Easy Faux Gold Leaf Paint Trick

Tutorial for how to do an easy faux gold leaf paint technique that looks like the real thing. The Creativity Exchange


I have been in the process of re-styling my living room bookshelves. I really just wanted to update them and add some touches of teal and gold leaf. I don’t have a lot to share yet because I have just started but I wanted to share with you guys a super easy shortcut for adding gold to accessories to make it look like exactly like gold leaf.

I have worked a lot with gold leaf and it can be time consuming. This little trick is instant and looks just like the real thing when you don’t want to mess with traditional leafing.

I had this decorative box on my shelves that had this sort of white washed rusted metal work around it:

Tutorial for how to do a quick faux gold leaf that looks like the real thing. The Creativity Exchange



I wanted to give this box just a touch of gold leaf to tone down the rusted part (I love the white oxidized part) so it would blend better with all of the gold leaf accessories going in my shelves.

My secret weapon is a gold enamel paint made by Testors that is used for model cars and model airplanes.  You can find this paint at any craft store in the model car section and the best part is that it is only $1.99:



I have used this gold paint for years when I want to do a gold rub or paint something gold because out of all the gold paints out there, this paint looks the most authentic.  It is exactly the shade of gold leaf.

For my faux gold leaf technique, I use a very small angled brush like this that is used for oil or acrylics:

Tutorial for Faux Gold Leafing. Looks just like the real thing. The Creativity Exchange



There are two different ways to apply the gold (be sure and shake jar well).  The first way is to very lightly brush on with very little gold on the brush.  A safe trick is to lightly dip the brush into the paint and then wipe excess off on newspaper and then very lightly and sporadically apply.  It also helps to hold the brush flat/flush like this:

Tutorial for how to do a quick faux gold leaf that looks just like the real thing. The Creativity Exchange


This dry brush technique is the best way to start because you will quickly get a feel and get use to this paint and you can always add more.  It also will give you more control of how much you want to gold leaf.

The second way is to get a generous amount of gold on your brush (just shy of dripping) and add clumps of the gold paint sporadically.  This is where the gold will really stand out like leafing.  Here is an image to show you the difference between the first and second technique:

Tutorial for how to do a quick faux gold leaf technique that looks just like the real thing. The Creativity Exchange


Old gold leaf is rarely solid but rather flaked off in places.  So, to get this old flaked off look, add your gold paint sporadically around.  In other words, leave some bare areas.  Notice in this image how the paint is just in spots:


Tutorial for how to do a quick and easy faux gold leaf that looks just like the real thing. The Creativity Exchange


After the gold dries (it’s enamel, so it takes 24 hours), you can get an even more gold leaf flake look by using a small wire brush and very gently rubbing just a spot here and there. As you rub, you will start to see that flaking.

Faux Gold Leaf Technique. The Creativity Exchange



How to do an easy faux gold leaf technique that looks just like the real thing. The Creativity Exchange

One last trick, you can always sporadically go over your gold leaf with a little white paint mixed with water if you over did the gold.  A little white wash over the gold helps diffuse and makes it look even more like the real thing.

I hope you guys can use this little gold leaf shortcut.  It sure saves so much time and it’s a great way to instantly update old accessories.

Thanks so much for stopping by!



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11 Responses to Easy Faux Gold Leaf Paint Trick

  1. sherry hart says:

    Pretty cool! And a cheaper alternative to gold leaf:) Looks good

  2. Looks beautiful! What a great idea.

  3. Robbie says:

    Great! Now I can ‘quick-fix’ some of my dark metals – Thanks again, Cyndy!!

  4. Laura says:

    Thanks for the great tip! So affordable too. Love that!

  5. Pat says:

    Beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing ~ certainly less expensive and not as messy. 🙂


  6. Mary Ruth says:

    I love the look you get with Testers paints! Thanks for you great tutorial on this shortcut to gold leafing! You are a dear for sharing it with all of us!

  7. Love it, thanks for the tip about the paint and also how to use it.

  8. annmarie says:

    wow! much better than rub n buff—i scored a huge victorian mirror with awesome pointy gothic arch frame and got hubby to prime for me as the gold paint used on it had turned brown very un-gold…do u think i coud use this paint on a large project like that? I had thought rub n buff but it doesnt get a real gold leaf look, only a suggestion of gold. i had even thought of faux gld leafing it but it has so many cruved surfaces rosettes, etc…that i thought it might be too difficult.

    • Cyndy says:

      Yep! Testors gold paint paint is a breeze annmarie and absolutely perfect for what you describe! I would not do it solid though, I would paint a dark color and let it dry and then dab your gold in and around. Please come back and tell me how it turned out! 🙂

  9. Janice Zawitkowski says:

    I plan to use a geometric stencil in my small navy blue bathroom on my white ceiling. I would love to effect a gold leaf look, but the thought of actually gold leafing a ceiling (even a small one) is daunting. Would this paint work in that application?

    • Cyndy says:

      Yes Janice!! This paint would be PERFECT for that type of project! However, you may want to test to see if you can seal over the paint with a metal leaf sealant to keep the paint from turning. I would worry that the heat/air could cause a tarnishing affect. It would have to be sealed in some way just like metal leafing has to be sealed. This would for sure save you so much time versus gold leafing! Please keep me posted!

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