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Garage Sale Challenge Shawn and Lacey faceoff

Garage Sale Challenge: Going for the Gold (Leaf)

Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!
 
It’s officially time for our Garage Sale Challenge faceoff, and our first two competitors are setting the bar high! They say great minds think alike, and it must be true, because these two both explored using gold leafing in their projects. Coincidence or collusion? You tell us!
 
Remember, certain rules needed to be followed, but there’s no restriction on just how creative these yard sale hacks can be. And don’t forget, you decide the winner. Tell us who created your favorite piece in the comments below.
 
First up? Shawn Sowers, principal designer, who opted for a little less “sugar and spice” and a little more “where the wild things are” for his daughter’s bedroom décor.  
 
Garage Sale Challenge Shawn before
Shawn adds glitz and gold to some antlers for a “wild” addition to an existing wall collage. 

Sauder Editor: So what’d you find during your thrifting adventure?
Shawn Sowers: I had it in my head that I wanted to incorporate some animal elements and warm metals in my daughter’s room. Her room is decorated in soft grays, with African prints and some white frames hung in a collage. I set out looking for something that would blend into the existing palette and animal motif, but add a little glitz to jazz up the display. I hit the antler jackpot at a consignment shop in Traverse City, Michigan, and I chose this particular one because I liked how the suede fabric and beige woven straps looked with the bone color. My bargaining skills came in handy here — I was able to talk them down to $20 from $25.
 
SE: But you didn’t leave it as is. How’d you get creative with this piece?
SS: I swapped out the wood base of the mount for something smaller and less ornate. Because the antlers themselves took up a good chunk of my budget, I was restricted with the new mount I could use. I bought some acrylic French gray paint for the mount and thinned it way, way down so it was more like a wash and you can still see the wood grain. I toyed with the idea of using copper for the antler tips but ultimately thought the gold would complement the gray nicely.
 
SE: Tell us about the gold leaf! Was it difficult to adhere to the antlers?
SS: I’ve actually never worked with gold leafing before, so that was interesting! It was a little tricky and relatively delicate, but it was more forgiving than I would have guessed. Overall, I’m happy with how it turned out. One piece of advice on using gold leaf — don’t get it near an open window, ceiling fan or highly ventilated area. It’s super light-weight and delicate, so your entire room can get covered in gold really easily if you’re not careful! Trust me; I learned the hard way.
 
SE: Did you stay under time and under budget?
SS: Including drive time and time spent wandering around Michael’s, I only invested 3 ½ hours. I narrowly kept it under budget. $49.54!
 
Up next is Lacey Campbell, a designer who probably used her skills as a former roller derby girl to box out any potential competition.
 
Garage Sale Challenge Lacey before
Lacey’s diamond-in-the-rough dresser is transformed with furniture paint and gold leaf.  

Sauder Editor: Tell us about what you found for the Garage Sale Challenge.
Lacey Campbell: I visited a warehouse in downtown Toledo, Ohio, that’s $10 for all-you-can-haul. I was like a kid in a candy store! I ended up finding this three-drawer dresser that was in pretty rough shape, but I knew it would fit well with the vintage eclectic style I have in my home.
 
SE: Yeah, the dresser looked like it had seen better days! How’d you bring it back to life?
LC: Well, I did a couple of things. First, I used Durham’s Water Putty to patch up the parts that were particularly bad. After the putty dries, you can sand it, paint it, stain it … whatever. Then I taped off the areas where I wanted the wood grain to show and applied 2 ½ coats of Rust-Oleum professional primer. After that, I used Watco Danish Oil to brighten and condition the worn wood. Almost looks like new!
 
SE: You ended up with a really unique design for the front of the dresser. How’d you come up with that idea?
LC: I created a variety of sketch-overs to help me decide the motif, which would be a combination of exposed wood grain, some gold leafing and a color or two. I couldn’t leave all the wood grain showing because I needed to cover up some of the rough spots. What was probably most important to me was preserving the age of the piece, which is why I chose this color palette and hardware.
 
SE: Admit it; you’re obviously not a gold leaf novice. Tell us, what are your best tips for working with this technique?
LC: This definitely wasn’t my first gold leaf rodeo, you’re right! Things I’ve learned from experience? Wear gloves — winter gloves work great as long as they’re clean. Gold leaf is an extremely thin material, so any texture will be shown through when you apply the glue. If you’re looking for an antique look (like I was), use a coarse brush to apply the glue so the gold leaf goes on streaky or worn. When making a straight line, use painters tape but leave it in place until the gold leaf is applied. The tape residue is just tacky enough to grab onto the gold leaf, and the gold leaf is thin enough that it won’t disturb your perfect edge when lifting the tape.
 
SE: Alright, now we have to know — how did you do for time and budget?
LC: The $10 all-you-can-haul warehouse may have taken a lot of time to wander through, but it really saved the day when it came to my budget. Because I got the dresser for such a steal, I was able to spend the rest of my money on the refinishing products that I didn’t already have on hand and hardware. There wasn’t a cent left to spare!
 
Now it’s time to vote! Let us know which designer’s gold leaf creation should be named this week’s champ in the comments below.
 
Stay tuned for Kayte versus Keely next week! 
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