How to copy my Fabulous Faux Gold Ceiling

You can do this. Trust me. It's not rocket science.

Faux-painted gold ceiling
My dining room has a beautiful double-step tray ceiling, but it didn't stand out. We don't use the space often, but with our open concept floor plan, we see it all the time. So the time and effort to transform it was worth it.

My ceiling is 12 ft. up. I did this by myself in about 4 days (counting 2 or 3 trips to Home Depot). If you get dizzy or wobbly on ladders, this is not for you. Everyone else, read on.

You'll need
  • Detail of faux gold tray ceiling
    Ladder, mine is 8 ft. for a 12 ft. ceiling
  • 1-2 Paint roller frames, I like RollerLite 6 1/2"
  • 3-4 roller covers, nap for your surface; 3/8" for most
  • 2-3 disposable roller trays
  • Extension rod. Telescoping is the best
  • 1 1/2" angled paint brush, best quality
  • 1-2 Rubbermaid natural (as in sea) sponge roller covers, best price at Walmart
  • Ralph Lauren "Golden Candlesticks" metallic latex paint, at least a gallon
  • Behr Faux Glaze (clear, latex), gallon
  • Small tube of burnt umber acrylic (paint or craft store)
  • Touch-up paint for adjacent areas
  • Plastic dropcloths
  • Gallon zip-loc bags to store rollers & brushes
  • Scotch blue painters tape for delicate surfaces (NEVER use anything else)
  • Kilz Premium primer, if needed
  • 2-3 covered containers for mixing glaze
  • Measuring cups, spoons
  • Free paint stir sticks
  • Foamcore poster board for practice, optional
  • Wall texture spray if you have texture, optional
Prep & paint 
  • Clear the room as much as you can; I had to work around my heavy glass table
  • Mask off adjacent surfaces as needed
  • Cover everything under the ceiling with drop cloths
  • Clear trash bag works great over chandeliers
  • Put an old baseball cap on
  • You should wear gloves, but I can't stand them
  • Prime ceiling with Kilz if necessary (like if it's red or black)
  • Cut in gold with the brush, around perimeter & in corners (tray ceiling)
  • Roll on 2 coats of gold, min. 4 hours drying time per coat
  • Pop the brush and entire roller into the zip-loc bag to store
  • Gold will look splotchy and that's normal
...on your ceiling, a wall, or poster board. I prefer foamcore board. You can duct tape the board to the ceiling to test. Your finish will depend on your ceiling's texture. Mine, right, is light orange peel with several applications of glaze to get the mottled effect. You can always paint gold over areas you aren't happy with and redo, but you won't have to.

My finish is a burnished gold. You can experiment with different acrylic tints to get different effects, like bronze or copper.
  • Prepare practice surface as needed
  • Paint it gold, 2 coats
  • Dry between applications with blow dryer
  • Gold will look splotchy. Don't worry
  • Start with 3T clear glaze, 1T water, and tiny amount of acrylic (like 1/2 tsp.)
  • For 2nd glaze, mix some gold into your 1st glaze, thin with water
  • Write down your glaze recipes so you can duplicate later
  • Test on the poster board, adjusting til you get translucent shades you like
  • Observe in different lighting in your space
  • This is trial and error, you have to play with it
When you like your practice results, your ceiling should be dry and ready to glaze.

  • Mix glaze in your darkest desired tone, enough for your space
  • Roll it on randomly with the natural sponge roller
  • Vary the pressure and coverage
  • Leave some spots gold
  • Work in sections, about 3 sq. ft.
  • Lightly blend sections into each other as you go
  • Think organic, you don't want a discernable pattern
  • Let dry thoroughly, 4 hrs. min.
  • Mix your 2nd glaze, you won't need a lot
  • Roll on with natural sponge roller
  • You'll start to see how it goes, layering glazes
  • Go back over areas you want to improve
  • Dab on gold paint where you made boo boos
  • Have fun!
Click to enlarge
  • WEAR A HAT! I forgot and had gold highlights for awhile
  • Dilute 1-2 oz liquid fabric softener with water for the BEST brush cleaner
  • Don't waste time and water washing roller covers and trays, unless you believe that doing so will help save the planet
  • Store your wet brushes and rollers in the sealed bags...for weeks!
  • NEVER paint out of the can. Pour into tray and seal can immediately
  • Buy the best brushes you can afford, you'll reuse them many times
  • To prevent peeling, always remove painter's tape less than 45 mins. after you painted the area
  • Apply new tape before next coat if necessary
After I painted, my husband and I installed the two tiers of crown molding (Sherwin Williams "Alabaster," gloss). We used the poly kind from Home Depot (or Lowe's) because it's lightweight, easy to handle and doesn't need priming. You only need a simple miter box. The rest of the living space had crown and the dining room needed it as a finishing touch.

Dining room wall color is Sherwin Williams Harmonic Tan satin latex (SW 6136), which reads as varying shades of green in different light conditions.

How-to on the niche faux painting is here near the end of the post.

Cost to pay someone to do this - ?
Doing it yourself - priceless!

Here's a short video showing how I made the dining room's silk curtains, along with some shots of the ceiling.


Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful!!!

Sandy said...

Absolutely gorgeous! I do have a question about the paint on your ceiling. Did you use the same technique and color on the wall niche that you used on the tray ceiling? Much appreciated, thank you. And once again, fabulous job on those curtains!

Mary Kay said...

Hi Sandy! I hope you see this response...sorry for the delay. The niches are not the same finish as the ceiling. I used plastic trash bags to apply a glaze over the wall color, using a deeper shade of that color. Then I dabbed some of the gold ceiling paint lightly over the finished faux treatment. The two faux finished seem to compliment each other without looking overdone, and that was my goal!