Using gold leaf for cars is an awesome way to add classic shimmer to your hot ride without having to spend a ton of money. Though it might seem like a taxing, lengthy, and expensive job, the truth is that applying gold leaf to your car is relatively simple, especially if you’re looking to take on smaller, more detailed designs.

Eager to know how to go about this project? If so, stay tuned. We’ve got all the information you need to provide your vehicle with a major upgrade to its paint job.

How To Use Gold Leaf For Cars

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How to Do Gold Leaf on Cars?

To apply gold leaf to cars, you usually don’t need more than:

  • the leaf itself
  • adhesive
  • a brush (usually two or more are needed)
  • and a design outline

Please note that while you could technically apply imitation gold leaf or any other metal leaf type to your vehicle as well, we definitely recommend sticking with genuine gold for the task.

Genuine gold won’t tarnish over time, and there is no sealant required when using it. Thus, using genuine gold will be an easier process and will yield a longer-lasting result than imitation gold leaf, silver leaf, or copper leaf, especially since cars are often exposed to weather elements. 

The Steps For Gold Leafing a Car

The following are the tools you’ll want to have on hand when attempting to gild your vehicle:

Instructions on How to Gold Leaf a Car

  1. Begin by making sure the area in which you plan to gild the vehicle is clean, dry, and free of residue.
  2. Use tape or a design outline to mark the area in which you want to apply your adhesive. Please note that wherever your adhesive lands is where the gold leaf will stick. Thus, you must be extra careful about where you apply your adhesive and should know the exact design you’re going for before embarking upon the process.
  3. Once your outline has been made, mix less than an ounce of oil size with a bit of paint thinner to get a thin, smooth consistency. Mix the solution with your brush until the brush is fully covered. Remove the excess adhesive on the brush by making a couple of strokes on a newspaper or magazine.
  4. Apply the mixed adhesive to the design outline on your vehicle using your pinstriping brush in only the spots where you plan to apply gold leaf. Use careful, smooth, and even strokes.
  5. Once your adhesive has been laid, allow it to dry a bit until it becomes tacky. This may take 30 minutes or so, but be sure to read the label on your adhesive for specific instructions.
  6. Once your adhesive has reached proper tack, transfer your gold leaf sheet to your car. We recommend using genuine gold transfer leaf for this project as the wax paper will come in handy for precise application. To do this, simply lay the gold leaf sheets on top of the adhesive and press gently with your fingers (if using transfer leaf) or a clean brush. Peel away the wax backing, and you’ll see that the gold leaf sticks.
  7. Once you’ve lain your gold leaf across all exposed adhesive, you’ll use your glider brush to clear away the excess.
  8. Allow your gold leaf to dry; task complete!

Uses For Gold Leafing on Car

Gold leaf can be used on cars to create artistic lettering, numbers, fun designs, and to give a vehicle a sense of glimmering depth. It looks especially awesome against certain colors including deep red or black paint jobs and though it doesn’t take long to do, it yields a luxurious finish we at Barnabas are confident you’ll love.

Gold Leaf For Cars: An Invigorating and Relatively Easy Task!

Applying gold leaf on cars isn’t as strenuous as you might think. With a little patience, practice, and know-how, you can have your car coated in genuine gold designs and no one would ever guess you did it yourself.

Just be sure to use oil sizing and genuine gold leaf when embarking on this project for ultimate application and durability. Have fun!


Does gold leaf rust?

Gold leaf will not tarnish as long as the gold leaf you are using is 23 karat gold or above. Gold leaf that is of lesser purity or that is imitation leaf will rust over time and thus, will require a varnish or sealant. The same is true for any metal leaf, including silver or copper, that isn’t genuine gold.

Will gold leaf stick to metal?

Gold leaf will stick to metal, but only with help. Actually, you should not expect gold leaf to stick to anything on its own. The proper adhesive to use on metal is either oil or water based size, although, in the case of a car, you’ll want to use oil based size because of its weather-resistant qualities.

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