Carrie Waller – Gold Leaf & Watercolor Tutorial


I found this leaf on my walk and I just love all the colors. We could learn a lot from leaves, the more color they come in the better and the more imperfections the more interesting they are. They are a metaphor for how we should view the world, embracing all of the colors and imperfections.

I have had a lot of questions about my process, so I’m sharing it with you.

CarrieProjectB1. First I painted the leaf on watercolor paper.

Color palette:
DANIEL SMITH Quinophthalone Yellow
DANIEL SMITH Green Gold
DANIEL SMITH Undersea Green
DANIEL SMITH Quinacridone Gold
DANIEL SMITH Quinacridone Deep Gold
DANIEL SMITH Sepia
Holbein Leaf Green
DANIEL SMITH Quinacridone Sienna (background Step 2)
Additional Materials:
Gold Leaf
Gold Leaf Sizing/Adhesive

2. I painted the background around the leaf a rusty orange color so that if there are any spaces in the gold leaf they won’t be white.

3. I then applied gold sizing around the leaf. Wherever you paint the sizing on is where the gold leaf will adhere. After putting a thin layer of sizing on you have to wait a minimum of an hour for it to set.

4. I then applied the gold leaf sheets. These are very delicate and easily rip. You want dry, clean hands while apply the sheets.

5. Using a soft brush I rub the gold leaf onto the sizing in a circular motion. The gold leaf will not stick to any area that doesn’t have sizing.

6. Continue this process all around the leaf making sure you overlap a little onto the gold areas for full coverage.

Voila the finished product!

I have to say I’m in love with these leaves and would love to have them all over my house for Fall decor, or any time of the year. They are elegant, they look good on the wall or the shelf.