My gold-on-wood flatware has started me on a gold-on-wood craze all over the house, starting with these bowls I made last month. Wooden salad bowls are one of those things I grew up with but we rarely used because they needed to be hand washed. Sound familiar? Welp, if that is the case and I have to hand-wash these bowls anyway, why not fancify (<real word) the outside? There was a stack of gold leaf sitting in my craft room for ages, begging to be released into something fabulous. Bonus: they look really good as nest for golden Easter eggs.
I know you were worried about that too.
I find wooden salad bowls at thrift stores all the time, usually untouched (like these) or scraped up pretty badly (not these – but I’ll have another project for those soon!). Most will have some sort of oil finish, so if you do this with the gold leaf, it’s important to use an adhesive that will really stick. I have been using Mona Lisa brand since art school, but you can find other brands all over the place. Normally you can gold leaf with regular white glue, but because of the oil finish on the bowls, I wanted to stick to the real stuff for this project.
Mona Lisa Gold Leaf Kit (surprisingly not that expensive)
Wide paint brush (best if it’s old/not precious)
Sealer (not pictured). In this case I am using Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge on the outside of the bowl. Even though theses bowls will always be hand-washed, I’ll take extra reinforcement wherever I can get it.
1. Brush the bottom half of the bowl with gold leaf adhesive.
2. Let it dry until it turns from milky white to a super sticky clear (around 20 minutes).
3. Pick up gold leaf with clean (dry fingers). I like to tear the whole pack in half to make sheets smaller and easier to handle — your call.
4. Use a brush to smooth out the leaf – it will likely stick to the adhesive VERY easily.
5. Use a lint-free cloth to smooth over the whole bowl.
6. Finish the outside with a sealer. Do NOT cover the inside of the bowl (where the food goes) with any sealer that is not food-safe. Note, “non-toxic” and “food-safe” are not the same thing. Allow bowls to cure one week before using.
The trick to working with gold leaf is to keep expectations low. It’s not for those seeking perfection. Personally, I love that these bowls have blips and bald spots. No two are alike. They make the perfect landscape for my Easter table, or, just an everyday lunch salad.
Man, that is going to be a majorly glamorous salad!