I’m always drawn to the glamour of something shiny and gold, and I love combining natural materials with metallics; it gives the shininess some weight and accessibility. For this project, I combined cement with gold leaf to create stylish paperweights … and I love how they turned out! Cement is a popular material right now and while it may seem daunting and heavy (!), it’s easy and fun to work with.
This project doesn’t require much as far as materials go, and if you can get the hang of mixing cement mix with water, you are well on your way to creating some unique pieces. Use them on your desk, decorate a shelf, or give them as gifts.
Let’s get started. I promise, it’s a cinch!
– papier mâché letters, symbols, shapes, or other forms
– cement mix and applicable supplies according to manufacturer’s directions
– cutting blade
– gold leaf
– gold leaf adhesive
Step 1: If using papier mâché letters, prepare them by cutting off the top layer which will leave behind a nice form to use.
Note: For letters and symbols that aren’t the same from the front and back (like &, B, C, E, F, etc.), I suggest cutting the backside off and doing the molding in reverse. It’s easier to get a smoother finish on the side within the mold.
Step 2: Prep the cement according to the manufacturer’s directions. Scoop the prepared cement into the forms.
Step 3: Shake and pat the form to remove air bubbles and settle the cement into all the corners.
Step 4: Allow the cement to fully dry.
Step 5: When the cement is dry, remove the outside form carefully so that you don’t cause cracks. The narrow legs and joints on letters are prime cracking places! You might need to use a damp towel to remove bits of papier mâché that stick.
Step 6: Next, apply the gold leaf adhesive and then apply gold leaf according to the manufacturer’s directions. You need to work fast. The cement is very porous and will soak up the adhesive. Just reapply and keep adhering.
That’s it! Once the gold leaf is in place, add the paperweight to your desk and enjoy it’s glamour and weightiness.
Photos and styling by Amy Christie.