Gild All the Things! (Except These 3 Things)

Give a golden touch to (almost) all of your favorite things.

As a James Bond fan, I love (secondary) Bond Girl Jill Masterson from the 1964 film Goldfinger. In the film she was painted in head-to-toe gold paint which led to skin suffocation and her character's untimely death. This goes under the "what not to gild" category.

I'm like, "What can I dip in gold paint?" If you're in the "METALLIC ALL THE THINGS!" camp like me, then here's a guide to what can and cannot handle the power of liquid gilding. That stuff is powerful, y'all.

Will It Gild? Find Out! 00:28

We test out materials to find out which ones gild and which ones don't.

14 Perfect Gilded Projects


Gilding and Framing Botanicals

Gilding and Framing Botanicals

Gilding and Framing Botanicals

How to Gild Botanicals

See All Photos

Beautiful Botanicals

Celebrate your love of nature by creating stunning botanical art works.

Choosing Your Botanicals

Choose and clip a variety of botanical specimens. I recommend choosing more than you think you'll need, as a few may not work after they are dried. Lay botanicals face-down on paper towels on a hard surface, making sure all leaves are straight and placed appropriately: they will dry just as you position them. Top with another layer of paper towels and lay heavy books or magazines on top. Make sure to locate this in a place that can remain undisturbed for several days.

Tools You Will Need

Here's what you will need: Clippings from yard (choose sizes and textures that will look nice when gilded and framed) / Frames in sizes of choice (the ones shown are 16x24 poster frames) / Brass gilding liquid 
/ Small angled brushes / Archival rubber cement 
/ Spray adhesive /
 Colored mat board in size of choice 
/ White mat board in size of choice (should be at least 2 inches smaller than colored mat board)

Gilding the Botanicals

You may want to gild some of the plants fully, while others look nice with the tips gilded or just part of each leaf. Reapply an additional coat if necessary after one hour. Allow the final product to dry for several hours before framing.

Arrange Botanicals on Mat Board

Using the white mat, arrange the specimens on each mat, keeping in mind how you want to arrange the final framed pieces. When you have the botanicals arranged in a pleasing way, use a small brush to lightly apply the rubber cement to the backs of the leaves and stem and press lightly onto the white mat board.

Adhere Botanicals to Mat

After they have dried, use spray adhesive to attach the white mat board and center onto the colored mat board that has been cut to fit your frame.

Gilded and Framed Botanicals

Place your prints in frames and hang in the desired location. These prints tend to look best when hung in multiples of two or more.

Feather Necklace

Gilded Feather Necklace 02:42

Learn how to make a chic, metallic feather necklace.


Update a Basic White Plate With a Gilded Edge

Update a Basic White Plate With a Gilded Edge

Create the look of a glided edge by using a gold metallic paint pen.

Photo by: Rustic White Photography, LLC

Rustic White Photography, LLC

Updates to Basic Plates

See All Photos

One Plate Gets Eight New Looks

Tired of the same white dinner plates? We've got eight easy projects that will jazz up your table without breaking the bank.

Photo By: Rustic White Photography, LLC

Try This: Modern Triangles

To create a custom modern triangle border on a plate, cut out mismatched triangles from gold tape, then place them around the rim of the plate. Tip: It's best to hand-wash this plate or strictly use it as a charger.

Photo By: Rustic White Photography, LLC

Try This: Scalloped Edges

Add a graphic, scalloped look along the edges of your plate with food-safe ceramic paint and a detail brush. First, start at one end of the plate, then work your way around. Next, create second or third layers by slightly changing the center point of each scallop until you've reached the perfect balance.

Photo By: Rustic White Photography, LLC

Try This: Loose Confetti

Bring a festive vibe to your next soiree by adding vibrant confetti to guests' dinner plates, then placing a clear glass plate on top. The confetti will add a metallic sheen, bold color and graphic shape to the table. 

Photo By: Rustic White Photography, LLC

Try This: Gilded Edge

Create the look of a timeless glided edge by using a food-safe metallic paint pen. Place the tip of the marker just inside the edge of the plate, then steadily make your way around the perimeter.

Photo By: Rustic White Photography, LLC

Try This: Marbled Effect

Combine the dipped look with the marbled effect for this sophisticated plate update. To do this, you'll need acrylic airbrush paint, a foam paintbrush and transparent acrylic extender. (Keep in mind that it's best to use this plate as a charger.) First, apply the transparent acrylic extender to the center of the plate, stopping where you want the line of the dipped look to begin. While it's still wet, apply the colored acrylic paint at the edge of the plate, then work your way to dipped line. Use the foam paintbrush to mix the acrylic paint with the extender, then tip the plate in different directions until the paints start to create a swirled look. Once the marbled effect has been achieved, allow the plate to dry for 24 hours before placing a clear glass plate on top.

Photo By: Rustic White Photography, LLC

Try This: Washi Tape Stripes

Create custom chargers by cutting your desired washi tape into a linear pattern, then applying it along the edges of the plate.

Photo By: Rustic White Photography, LLC

Try This: Decorative Paper

For a no-commitment approach to spicing up white plates, first cut a patterned piece of craft paper to size. Lay the paper on top of the white plate for use as a charger, then add a clear glass plate on top. This will allow the pattern to peek through the clear plate for a modern look.

Photo By: Rustic White Photography, LLC

Try This: Foil Leaf Dots

Here's an excellent idea for turning plates into wall art or tabletop vessels. Cut sheets of foil leaf into small circles using craft scissors. Next, randomly apply them to the white plate until the desired look is achieved. For a layered effect, use a food-safe metallic paint pen along the edges for a gilded touch that will coordinate with the foil leaf dots.

Photo By: Rustic White Photography, LLC


Gold-Dipped Vases

Gold-Dipped Vases

DIY vase project with gold paint

Photo by: Alison Gootee/Studio D

Alison Gootee/Studio D


Hand-Dipped Flatware 01:42

Create party-ready flatware with liquid gilding.


Gold Paper Mache Bowls

Gold Paper Mache Bowls

Photo by: Chelsea Costa

Chelsea Costa

Serving Trays

Make Your Own Rustic Dessert Serving Trays

See All Photos

Rustic Refined Serving Trays You Can Make Yourself!

A fun way to bring the outdoors in for the holidays, these rustic refined wood serving trays have just the right amount of bling to make them a perfect addition to your holiday dinners! Stacked or standing side by side, your desserts will take center stage when displayed on these DIY stands.  Finish them off with a favorite quote or saying to make them truly personal and unique!

Supply List for Wooden Serving Trays

You will need: Wood rounds (can be purchased at hobby and craft stores or use rounds cut from stumps) / wood craft feet and rounds (purchased from hobby and craft stores) / wood glue / gilding liquid and paint brush / wood burning tool and letter stamps (optional for lettering)

Create Bases for Trays

You can anchor your wooden trays with either feet or a larger base. To create the bases for trays glue four wooden circles together.  Glue the two smaller surface sides back to back, to create two sets.  Stack the two sets together, gluing the larger surface sides to each other. Allow to dry thoroughly.

Gilding Tray Base and Feet

Once the glue on your tray base has dried completely, gild the feet and bases for your trays using gilding liquid and an angled brush. Be sure to shake your gilding liquid well before using.  Apply two or more coats for desired look. Allow to dry.

Attaching Feet or Base

Using wood glue, place and attach either your feet or your base to a wooden round.  Be sure to place the feet or base where they will offer the best support to your trays.  Allow glue to dry thoroughly.

Creating Lettering

For a fun additional element to your trays, use a wood burning tool and wood burning letter stamps to create seasonal sayings and quotes. Follow the directions carefully for using your wood burning tool as they are very hot! For quick clean up and to use time and time again, finish off your trays with a quick coating of a food grade water-based acrylic wood sealer or tung oil.

Serve Your Holiday Desserts in Style!

These wooden dessert trays can take a place of honor on the buffet or at the center of your table. Stack them for a fun layered look with smaller desserts on the bottom and pies or cakes on top!

Keep Reading

Next Up

6 Quick Ways to De-Stress Your Mind and Body

Squeezing that stress ball a little too much? In honor of Stress Awareness Month, we've got remedies for your mind and body.

DIY Seed Bombs: Just Throw 'Em and Grow 'Em

Turn junk mail into blooming wildflowers. Seriously!

Your Candle is Done Burning — Now What?

Don’t let those beautiful jars go to waste. Remove the wax and keep using them around your home!

Blast Off With These Stellar DIY Galaxy-Print Sneakers

These shoes are out of this world. (Cue the rimshot.)

10 Creative Ideas to Keep Kids Busy All Summer Long

For when those lazy days of summer start to feel a little too lazy.

7 DIY Decor Ideas You'll Be Obsessed With All Summer

Save your money for more important things — like this summer's "it" floaty.

How to Stencil a Tray

Dress up a wooden tray with a painted stencil design, creating a one-of-a-kind accessory.

Macrame for Dummies: 5 Easy DIYs for Newbies

Even if you're not a DIY ninja, you can still create your own version of these 70's decor staples with one of these easy DIY projects we've rounded up.

How-To: Gold-Dotted Lamp Base

Re-create this trendy piece on a budget with this step-by-step from a crafty blogger featured in HGTV Magazine .

How to Make a Skiing Penguin Ornament

This adorable penguin ornament is made from a toilet paper roll. Follow these instructions by Helen L. Rafson to make your own ornament.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts