How to Make DIY Gold Leaf Ornaments

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Make these easy DIY gold leaf ornaments for Christmas. Gold leaf is a fun and easy way to make beautiful DIY ornaments in just a few minutes!

Be sure to check out my other easy Christmas ornament ideas to make.

If you love gold leaf as much as I do, you might be interested in this post on DIY gold leaf candle holders.

applying gold leaf to a stencil on an ornament

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Gold leaf is so much fun to work with. I love how fancy it makes the simplest items look.

Applying gold leaf to ornaments is easy and quick. It’s also a simple way to make cheap or ugly ornaments look better.

I took this alcohol ink ornament that didn’t turn out so good and applied gold leaf, which made it stunning!

gold leaf on alcohol ink ornament

DIY Gold Leaf Ornaments

Supplies Needed:

A Note About Gold Leaf

When buying gold leaf, you have a few options.

The first method I used is the traditional method of using crumbling sheets, and adhesive in a jar that is used with a brush.

The second method I used is a bit easier. This technique uses foil sheets that are easy to use and require pressure to adhere the gold leaf to the surface.

The foil sheets can be used with a glue pen. (They can also be used with a laminator on paper, but that’s no good for glass ornaments!)

I used both options in this post and I enjoy both product types. Your choice will depend on budget and ease of use.

By the way, gold leaf comes in a variety of colors!

Method 1: Traditional Gold Leaf

I made this crab ornament with a stencil that I made with my Cricut Maker using an SVG from this set in my Etsy shop.

Stickers also work. For the best results, stick with simple designs.

  1. Clean your glass ornament with rubbing alcohol to remove any oils from your skin. This helps the glue stick better to the glass.
  2. Apply the gold leaf adhesive. Let the adhesive dry until it gets tacky. It takes about 15 minutes and will turn from white to almost clear.applying gold leaf adhesive to crab stencil on ornament
  3. Apply the gold leaf once the gold leaf is tacky. clear tacky glue on stencil
  4. Apply a sheet of gold leaf to the surface and place it on the glue areas. applying gold leaf to ornament
  5. Use a brush to burnish the gold leaf until it is firmly attached. Brush away the excess gold leaf.using a paintbrush to burnish gold leaf
  6. Blank spots can be filled by adding a small piece of gold leaf.gold leaf crab on ornament
crab ornament on tropical leaf

The crab is missing some leg parts, but that happens when you’re a crab.

crab ornament made with gold leaf

Method 2: Rub-On Foil

I used the paint swirl technique on this ornament before applying the gold leaf.

  1. Clean the glass ornament with rubbing alcohol to remove oils.
  2. Use the adhesive pen to draw on the design. Glass ornaments are slippery and the glue beads up a lot, so it’s better to go for an organic look. Let the glue dry until it gets tacky. It only takes a few minutes. applying glue to pink swirl ornament
  3. Rub gently to make the gold leaf attach to the glue. It’s attached when you see a clear spot on the gold leaf sheet. Rub gently so that you don’t break the glass!applying gold foil sheet to ornament
  4. Peel the foil away to reveal your design.gold leaf on pink ornament

Gold Leaf FAQs

How do you seal gold leaf?

You can use a gold leaf sealer or use a few coats of clear polycrylic. I prefer the spray kind for ornaments.

What do I do if my ornament remains sticky from glue?

If you still have sticky spots, they can be sealed with a few coats of clear polycrylic.

Why isn’t the gold leaf sticking to my ornament?

There are a few reasons why your gold leaf isn’t sticking to the ornament.

Did you use enough glue? Gold leaf requires a substantial amount of glue.

Did you let the gold leaf adhesive dry until it turned tacky? Gold leaf will not stick to fresh glue.

If you’re using the rub-on kind of gold leaf, are you pressing hard enough? (Be careful if using glass ornaments.)

I like to use a piece of paper to burnish it when I press the paper to the glue.

Can you gold leaf plastic?

Yes, you can gold leaf plastic! I used gold leaf on a cheap plastic Christmas ornament and it turned out beautifully.

plastic ornament with gold leaf

I also used a plastic ornament for my crab ornament as seen above.

Other DIY Ornament Tutorials

Pin for Later!

pink swirl ornament with gold leaf

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