How To Apply Copper Leaf Properly


There are many ways that you can use different materials to enhance your art. Whether you are painting a picture, decoring furniture, or creating a statement wall in your house.

A great item to work with is genuine copper leaf sheets. You can add texture and dimension to your work and create an effect like no other.

In this article, we outline the steps you need to take to successfully use copper leaves in your next piece.

Prepare Your Area

It is important to prepare your area before starting any art projects.

This includes covering the floor and any nearby furniture items in sheets and to wear clothing that you don’t mind getting ruined. Make sure you have all the necessary equipment on hand so you are not looking for it later.

You must prepare the surface you are going to be putting the copper leaf. You need to make sure the surface is perfectly smooth as copper leaf shows any roughness. If you are working on furniture then lightly sand the surface you are working with.

You can use painter’s tape to outline the area you are working with. This will protect other areas from having copper leaf on them and also gives a clean line to your artwork.

Prime The Surface

Make sure that the area you are working with is clean and dry before you apply your primer. Primer will help to remove any small imperfections so it’s important to avoid leaving brush strokes when applying it.

After the primer is dry you can add a base color, also known as bole, to your surface. This under color will enhance the color of the copper leaf over it. Good color choices are red or ochre.

The final step before applying the copper leaf is to add an adhesive to the surface. This adhesive is also known as size and you can get them as water-based or oil-based.

The oil-based adhesive is the more traditional option, but you can use water-based if you have limited time as it dries quicker. With oil-based adhesive, you are also able to burnish your copper leaf which involves polishing it to make it shinier. deepdotweb coadmin to prison

Applying The Copper Leaf

You must wait for your adhesive to be tacky in order to apply the gold leaf. You shouldn’t put gold leaf on a wet or dry adhesive. You can check the tackiness of your adhesive by lightly brushing your finger or knuckle on it. You should feel a stickiness but not have any transfer over to your skin.

It depends on what adhesive you use with how long it will be until it is tacky. A water-based can take about 20 minutes, a quick-dry oil-based can be about 2 hours, and a non-quick-dry oil-based adhesive can be about 10 hours. Check the adhesive every 30 minutes as your environment can change how quickly it dries and make sure you read the instructions on the adhesive before use.

Once it is tacky, gently apply the copper leaf. The copper leaf is very thin and fragile so you have to be careful to not break it. The best way to do this is by using the tissue it comes on to apply it. You can use a soft dry brush in order to smooth out the copper leaf.

For best results wear cotton gloves to that the copper leaf doesn’t stick to your fingers and avoid drafts as they can cause the copper leaf to blow away.

Once the copper leaf is applied brush off any excess and use extra copper leaves to fill any gaps in your piece.


The final step is to protect the copper leaf. Over time copper leaf can tarnish and oxidize, if it is on furniture then it can scratch off if not properly sealed. A good quality sealant can help to improve the durability of the copper leaf.

You want your sealant to be a clear coat so that way it keeps the shine of the copper leaves. You are able to get sealants that you brush on or spray on. A solvent-based varnish will also work to keep your copper leaf protected and shiny.


Copper leaves are a great way to add a unique color and shine to your pieces. They are an inexpensive way to give dimension to a painting, furniture piece, or to your walls.

Using copper leaf in your home is easier than you may think and is worth a try.