Sunday, January 20, 2013

Metal Leaf Case

Recently, a friend was frustrated by not being able to find a small business card holder that didn't take up as much room as her wallet.  Knowing she is an antique lover, I saw a lot of potential in an old cigarette case.  The metal was dinged and scratched, so I thought some of the same techniques that add color to a jewelry surface, might add some interest to the case.  I began by sponging on alcohol inks in blue and purple on the interior of the case.  It dried quickly and I then coated it with metal leaf adhesive.  This adhesive tends to go on milky white and is ready for the leaf when it is clear (which can be any where from 15 minutes to and hour depending on the brand).  I was using a packet of variegated leaf, laying it on gently with tweezers, I then brushed it in a circular pattern which moved the excess flakes around and created a speckled effect on the edges.  I repeated this on the front of the case around the edges and along the center.  When I was happy with the leafing I was left with a bit of a sticky mess on the hinges and the edges of the piece where I left the metal leaf speckled, instead of fully covered.  The metal leaf adhesive never fully dries and leaves a sticky residue.  Using a q-tip dipped in lighter fluid, I was able to clean off the adhesive, be careful since this can also remove the alcohol ink.  Once dry, I went back over the surface with a soft brush until all the leaf was smoothly blended.  I left the piece to dry overnight before finally sealing it with Minwax Polycrylic  water-based sealer.  This case is going to be handled a lot and I've had a lot of luck with this drying clear and leaving a nice protective shell, there are specific metal leaf sealers or something like modge podge will work, as well.  The final results can be seen at the top of this post.  It turned out to be a  great little repurposing project.

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