Have you ever wanted to try silver leafing, but felt intimidated by the process and expense? Here’s an alternative. Using wallpaper paste and aluminum foil, this faux silver leaf project can be used on many different DIY projects. I decided to start small with a wooden letter. But you could use this technique on furniture, walls or just about anything you can imagine. I originally found this project on Pinterest from Red Hen Home — she covered bedside tables using the faux silver leaf awesomeness. And check out the silver leaf wall at The Ivy Cottage.

Start with a wooden letter you can get from any craft store. A roll of aluminum foil (the thinner and cheaper, the better), wallpaper paste, scissors, and a paint brush if you choose (I used my fingers).



Next cut a bunch of aluminum foil. I used about 18 inches from the roll and then cut it into thin strips – I wanted the sharp, straight edge on the pieces I attached – but you can tear the foil into random pieces or cut into larger pieces. Whatever you choose is fine. I learned the hard way to cut the pieces individually because if you try to cheat and fold the large piece in half or quarters, then cut several layers at a time – you end up with a botched mess and the pieces are attached to each other and you can’t easily tear them apart. So do it the hard way.


Now the fun part! Dip your fingers into the wallpaper paste and smear a thin layer onto the wooden letter, then start applying the foil onto the letter. Just repeat this process until everything is covered. If this is your first time, you might want to choose a less complex letter than the “K” (why do I always pick the most difficult option with the most curves and angles?).


When the letter is completely covered, let it dry. I elevated the letter using small bowls – use whatever is handy – so it doesn’t stick to your work surface overnight. Don’t worry about the spots you missed. We’ll cover that up the next day with some alcohol inks.

Once the wallpaper paste is complete dry the next day, now it’s time to make it pretty with some color. I chose to use three shades of brown for a coppery look.

Just drop a few drips of each color all over the letter and then blend it in with your cotton-clad dabber. I took the cotton off the dabber at the end and used it to get into all the angles and the edges (yes, my finger are now latte, caramel and ginger colored).


I love the effect!

Cut a piece of cardstock for the back to cover up the messy edges. I used my Xyron machine to make the cardstock into a sticker and just pressed it onto the back.


I plan to display this on the Ikea picture rails I have in my living room. (Just ignore those frames that still need photos, pretend there’s something beautiful there!) I chose the letter K for my niece Krista and figured that if I didn’t like how it turned out that I could just spray paint it and give it to her to put in her bedroom. But, unfortunately for Krista, I LOVE this project and I’m keeping it.