How to gild book spines for decor like a pro

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Looking for an inexpensive way to fill those bookshelves?   In the video above, Tamara Hudson with Encore Unique Boutique shares how to gild book spines so they'll match any room in your house.


Hard Cover Book (s)

Chalk Style Paint

Gilding Size

Gold Leaf, Silver Leaf or Copper Leaf

Small paint brush

Larger paint brush

Tamara chooses to paint her book with Amy Howard at Home's A Good Man is Hard to Find (a dark cool tone grey) and gold leaf. Books are PERFECT to use as props in decorating mantels, sofa tables and book cases.

  1. Decide if you want to paint your hard bound book or leave it as is.
  2. If you decide to paint the book, pick a color of chalk style paint.
  3. Paint the book cover.
  4. Decide if you want the whole spine gilded or just a portion of the spine.
  5. Use the smaller paint brush to apply gilding size to the portion of the spine you want to be gilded.
  6. Let the gilding size set up for a minute or two, let it become "tacky"
  7. Cut the booklet of gold leaf to the size of the "stripe" on the book spine that you covered with gilding size.
  8. Open the booklet to the first page of hold leaf.
  9. Fold the paper back and hold the spine of the booklet with one hand and the edge of the page with your other hand.
  10. Flip the page over and gently lay the gold leaf on top of the golding size and rub your finger over there booklet gently pressing the leaf into the gilding size.
  11. Remove the booklet of gold leaf from the spine of the book.
  12. Use a larger dry paint brush to brush off the excess gold leaf.
  13. The gold leaf will only stick to where you applied the gilding size.
  14. Now....BE CREATIVE. You can use a stencil too.

Tip: Keep a dry towel close by...just in case your fingers touch the gilding size or even of you start sweating. Wipe your hands off frequently.