Mother of Perpetual Help Gold Leafed Gourd in Progress

I transferred my pattern onto the gourd using a stylus and graphite paper. I often use chalk or charcoal on the back of a pattern to transfer since it is much cheaper that way, but this time there were lots of details so graphite paper was the smartest way to go.

After transferring the image of Our Lady and the lettering I woodburned all the lines using a writing tip for the image and a knife tip for the lettering.

With woodburning complete I made a freehand decorative border around the rim of the gourd. Tip: When making rims keep in mind the subject or theme of the gourd. Rather than do a regular smooth rim go for a more decorative one that  complements the whole gourd. With this particular gourd I took the design of the crown on Mary's head and used that for the rim.  

To make sure the lettering and image stand out I carved the entire background; lots of carving! Tip: With intricate carving begin with a small round or oval bur. Then carve out the larger areas with a large oval or round bur. Use a wheel bur and a cylinder bur to smooth out the carving around your design. I decided to minimize the carving pattern by sanding down the carved areas.

I dyed the lettering and base of the gourd with blue leather dye. Later the lettering will be embossed with gold powder. Tip: In order to keep that purplish hue that often disappears when the dye is dry sand very lightly in random areas on your design. This will let the dye soak in the gourd and leave you with a variegated blue. I dyed Mary's mantle with light blue Memories Ink Dye.

I painted on Palette glue in just the areas I wanted to gold leaf. I used a heat tool to activate the glue and then pressed the gold leaf onto the gourd. I used regular gold leaf for Mary and Jesus and blue variegated gold leaf for the rim. Tip: Work over a vanilla folder to catch all the gold leaf pieces. Recycle them in your next gold leafing project!

I used dark gold metallic paint for the crowns and nimbi. Tip: It's a good idea to blend different hues of the same color rather than a single hue or your gourd may come become one dimensional and not as appealing. In this case four different golds (regular gold leaf, blue variegated gold leaf, gold metallic paint, and gold embossing powder) were used providing interest. 

I am sealing the gourd with polyurathane varnish. Make sure to use several coats of paint-on varnish for all your gold leafing. You may spray seal the rest of the gourd after you've sealed the leafing.

The finished gourd! Check out more views of the gourd HERE

© 2012 Bernadette Fox


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