Lately we’ve been following a new craze popping up around the web. Gold leaf, historically used as an art medium, has now turned into one of the trendiest decor accessories this year. We’ve seen it on picture frames, furniture, fingernails, and jewelry, and once we saw Eat Sleep Cuddle use it for handmade notebooks we knew we had to give it a shot. Naturally our taste for nautical design comes into play when coming up with a new project, so these DIY Gold Leaf Notepads fit right in. Inspired by traditional nautical flags, we felt the pop of gold would compliment the classic color palettes seen in the flags. Since school is back in session and notes are to be taken, this DIY project is perfect for daily to-do lists and is the ultimate stylish campus accessory. Read the full instructions below!
4″ x 6″ note cards, Elmer’s Glue, Craft Knife, Paint Brush, Gold Leaf Kit, Painters Tape, Foam Brush, Card Stock Paper, Ruler, Bone Folder, Pencil
*Tip – We don’t recommend the “peel and stick” gold leaf, as it isn’t a guaranteed success. The original sheets are much more reliable. Most kits will include the gold leaf sheets, adhesive, and sealer, but you can also purchase each item separately. We bought ours at Michaels, but they are sold in most craft stores.
Step 1. Stack your note cards so the edges are even. Score one end of the stack of cards with a craft knife, making small indentations on the paper. This will ensure your glue will stick strongly to the stack of cards.
Step 2. Apply a layer of Elmer’s glue to the scored edge of your cards. We recommend using a bulldog clip or rubber band to help keep the paper in place.
Step 3. Once the first layer of glue is dry, add two more layers. Set aside.
Step 4. While the glue is drying, cut your card stock paper to size. You will need to measure the thickness of your stack of note cards. For most sets of 4″ x 6″ cards, the stack is 3/4″ thick. In this case, cut your paper to 12 3/4″ long by 4″ wide.
Step 5. Measure 6″ from each end. Using a ruler and bone folder, create two score lines 6″ from each end, creating a center strip which will act as the binding for your notepad.
Step 6. Apply two strips of painters tape to your card stock. We placed ours along the back score line and 1.5″ down from the top.
Step 7. Apply a thin layer of metal leaf adhesive using a paintbrush. Avoid any puddles, as this may cause your paper to ripple. Allow to dry at least 2 minutes, or until it feels dry but sticky to the touch. If the adhesive is still wet, the gold leaf will not stick properly.
Step 8. Gently lay a layer of gold leaf on top of the adhesive. Most kits will have detailed directions, and should come with small sheets of wax paper to help smooth the gold leaf down. Then use your foam brush to smooth.
Step 9. Once the gold leaf is set and dried to the adhesive, use your foam brush to wipe away any excess pieces. Save large pieces for later. Trust us, you’ll want to do this again!
Step 10. Apply a thin layer of sealer on top of the gold leaf to prevent scratching. Allow to dry.
Step 11. Carefully remove the painters tape from the card stock.
Step 12. Cut triangles out of your card stock to create a flag shape. Or, leave as is!
Step 13. Apply Elmer’s glue to the center strip of your card stock. It should already be scored from Step 5. Set your stack of note cards (the side you already glued and dried) on top of the center strip and hold to seal. Voila! You have instant modern notepads that you’ll be dying to show off in class or at the office. Happy crafting!
For more paper DIY projects, head over to the DIY section of our website here!