[DIY] Gold Leaf Clock

I’m not much of a collector, but there’s one type of home accessory that I just can’t help but gravitate toward — clocks. Really, any clock will do. From vintage to modern, clocks shaped like owls and clocks in neon green, I’m just a sucker for anything that tells time.

Although the majority of my collection hails from antique and estate shops, I recently had the urge to try my hand at a DIY clock, this time turning to a new-to-me material: gold leaf.


Here’s what you’ll need to try this one at home:

  • Wooden clock face
  • Gold leafing kit (I used just the gold leaf, sealer and adhesive from mine)
  • Clock movement kit
  • Small round paint brush
  • Two-inch foam paint brush
  • Paint pallet (or paper plate)
  • Mint acrylic paint
  • Patterned washi tape

To make a round wooden board, you can use a router, jigsawcircular saw or table saw. The important point is that you define and center the circle by an electric drill.
Then you use the saw blade of the tool I just mentioned above to cut the circle drawn from before.


Make circle board with router


Make circle board with jig saw


Make circle board with table saw


Make circle board with circular saw

Start by opening the sealant that came with the gold leafing kit and, using the small round paint brush, coat the raw wood where you plan on adding the gold leaf.

Allow drying for one hour. Then go over top of the same area with the adhesive, also from the gold leafing kit. Allow 20 minutes for the adhesive to get tacky.

Next, gently remove a sheet of gold leaf from the kit and lay on top of the area with the adhesive. Tap the gold leaf into place using dry fingertips and finish by brushing softly with a clean, dry paintbrush.

You’ll want to be extremely careful with this material because it is very delicate and flakes easily when overworked. Continue laying pieces of gold leaf on top of the wood (using more adhesive when necessary) until the entire surface is covered just how you’d like.

I’m a bit of a perfectionist, so the slightly uneven edge left me feeling a little less than sparkly. So I went with my gut to remedy the situation, grabbing a roll of polka dot washi tape to seal off the jagged line. The gold in the dots turned out to be the perfect complement to the gold leaf.

To give the clock a final dose of personality and interest, I squeezed a dollop of mint acrylic paint onto a plastic pallet and, using a two-inch foam brush, painted the sides of the clock.

The peek of color around the edge was the last step before adding the clock movement to the face and hanging it proudly on the wall.