Monday, October 22, 2012

Fabulous Copper Leafed Dining Room Ceiling

As you know, I am not a professional photographer. My work is very visual and sometimes the camera just doesn't do it justice. If I have done work for you, I am sure you know decorative finishes always look so much better in person. Throw in the metallic, shimmery element of many of my favorite finishes and it's even worse. That being said, many of my projects go unphotographed or unblogged because they are lost in translation of the photos.
However, this particular project, that was not the case. Leafed or guilded ceilings always look AMAZING!

The process is really cool, albeit labor intensive. After all, hand applying hundreds of 5" square, very thin "leaves" takes some time. I've shown you silver leafing on some furniture in the past.

Painting the ceiling chocolate
So the process is the same, only larger. We started by painting the ceiling a chocolate brown in an eggshell finish. One coat is sufficient since it will mostly be covered by copper, but you want a color to peak through here and there. Next, it is very important to layout some grid lines so that you can keep your leafing somewhat on track. Otherwise, it will be curving allover the place and your client will think you've been drinking. The lines are more a guideline, but extremely helpful.
If you have a million dollars, they also put the leaves on a roll and you can roll it on in straight lines if that is important to you. I like the distressed old world look, so the old fashioned way works for me. If you forget this step and do it after the sizing, the leafing won't stick to your lines (I know this from experience. I know, I know, but I do occasionally make a mistake). Next, is the sizing (the sticky stuff that the copper sheets stick to). It's milky going on, but dries mostly clear.
Then, we start applying the leaves. You can't breathe during this time or you'll blow the leaves to the floor or worse, breathe them in. Mmmmm, six hours with no air...I think I'm beginning to understand my problem. With multiple people applying the leaves we try to spread out in different directions so that we are not all bunched up in one corner of the room at the same time. Reminds me of a Tetris game. A bad Tetris game. If you've played, you know what I'm talking about.

Now that the entire ceiling is leafed it's very shiny. Unless you are a raccoon, it's a bit much for most peoples taste.

So we use an oil glaze or stain to tone it down. I used a rusty tone for the copper to really make it rich looking. It's quite a different look with the glaze.

The finished look is gorgeous! I am newly inspired to work on a few of my ceilings. To finish off the room, we added a soft copper metallic glaze to the walls. It all tied together beautifully! 

I will be posting these to Houzz soon. If you want to keep up with more of my new projects, follow me.  And as always I would love your reviews and feedback and feel free to share. Enjoy!


  1. Beautiful! You weren't kidding, that does look pretty labor intensive. You did a great job!


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