How do I transform my bed into gold?
May 16, 2012 10:27 PM   Subscribe

How can I transform my super old vintage painted cast iron bed into a rad shiny metallic aged gold bed in the least painful/expensive way possible?

I have a very old cast iron bedframe. Right now I have it painted with lemon yellow acrylic artist paint over a coat of some sort of rust-stop spray paint my dad put on it before giving it to me, and over a coat of light aqua latex paint that I got tired of a while ago. So, it doesn't look too good right now. I've been thinking it over, and I think how I really want it to look is very metallic gold. Kind of like this. I'm pretty good at DIY stuff (I've refinished old furniture before), but I've never really dealt with metal or any kind of finish meant to look like metal so this is new territory and I could really use any/all advice.

Gold leaf was the first plan that came to mind. Am I insane to attempt this as my first project using gold (or fake gold) leaf? Is it going to break my spirit or the bank? Advice on how to make this look awesome?

I've been looking at Martha Stewarts craft "Liquid Gilding". This seems like a more comfortable supply for me, but it comes in tiny bottles and I can't seem to get a clear idea online of how far a bottle will go. Also, I'm really interested if anyone has experience with wear and tear of a product like this?

Is there a type of brush-on craft paint that really, really looks metallic, and not just plain yellow-y colour with little glitter flecks?

Any way better/easier ways for me to go about this? (spraypaint of any kind is out, we're in an apartment without outdoor space).

posted by Sweetchrysanthemum to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
This person used gold paint (Deco Art Dazzling Metallics Glorious Gold) on these frames. It cost $3 for enough paint to do a frame, so maybe would work out too expensively for a whole bed.

There's also this comment in a different thread on AT:
If you decide to go with gold (or any other color for that matter), I highly recommend using a product like Rub 'n Buff as opposed to paint. It is a wax base metallic finish that you rub onto metal or painted surfaces. It completely transforms it and dries pretty much instantly. You just rub it on with a finger or cloth... way easier than brushes or spray for your type of project. I've used it to change the color of an old metal bed headboard, picture frames as well as about 30 metal planters for my wedding reception centerpieces. A little tube goes a really long way. I think there are a number of shades of gold (including Antique Gold). I got it at the local craft store.
posted by lollusc at 11:29 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

You don't want to use gold leaf - it's crazy expensive, hard to work with and not durable. I haven't worked with Rub 'n Buff but that sort of product is more likely to give you the kind of finish you want. I'd try a little on an inconspicuous area and see how it works for you.
posted by leslies at 3:56 AM on May 17, 2012

Is gold metallic spray paint totally out of the question? I've used this on a few things (sprucing up tin cans, decorative metalwork). The color is not as one-dimensional as you'd think. There are also some techniques using paints that could get you more of a patina. Gold leaf is a notorious pain in the ass.
posted by Katine at 6:34 AM on May 17, 2012

also, for the record, your "kind of like this" looks more like brass than gold to me, so you may be able to broaden your definitions a bit (and avoid bankrupting yourself). cast iron is unlikely to ever achieve that high a polish, but you can definitely get a gilded look with various paints.
posted by acm at 7:20 AM on May 17, 2012

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