DIY Gold-Handled Flatware

How to transform stainless steel flatware into gold-handled flatware, sealed with dishwasher-safe gloss. Includes tips for preventing brush strokes.

Gold flatware is having a major moment these days, but it's often accompanied with a hefty price tag. For a fraction of the cost, you can create your own brilliant gold-handled flatware. The result is classy, beautiful and low-maintenance -- with the added bonus of being dishwasher-safe.

    Clean Flatware with Alcohol

  1. First, be sure to put on your rubber gloves. Use a cotton ball or napkin soaked in rubbing alcohol to clean the handles of all the flatware. This is important because it removes all the residual oils from fingerprints on the surface of the handles, allowing for better adhesion of the liquid gold leaf.

  2. Apply Coat of Liquid Gold Leaf

  3. Place the first utensil, face down, on top of a sheet of wax paper. Put a piece of tape across the neck of the utensil, about 1/4 inch from where the utensil starts to widen. Dip the flat paintbrush in the liquid leaf about 1/3 of the way up the bristles, wipe off the excess on one side and use the other side to paint the back of the utensil handle (the side that is facing up). Brush over the handle a couple of quick times to ensure even coverage with no drips on the sides. This coat should be thin. Wait about 5 minutes for the coat to dry. Repeat for all utensils in the flatware set.

  4. Once the backside of the utensils are dry, remove the tape from the back, turn them over and place the tape in the corresponding location on the front. Brush over the front of the handle in the same manner as the backside: quick and smooth. Let the handles dry completely, about 5 minutes.

  5. Warning

    Take care not to paint too closely to the parts of the utensils that come into contact with food, as these materials are not considered food-safe. Stick to the handles only.

    Apply Another Coat of Liquid Gold Leaf

  6. For the second coat, pick up a utensil with one hand and use the other hand to paint another coat of liquid leaf, making sure to start at the neck of the handle, brushing long, even strokes toward the base of the handle. Do not brush more than twice over the handle, or the paintbrush will run out of liquid leaf and bumpy strokes will start to appear.

  7. While the utensil is in your hand, turn it over, dip the paintbrush once more in the liquid leaf (wiping the excess off on one side), and paint the backside. Hold the utensil for a few minutes until the gold leaf is dry to the quick touch and then place it down on the wax paper to dry. Repeat this process for the remaining utensils and let dry for 1 hour.

  8. Tip

    Some brush strokes will be visible after the second coat, which is normal. If the brush strokes are too bumpy or messy looking, use 600 grit sandpaper to lightly smooth out the bumpy surface and put another quick coat on.

    Clean Liquid Leaf Off Paintbrush

  9. While the utensils are drying, clean the liquid leaf off the paintbrush. You will need Xylol Xylene, a cleaner found at most home improvement stores. Pour a small amount of Xylol into a small dish and dip the bristles into the solution. Rub the bristles together with gloved fingers to loosen the liquid leaf. Then use dish soap to clean the Xylol off the brush bristles and rinse with water. Repeat this until the bristles are completely clean.

  10. Brush on Three Coats of Gloss Sealer

  11. Use the filbert paintbrush to apply the dishwasher-safe decoupage gloss sealer. Pick up a utensil with one hand and dip the paintbrush in the sealer about 1/4 of the way up the bristles (excess wiped off on one side). Start painting the backside at the neck of the utensil handle, overlapping about 1/8 inch over the line of the liquid gold leaf on the handle. This overlap will ensure that the edge of the liquid leaf is sealed off from food and water when it is used.

  12. Brush about half-way down the handle, then start at the base (widest part of the handle) and brush a long even stroke upward until the handle is evenly coated with a thin layer of sealer.

  13. Turn the utensil over and repeat this process on the front side. Watch for build-up on the edges and wipe any away with your finger. The excess sealer is easier to wipe up on the edges, as it is a clear/blue color and dries slower than the liquid leaf.

  14. Hold the utensil until it is dry, about 5 minutes, and then set it down on the wax paper. Once all of the utensils have received their first coat, let them dry completely for 1 hour, then repeat the same process a second time, and then a third time.

  15. Let Cure

  16. In order for the dishwasher-safe decoupage gloss sealer to stand up to use in the dishwasher (top rack only), the utensils will need to cure for four weeks. If use is desired before that, simply wash carefully by hand and gently towel dry.

  17. Now you can bring the bling to your table settings any time you like!