Gilded Paper

by Mel McCarthy

Foil leaf is traditionally applied by adding a liquid adhesive to the surface you want to gild. Using a sticker paper instead of the wet adhesive saves a great deal of time & mess, and leaves you with shiny gilded paper.


  • Silver leaf sheets

  • Printable white sticker paper, Silhouette paper used here

  • Dies (optional)

  • Stencil brush or cloth to remove excess foil


  1. Step 1

    Cut any shape you like out of sticker paper, using machine, dies, or cut by hand (any brand of sticky paper should work, even the clear sticker papers.)

  2. Step 2

    Peel the backing off the sticker paper shape. Lay it sticky side down onto silver leaf foil and press all over the back.

    The leafing is also available in aluminum, gold, and various colors.

  3. Step 3

    Flip the gilded piece over and press gently to smooth the wrinkles. You can use white cotton gloves, a soft cloth, or just your bare finger tip.

    No need to worry about any fine lines that might occur; any texture will add to the feel of genuine silver leafing.

  4. Step 4

    Rub off any extra bits and pieces of leafing foil from around the edges or details of your shape.

  5. Step 5

    As a variation, add silver-leaf foil to the back of any kind of sticker, like this vellum border sticker. Simply peel off the backing and lay onto the leafing.

  6. Step 6

    Use a stencil brush to remove the extra leafing bits. Working in circles seems to work well.

  7. Step 7

    Layering negative die cut paper pieces over the silver lends a nice contrast. Just cut your die cut piece to fit. These tags were cut with a Silhouette machine.

  8. Step 8

    Adhere the die cut shape to the silver-leafed shape.

  9. Step 9

    You can also add more delicate die cut shapes to your gilded paper, so that more of the silver-leafing shows. You can even add stamping to it, using a solvent ink like Stazon.

  10. Step 10

    Try embossing your gilded paper. The Silhouette brand printable sticker paper embosses beautifully after you add leafing to it. Other brands will likely perform nicely as well.

  11. Step 11

    Use your gilded paper on your projects.

Your Turn

You've seen the tutorial, now you try it! We've got a section of the gallery set aside for Gilded Paper. Try this technique, then upload your artwork to the gallery. Show us your creations!

***Please note - Internet Explorer/Edge is not a supported browser, and will not allow you to see the videos. Please use Chrome, Firefox or Safari to view our tutorial videos.

Questions and Comments

We'd love to get your feedback or questions. Leave your comment below.

Now *this* I like! Shiny, shimmery, AND textured--what more could a person want? Thanks so much for the fine ideas!
Renata  |  Wed Dec 4, 2013 at 4:19 AM
this looks really pretty and fun. I hope to give this a try in the near future. thanks for the great tutorial - very easy to follow.
Meg McAlister  |  Wed Dec 4, 2013 at 4:58 AM
Meg is right...EXCELLENT tutorial I would've never guessed you could use leafing in papercrafting! !! I'm with Renata..silver, bling, shiny-YES!!! Thanks for taking time to show us this!
carmen garcia  |  Wed Dec 4, 2013 at 7:39 AM
Makes me want to pull it out and play again. Thanks for reminding me I had it and what to do with it again.
Donna Ellis  |  Wed Dec 4, 2013 at 7:58 AM
I love this new idea. Leaf paper has been around a long time. Now I have a tutorial to help me make good use of it!
Marilyn  |  Wed Dec 4, 2013 at 8:36 AM
I think I have some of that shimmery leafing, so maybe I might try this sometime soon. It sure gives a very elegant look.
Verna Angerhofer  |  Wed Dec 4, 2013 at 9:30 AM
Thank you. I had not thought about using the leafing sheets with stickers. Great idea.
Joyce Bodo  |  Wed Dec 4, 2013 at 10:27 AM
Funny, saw the weekly newsletter with the weekly tutorial and thought it looked like your work. Then I read.. guest tutorial author.. Melissa McCarthy. Congrats and beautiful work as always!
Kim  |  Wed Dec 4, 2013 at 11:36 AM
Love other ideas for leafing. Thank you for this one. To achieve a similar look for tags (or cards), you can apply a strip of shiny silver plumbers tape (Lowes, Home Depot etc.) typically 2 inches wide to any card stock (tape has peel off backing and sticks well). You can then decorate similar to the instruction for leafing and looks very nice and sharp when embossed. Great for decorating candles as it won't burn. For leafing, I also use inexpensive mactac, clear plastic available at office supply stores or you can use the wide width Scor Pal Tape @ 2.5 inches.
Wendy  |  Wed Dec 4, 2013 at 12:22 PM
What a super idea!!!! Very clever and an excellent tut!
Vee  |  Wed Dec 4, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Wow, I knew if I waited long enough a project would come along for that package of silver metal leaf I bought on a whim while browsing an artist supply store!! You don't mention sealing your projects, did you spray them to protect the finished product??

Beautiful them!
Liz Ackerman  |  Wed Dec 4, 2013 at 1:02 PM
This is a wonderful and useful tutorial!! I have leaf on hand, (for some time, haven't used it). I want to try this. Also, I bought gold and silver "duck tape", which you can stick to card stock and emboss. So many shiny, pretty things!! : )
Darlene  |  Thu Dec 5, 2013 at 11:38 AM
I would also like to add that the tags are just gorgeous!!
floral stamper  |  Thu Dec 5, 2013 at 12:03 PM
Thank you for the great ideas and samples shown here. I have been inspired to dust off leafing sheets and foils and make some sparkly Christmas things. Never thought to emboss a gilded tag -- it is beautiful!
Mary Beth
Mary Beth West  |  Thu Dec 5, 2013 at 3:58 PM
Love the snowflake dies. What brand are these?
Christine Lotz  |  Fri Dec 6, 2013 at 9:46 AM
Hi All! ... a couple answers to your great questions... smile Christine, The snowflakes are Impression Obsession Steel Dies (love em!) Wendy, great ideas for foil tape. I'll have to find some! And Liz thanks for your question about sealing. I didn't seal mine since I'm not worried about tarnishing over time, but you could absolutely use the sealer that they sell with leafing kits if you want to make it last through the years. Thanks Everyone, for your kind words. :-D Can't wait to see what you make!
Mel McCarthy  |  Sat Dec 7, 2013 at 11:20 AM

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