If you’re looking for an answer on for how to copper leaf furniture, you’ve come to the right place. Copper can add amazing drama to furniture and provide a stunning artistic look to otherwise mundane pieces. In this article, you’ll learn how to apply copper leaf the right way to yield a brilliant copper finish that will make you wonder why you never thought to apply metallic finishes to your furniture in the first place.

Let’s dive in!

How Do You Apply Copper Leaf To Furniture?

Table of Contents

Can You Apply Copper to Furniture?

Yes, you can absolutely apply copper leaf to furniture. All you need are a few tools along with gilding size (otherwise known as adhesive) to get the job done.

Applying copper leaf to almost any surface is possible, but it looks especially grand on wood, metal, and glass finishes. In fact, using copper leaf on furniture is a wonderful way to sneak in satisfying DIY projects that will result in furniture looking so much better than what you started with.

Copper Leaf Adhesive

You may be wondering what type of adhesive you need to apply copper to furniture. While many people may use different things, we also recommend simply using metal leaf adhesive for the best adherence. You can apply metal leaf gilders size adhesive either to painted furniture or furniture with bare wood, metal, glass, or other surfaces exposed.

Just make sure you use enough gilders size to get the job done and that you allow it to reach tack before applying your copper leaf in order for the copper leaf to adhere properly.

How to Copper Leaf Finish Furniture

Ready to learn how to copper leaf finish furniture? Good, because we’re ready to fill you in on the details.


Collect the following tools to get started on your way to unbelievably beautiful copper leaf furniture:

  • Paint primer (optional)
  • Gilding adhesive (oil based for outdoor projects, oil or water based for indoor projects)
  • Clean gilder’s brushes (for applying leaf and adhesive)
  • Copper leaf (genuine or imitation)

How to Detail Furniture With Copper Leaf

  1. Get started by preparing your workspace. You’ll want ample room to work as well as a newspaper or drop cloth to protect the surface you’re working on. Make sure there aren’t any drafts in the room and that you work indoors to ensure the gilding process goes as smoothly as possible.
  2. Sand your furniture surface if needed for wood, and clear away any excess with a damp cloth or a lint free rag.
  3. Apply primer paint if you’re using it. This helps if you want your base color to show through the furniture piece a bit. If you forget paint or choose not to use it, it’s not a big deal as long as you don’t mind the base color of your furniture showing through if the copped ends up chipping off. Once you’ve painted your furniture, allow it to be at least one full day before moving on to the next step.
  4. Apply gilding adhesive to the surface of your furniture using a clean brush. You want to allow your adhesive to become tacky before you lay your copper leaf, so read the label on your bottle to ensure you’ve waited long enough before attempting to hold your piece.
  5. Next, lay your copper leaf over your tacky surface using a clean small brush to carefully take your copper into place. Use firm brush strokes to ensure you are working the leaf into crevices. If you make mistakes or if there are gaps, don’t worry. You can touch up these spots later using gilding adhesive and more copper leaf.

How to Seal Copper Leaf

Once finished, you should apply a varnish or sealant of sorts. While genuine gold won’t tarnish, both genuine copper leaf and imitation copper leaf will tarnish.

Apply a thin layer of sealant over your finished piece using a clean soft brush (or sealant spray) to prevent this from happening. Follow the directions on the bottle of your chosen sealant for specific instructions concerning use.

How to Copper Leaf Furniture

Remember that when it comes to how to apply copper leaf, you only need adhesive, clean brushes, and your copper leaf. You can also use priming paint (or regular paint for furniture) but it isn’t necessary. If you’re applying copper leaf on wood, be sure to sand it down first and clear away excess debris. This is especially important for laying copper leaves on wood.

That’s it! We hope you’ve found this tutorial on how to copper leaf furniture helpful. Happy gilding!


How to do gold leafing on furniture?

Gold leafing is achieved much the same way that copper leafing is on furniture. You’ll use adhesive along with brushes to tamp down your gold leaf. The difference is that genuine gold will not require sealant, while all other metal leaf types will.

How do you apply imitation gold leaf to wood?

Sand your surface first, and then apply your adhesive. Wait for your adhesive to come to tack before tamping down your gold leaf with a clean brush or lint free cloth. Cover with sealant for imitation leaf or gold leaf that is less than 23kt gold. Genuine gold 23kt or above will not require sealant.

What kind of glue to use on copper leaf?

Always use gilders size, also known as metal leaf adhesive, for best results, especially over painted furniture.

Does copper leaf tarnish?

Yes. Though a copper leaf finish is beautiful, it will almost certainly tarnish if not properly sealed. Use a spray sealant or another form of varnish or wax to protect your copper leaf finish and keep it from tarnishing.

Is copper leaf durable?

Yes, but you’ll need to seal it in order for it to retain its beautiful shimmering appearance. Remember that if any nicks or damages do occur on your copper leaf that you can always repair it easily by using additional adhesive and more copper leaf. This is because copper leaf tends to be very forgiving, as is most types of metal leaf used for gilding purposes.

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