Silver Leaf Makeover

Silver Leaf Makeover

We’ve had the same tray on our coffee table since we upcycled it a few months ago. It served a purpose but didn’t really go with the room. I spent ages scouring for an alternative, as did Simon, but we couldn’t find one we liked. Inspired by a tutorial at LiveLoveDIY we decided to silver leaf our current one.

Before I even begin the tutorial let me share 1 key tip. You need to have the patience of a saint for this stuff!!! We were both covered in little flakes of silver leaf as the sheets break so easily. In the end we resorted to lifting them out of the book with a soft make-up brush, but we’d probably ripped 4 or 5 by this point. We started this over a week ago but it took us longer than expected to finish – so be aware, and set time aside if you’re going to attempt some yourself.

For our makeover we had a book of 25 sheets of silver leaf (we didn’t use them all), some adhesive, 2 small brushes, a cloth (for wiping away residue) and lacquer to seal the silver once completed.


We worked on the tray in sections. To begin we covered the inside base in a layer of adhesive. We used an adhesive specially designed for use with silver/gold leaf. It dried clear after around 15 minutes so we knew when it was time to adhere the sheets. We overlapped the edges to create a consistent finish.Silver leaf bottomA few of the sheets creased as we placed them on the tray, but we were able to smooth out some of the worst creases by pushing gently with the aforementioned make-up brush. Once we had covered the base we worked around the edges of the tray until it was completely covered.

Silver leaf

As you can see these sheets get a little bit messy! We used a brush to gently swirl away the excess before leaving to dry (we left it overnight) and covering with a thin layer of lacquer.

Silver leaf

Silver leaf

We left the varnish to dry overnight before restoring it into its rightful position on the coffee table. Despite the amount of effort we had to put in, and the tiny silver flakes we’re still trying to vacuum up, this is one makeover that was definitely worth while!

Silver leaf Silver leaf Styled tray

Linking up at What I Whipped up Wednesday, That DIY Party, The Pin Junkie.


  1. October 24, 2013 / 5:19 am

    Wow… This looks so elegant! I’ve been wanting to try gold or silver leafing. I’m going to need to bump it up on the the “to-do” list. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sammi
      October 24, 2013 / 7:53 pm

      Thanks Danielle. I hope it gives an elegant touch to our living room!

  2. January 21, 2014 / 11:36 pm

    That looks awesome. Adding silver/ gold leafing to my To do list.

    • Sammi
      January 22, 2014 / 8:08 am

      Thanks! It’s good fun, but make sure you have patience when you do it – the stuff is super fiddly.

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