Bedside Table Hack
Updated: May 28
We have so many items of furniture around the house that we bought years ago, on a budget that are still fully functional, but lack character, are a tad tired and dare I say it a bit on the cheap side. I have been up-cycling furniture for years now and its only been my latest little up-cycle that has made me really appreciate how a simple change can truly transform a piece of furniture into a unique one off piece that in effect is equal to designer, but created and designed by your very own self! It also saves money and helps create less waste.
My latest up-cycle were some Ikea Hemnes bed side tables. I really love the shape of these next to our bed, they are also well built, but the finish was wasn't amazing and they were looking tired. Having already used Fusion Mineral Paint to up-cycle projects in the past, I had loads left over, so decided to paint them up in the Ash colour. I also bought some new handles from Anthropologie to give them a new lease of life. Well that was all the plan until I came across Lucy's latest chest of drawer refurb, then gold leaf was suddenly on the agenda too.
Due to an already smooth surface they didn't need sanding, but a good coat of Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 Interior and Exterior primer to help the following two coats of the Fusion Mineral Ash paint stick. I have mentioned before, but I love this paint, it goes a long way even though the pots look small, so easy to apply, dries quickly and has the most gorgeous matt finish. I have used it on everything, even on the windows in our orangery, always using a paint brush, I haven't given the roller a go with it as yet.
Having never used gold foil before, it took a few goes to get right. My first initial attempt on the drawer had to be swiftly removed, but I got the hang of it after a while. The key is keeping the backing on while you apply it to the prepped surface, even though this isn't totally secure, it still helps make it just that bit more even. Also make sure the air around you is super still, the slightest breeze would be a complete nightmare and blow it away! This is not a task for the outdoors.
To start you need to prime the area, in my case the drawer, with a brush using Metal Leaf Adhesive, then very carefully place your gold leaf foils (I used a metal mix, as couldn't find larger sheets in the pure gold) on one by one, slightly overlapping, as you go pat it down lightly. I used my fingers and the foil cover and then left it to dry for approx. 30-45 minutes.
This is the fun bit, though it does reveal little flaws and gaps. Take a clean, dry, soft brush and lightly brush away all the excess foil to reveal a gold drawer. If you have gaps simply pop a bit move adhesive on them, tap down some foil and leave it to dry, repeat this as many times as needed. I wouldn't recommend this for a smooth slick look, but if you like that more rustic slightly uneven finish as I do, go for it! Another item I found really useful to help smooth out a few rough patches was our car windscreen cleaner, very gently brush it across the area to take off any further excess.
Once all dry, finish with 2 coats of Crystal Clear Lacquer (all gold leaf items purchased on Amazon), this really helps smoothing out the finish and gives a nice matt effect. Add your new handles et voila! I am so pleased with how they have been transformed, looking at them now, you wouldn't even know that they originally looked completely different. Its reassuring to know that despite an original less attractive finish you can make anything work and create a whole new look on a budget, all with a simple lick of paint.
This was my first go using gold leaf, so I would be no means say I am a pro at this, but if you like the rustic look, this technique worked really well and after years of struggling to find the right bedside tables, our master bedroom finally feels complete!
Thank you for reading and enjoy getting that paintbrush out. xxx
For a full video tutorial see my YouTube link below: