Friday, March 5, 2010

Gold Leafed Ceiling

My god did my life get busy! I haven't written in ages due to time consuming school and recent family matters. For the last couple of months my choice was either to work on my house or write about; as you can tell I obviously chose the fist option. However, things have slowed down a bit and I have found a rainy afternoon to sit down and write my heart out. So I'm going to pick up right where I left off.

My next step after making the parquet flooring for my very French party room was the ceiling. For a while I had no clue what I was going to do until one fateful day in Novato. My mom and I had just finished catching up with an old friend who lived in the area when we drove past a shop named Dollhouses, Trains & More. It didn't take much to persuade her to pull over for a quick peak inside. As I was looking through the dollhouse section my eyes fell upon at least twenty vertically stacked "plaster ceilings". I excitedly looked through the selection of ceilings hoping to find one that would be rococo enough for my house. Luckily I did.

The first thing I did when I got home was tediously pick out every single plaster bubble and sand down any imperfections. I couldn't wait for the weekend when I would really get to start to working on it. That weekend turned out to be much more difficult than I had expected.

My first step was to cut the ceiling to fit. It seemed like a simple task, but that perception was quickly changed. My first problem arose when I began to make measurements. Although the medallion was in the center of the plaster for some reason it had been rotated a couple of degrees. So, because the edges of the plaster weren't parallel to the medallion I had no right angle to work off of. Fun right? After an hour measuring, remeasuring, and racking my brain for any knowledge I had left of last years geometry, I finally had the correct dimensions. That's when I ran into my second problem, how to cut it.

The problem was the material the ceiling was made of. Although it looked like plaster it was actually a type of linoleum; one that was not going to be cut with an exacto knife. So my dad and I got out the jigsaw and tried to make the most accurate cut possible. Miraculously, we did! The ceiling fit perfectly.

Next was primer. I was actually pretty excited about this mundane task because a couple of days before I had bought spray primer for this exact project. There was no way I was going to attempt to paint a smooth coat of primer over all of the decorative detailing. So I happily went to town applying my two coats of primer with ease. As I stepped back after spraying the last coat a huge fly landed on the ceiling's gleaming white surface! I quickly flicked it off but the damage had already been done. After sanding the dried smudge I finally put the last coat on. Then it was time to play with some color.
I went to the paint cabinet and pulled out my two brand new paint cans. The first color was a cream and the second a light green. First I painted the large area outside the medallion cream and then the inner circle green. For the center piece i decided to mix the green and cream together for a bit of variety in color. It looked great and the next step was gold leafing!

I had been waiting to gold leaf for so long and could not wait to see what it would look like on my ceiling. The first step is applying the adhesive sizing, or glue. The application in itself is easy but waiting an hour for it to set is never fun, especially when you are dying to see what the finished product will look like. Once the sizing has partially dried it is time to apply the gold leaf! All you do is place the super thin foil on the sized surface and brush off all the excess foil. It's surprisingly that easy, and it looks absolutely gorgeous!

All that was left to do before putting the ceiling in was attach the chandelier eye. I used my dremel to drill a small hole through the center of the medallion so I would be able to fish a wire through. Then I put an eye with a finding through the hole and secured it on the back. This way when I get to making my chandelier I will be able to simply hang it from the eye.

At this point I was finally ready to put my ceiling in my little chateau! To be one hundred percent sure the the ceiling would not only stay up but also hold the weight of a chandelier I decided to use contact cement. I was pretty nervous about using it and totally messing everything up, but the ceiling fit like a glove. So, drum role please. Here is my finished rococo, gold leaf covered, ceiling!