unless you have recently come into an inheritance sum then don’t use real gold leaf! Its much more delicate (never mind the cost!) and that’s why it requires special pads, brushes and handling as it literally take off into the air when you breathe. I once used 24 carat gold leaf on a sculpture that I was making to a tight deadline and so was working into the wee hours. I was in the utility room in the house ( the only place I could find to hang the sculpture from the ceiling) and attempting to gold leaf a giant hoop when I looked around and most of it was suspended in mid air and gradually coming to rest on the washing machine – never to come off again! It’s now the most expensive washing machine in the world and we had to leave it behind when we moved! ….I just felt I had to illustrate the point.

Then pick up a strip of gold leaf using the tissue it comes wrapped in, peel back the tissue and press against the band where you painted the gold size, work your way around the pot until you have a nice gold collar with a broken edge and all the size is covered. It will look messy at this stage as the leaf will be sticking up but this is the way its supposed to look don’t try to peel any off if anything press it on!

Let this dry and settle fully – 15mins approx depending on the kind of gold size you used ( this is why you don’t use glue because it would take much longer to dry and makes the gold leaf damp and dull – it can then tear when you come to rub it.)

You can remove the loose pieces by gently rub the surface with your thumbs to get rid of excess – some people use very fine wire wool to distress the surface but I like it to look like fine threads or ‘angel hair’ or maybe I just have rough thumbs!

You might ask why not just use gold paint? You can of course, but it just doesn’t have the same luminous quality, richness or texture, trust me, once you try gold leaf you’ll become addicted  -it just makes everything a little more special! See my winter dining room post and the bar trolley I created. The great thing about faux leaf is you don’t have to lacquer if its not in heavy use as it doesn’t tarnish!

Then you can fill your pot with sand just to where the inside ‘collar’ begins and push down well so the sand compacts.  Pop in the spiky end of the candle cups and sit the candles in their holders. This pot could sit on a tray similar to our Kavata tray and surround with fruit and nuts and other autumnal decor on a hall console or on a shelf in the entranceway. You could even add in a chalked message on blackboard for fun! Why not make a few in odd numbers as a gorgeous table decorations for a mini banquet at home – place them along a table with foliage, fruit and nuts winding in between  – Happy Halloween!

This project is quick and easy and you can use any colours light or dark on your pot. The black and gold combination makes these glam enough to save for the Christmas table – an economical table piece all round really, don’t say I’m not good to you!

About The Lorraine Aaron

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