With the holidays upon us, it’s the perfect time to celebrate the bubbly. And Champagne always tastes better when served in a fancy flute. This is a simple, yet sublime way to dress up any glass item, with gold leaf!
My long-held impression about gold leafing or gilding was that it was very mystical and should only be done by alchemists or craftspeople who have been trained for years. I’ve since learned that it’s one of those crafts that is “easy to learn, but takes years to master.” However, in this case the basic techniques are all it takes to create a gorgeous result. Plus, with the introduction of lower-cost imitation leaf materials (e.g. aluminum and brass), this age-old craft is now accessible to the modern crafter. There’s a video tutorial here.
- Champagne flutes
- Specialty adhesive/size for metal leaf
- Rubbing alcohol
- Waxed paper
- Makeup sponges
- Small paint brush
- Imitation gold/silver leaf
- Paper towel or scrap of velvet
- Unused pencil eraser (optional)
First you’ll need to make sure that your glasses are completely clean and free of any oil or grease. Once cleaned, swab a little rubbing alcohol along the surface and wipe dry with a paper towel.
Pour a very small amount of the leaf adhesive into a shallow dish or plate. Dip the makeup sponge into the glue/size. I find that makeup sponges are just porous enough.
Focusing on the area just above the stem, ‘stamp’ the adhesive in a random pattern all around the bowl of the glass. Apply the adhesive sparingly, it’s very thin, you don’t want any drips. You can always go back and add more. When satisfied with the application, set aside to dry until the glue/size turns clear – between 10 and 30 minutes.
Metal leaf is VERY thin and can be tricky to handle. My favorite method is to get a piece of waxed paper, press it over a sheet of leaf, and ‘iron’ the paper over the leaf with your hand a few times. The static electricity helps the leaf cling to the waxed paper so it can be transferred.
Lay the waxed paper/leaf over the adhesive areas, covering completely. Use the waxed paper to burnish the gold into the adhesive and also rub away any excess leaf.
Last step: use a paper towel or scrap of velvet cloth to remove any dust or specks of stray leaf.
Your flutes are now ready to use. Needless to say, the leafed areas are delicate, so hand wash carefully!
To make streamer flutes, carefully paint on the adhesive/size with a very fine paintbrush. To make polka dots, cut a tiny dot from the makeup sponge, glue to the end of a pencil, and use to apply adhesive.
These flutes sell for a bundle in stores, but you can make them at home, personalize them, and for a fraction of the cost! I bought my flutes at the dollar store, the adhesive was under five bucks, the leaf, under ten. Amazing!
No go have some champers! Cheers! Click here for my latest video with more Champagne tips and tricks, and a how to video of this project!