I do purchase some items cheaply at antique stores. For instance, the ceramic dove salt and pepper shakers, that I covered in gold leaf for one of my current projects, were perfect additions to that piece. They were inexpensive, too. Still, there is another type of place that I sometimes frequent to find the odd object to include in an altarpiece—discount stores. TJ Maxx and Marshall’s have been particularly helpful. Other stores that carry home decorations are also great. The resin or plastic items often found at those stores can be particularly interesting.
The surface of the object was first prepared by lightly sanding. Paint adheres best when the surface is slightly roughened. The entire surface was then covered with a deep red acrylic paint. I usually have to apply the paint in several steps since some sections need to dry before I can flip the object over and paint other areas. The traditional color of the undercoating for gold leaf is slightly more brown, but I like the contrast that comes from this more intense red, especially in the instances when I age the leafing.