Problem solved- Community brainstorming successful - thank you!
Submitted to Community Café
How to efficiently paint 100 -dollar store - leaves metallic?
With all the wonderful suggestions and tips in the previous post- I was able to *easily* get the job done with the second try. The suggestion using adhesive spray was the key, I chose to use the thinnest cheapest packaging tape on some cardboard. It seemed the more effective -easy to place and manipulate than masking tape to hold the leaves stationary for spray paint application. It did involved flipping to the reverse side after first pass was dry, the tape was still tacky in the masked off area.
Thanks for all the suggestions and the idea to get fairy lights too. I appreciate all the helpful comments.