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I was looking for some stand out drawer pulls to add to a plain bedside table. I decided to try making some myself from old Prosecco Corks. I used some old nail polish, some drawer pull screws, Mod Podge and imitation gold leaf to get the look I was after.
- Corks ( I used Prosecco but Champagne or Cava will do just as well!)
- Old Nail Polish (I used several sparkly colours that I don’t wear anymore)
- Mod Podge (I used gloss for this project)
- Screws to fit the hole on your piece of furniture
- Gold Leaf (I used imitation)
- Hair Dryer
- Small/Mini paint brush
- Metallic leaf adhesive & foam brush or gold leaf brush.
- Empty container or Tupperware
Step 1: Prepare the Nail Polish
You can use whatever colour or sheen of nail polish you like for this. I was looking for something metallic but sort of marbled. I like copper and gold but I knew I also wanted a pop of colour. I happened to have some small bottles of sparkly nail polish in gold, copper and a bright blue. I don’t wear them anymore so I decided to try to use them to get the look I was after.
First I poured the copper into an old Indian takeaway tray, followed by the gold and finally the blue with the quantities of each getting smaller and smaller as I went along until I ended up with this.
Step 2: ‘Stamp’ the top of the Cork
The next step is to cover the top of the cork with the nail polish. To do this you basically use a stamping action – imagine dipping an old fashioned letter seal in wax. Don’t swirl it around, just press it down firmly and take it back out again. You can use the same pot of nail polish for multiple corks but you might need to top up some of the inner colours if you are using more than one (you could of course just use one colour if you prefer).
Step 3: Blow Dry
The next step might sound a bit strange, but basically you need to hold on to the bottom of your cork and blow dry the top of your cork. The nail polish looks nice when you first stamp it in and take it out, but there will be a lot of it and even if you left it to dry for hours it would still be in danger of smudging when it is that thick.
Using the hair dryer lets you keep the marbled multicolour look but pushes the nail polish (with the hot air) down the edges of the top of the cork and creates a much thinner layer of polish on the front of what will be your drawer pull.
If you don’t mind your drawer pulls being recognisably corks you could leave them like this, add the screws and finish with Mod Podge (see step 6), but I wanted to completely disguise mine.
Step 4: Paint the sides
To cover the sides of the corks I first tried to roll the cork in the nail polish with my fingers but it quickly got messy so I opted to insert the screws I would be using later on to attach my handles and use that as a ‘handle’ to help manoeuvre the cork in the polish.
To attach your screw, either at this stage or when you attach it to your furniture, you can either drill a tiny hole first or just force the screw in with brute force. I did the later and it worked just fine.
Once I had gotten as much nail polish on as I could using this method I used a small paintbrush to fill in the gaps and left them to dry.
Step 5: Gold Leaf
This step is completely optional as by now your cork should be a completely different colour to how it started. But I was looking for a bit of a multicoloured metallic look so I decided to add some gold leaf. I used imitation gold leaf as well which comes in inexpensive sets with lots of sheets and can be used on all sorts of projects.
First I applied my gold leaf adhesive to the outside of the cork. It’s quite runny so it is hard to be precise with this if you are trying to be, luckily I wasn’t. Essentially I wanted the gold leaf to stick to some places and not to others so you could still see the copper nail varnish colour through it.
Once I was happy with my glue I just rolled the cork in one sheet of the gold leaf. Pressed it down a bit and then flaked it off with my well worn foam brush.
If you want more of the gold leaf to adhere to the sides you should apply more glue and leave the leaf on to dry for a while longer before you rub with the foam roller of brush with the gold leaf brush to remove the excess.
Step 6: Mod Podge
This was the drawer pulls after the gold leaf but before the Mod Podge. I did get a bit of gold leaf on the face of my drawer pulls which wasnt the intention but I’m not too disappointed as I still think it looks okay given the mottled sort of appearance I was going for on the sides.
The last step is just to protect your drawer pulls, as you’ll be touching them a lot. Two thin coats of Mod Podge should help them to stand up to frequent touching. I used the gloss version as I was going for shiny anyway!
Remember Mod Podge goes on white but dries clear but you do want to try to brush away the tiny bubbles you can see in this picture as much as possible. Often they will disappear as they dry but sometimes you can faintly see them afterwards so best to try to avoid them if you can.
Step 7: Give your new handles a home
Looking for some more furniture makeover’s with metallic touches? Try this tutorial with gold handles done completely differently to these, or this one about a vintage buffet that had the inside of its drawer’s painted gold.