When it comes to instructions on how to gold leaf ornaments, you’ll be pleased to know that the process is insanely simple. To make DIY gold leaf ornaments, you only need a few tools and supplies. The best part is this process is completely open to creativity, meaning you can easily put your own spin on these DIY Christmas ornaments to make them your own.

In this post, we’ll teach you how to make painted gold leaf ornaments using paint, gold leafing, and other minimal supplies. So, if you’re ready, let’s get into the details!

How To Gold Leaf Ornaments

Table of Contents

Can You Apply Gold Leaf to Ornaments?

Yes, you can definitely apply gold leaf to ornaments. But doing so will require that you use size.

Size” is a term used for metal leaf adhesive. This is what allows your gold leaf to stick since it won’t stick on its own otherwise.

Supplies Needed to Gold Leaf Ornaments

When learning to make DIY gold leaf ornaments, you simply need gilding adhesive, gold leaf, and a bit of paint. Know that the paint use is optional, but if you do use it, it is best to use inexpensive clear glass ornaments so you can place the paint inside. These DIY gold leaf ornaments will look beautiful adorning any Christmas tree or used for other ornamental purposes. Thus, this makes an easy Christmas craft that you can do with adults and even older kids!

How Do You Apply Gold Leaf to Ornaments?

Now that you know that you can add gold leaf with gold leaf adhesive to plastic ornaments, you may wonder how exactly to go about the process. Follow these steps for applying gold leaf to an entire ornament for the ultimate glitzy Christmas decor.

How to Gold Leaf Ornaments

Start with the following supplies needed:

  • Gold leaf (this can be purchased at your local craft store, but a genuine gold leaf can be purchased online)
  • Wax paper (for easy cleanup)
  • Spray paint or extra paint (if you desire for your ornaments to have color)
  • Brush(es) (for application of gilding size and for clearing away excess gold leaf)
  • Gilding size of your choice
  • Other optional decorating agents such as print materials or glitter (if desired, these could be stencils or other types of stick-on designs)


  • Begin by preparing your workspace. Do this by laying wax paper on the surface you’re working on.
  • Remove your glass ornaments from the pack and ensure that they are clean and free from debris. If dust and debris are present, give your glass ornaments a rinse and allow them to dry completely before use.
  • Once dried, take the top off of your glass ornament and place about one teaspoon of acrylic paint (metallic paint or otherwise) inside. Carefully shake or move the glass ball around until the entire inner surface is covered with paint, yielding an opaque color on the glass. Alternatively, you could spray paint the exterior of the ornament and allow it to dry.
  • From here, you’ll want to apply your gilding size to your ornament in whatever areas you choose. Use a stencil if you want a specific design, but otherwise, feel free to apply the adhesive however you see fit. Remember that wherever you apply the adhesive is where your gold leaf will stick, so be sure that you are careful with application as you go.
  • Follow the directions on your gilding size for application. Some have very specific tack times, with many needing 20 minutes or more before they become tacky. Once your gilding size reaches tack, move on to the next steps.
  • Now it’s time to apply your gold leaf to your ornament. To do this, simply press your gold leaf in place against the adhesive. If your gold leaf is a transfer leaf, it’ll have wax backing. Use this backing to push it gently in place. If it doesn’t have a wax backing, you can use some of your own wax paper or use a clean brush to help stick it directly on the ornament.
  • Allow your finished piece to dry. Of course, you can add more fun to your DIY gold leaf ornaments by adding silver, gold, or other colored glitter or ball ornaments or more gold foil if you feel you didn’t add enough. You can virtually do whatever you want with these … so get creative!
  • Note: It is important to understand that buying clear bulbs is simply a suggestion. You could just as easily buy colored or white ornaments and apply gold leaf to glue areas to render a beautiful look that will truly sparkle against Christmas lights.

How to Make Oyster Shell Ornaments With Gold Leaf

Using oyster shells to make your ornaments? No problem! To decorate an oyster shell with gold leaf, paint the ornament, allow it to dry, apply the adhesive, and then apply the gold leaf. You can choose to cover the entire thing in gold leaf or just certain areas.

Once dry, wrap up your creation in tissue paper and stick it in a cute little box. Remember that you can add gold leaf to pretty much anything and make it turn out pretty nice. Just be careful with the gilding adhesive and make sure you smooth the gold leaf completely for the best look. Also, try not to use a glue stick for this project. Though tempting, it may not yield the most nice-looking smooth results.

Diy: How To Gold Leaf Ornaments

Learning How to Gold Leaf Ornaments is an Easy Christmas Craft!

If you’re looking for a very easy, really pretty way to jazz up your own ornaments at home, adding gold leaf is the way to do it. Using just a bit of gilding size and your choice of paint, you can make clear glass ornaments completely your own.

In fact, it is fun DIY projects like this that make the holiday season so much better. Give it a go and see what you come up with!


What kind of glue to use on gold leaf?

The best glue to use for gold leaf is definitely metal leaf adhesive. It provides the smoothest, most long lasting result. Still, there are some that have had success using other adhesive types, especially when doing casual crafts activities at home. Feel free to play around with the adhesive of your choosing.

Can you use Mod Podge to apply gold leaf?

Yes, you can use ModPodge to apply gold leaf, although the results won’t be as good as if you had used gilding size in terms of smoothness and outdoor use.

Do you need to seal the gold leaf?

If the gold leaf is pure, you shouldn’t seal it. Sealing it will alter its physical appearance over time. Imitation gold leaf will need to be sealed because of its ability to tarnish.

What supplies do I need to make gold leaf Christmas ornaments?

Remember that you only need your ornament, gilding size, and gold leaf to make DIY gold leaf ornaments for holiday decor. Add them to your own tree, gift them as part of an ornament swap, or wrap them up as a surprise for someone else!

Is gold leaf real?

You can use real gold leaf on painted gold leaf ornaments or you can use imitation leaf on ornaments. Either is fine, although imitation leaf is generally a cheaper option. For outdoor trees, you’ll want to invest in pure gold leaf and make sure you use oil size for optimal performance outdoors.

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