How to Paint a Faux Zinc Finish on a Candy Jar Top Made With a Tuna Can

If you have followed my blog for a while then you probably remember the post I did where I made a lantern using – a tuna can!  Well, this project is another way I have found to re-purpose a tuna can.  I painted a faux zinc finish on a tuna can to create a top for a thrift store glass candy jar that was missing a lid.

Post Updated: October 2, 2020

Faux Zinc finish painting how to tutorial
Zinc-top-French-Candy-Jars-from Ballard Designs Catalog

When I first saw these French Candy Jars while paging through the Ballard Designs catalog, I immediately thought – that zinc lid could be made using a tuna can.  So I went to find something to try my idea on.

I collect glass canisters like the ones above.  You can find them at most thrift stores for a few dollars.

I have them in my kitchen displaying candy and wine corks.  I also have a few in my bathroom – where I have shells I collected on vacation, soap, and bath bubbles displayed.

I had one of these glass jar that was missing its top and a tuna can fit perfectly on top. I was on a positive roll and knew my idea to create a faux zinc finished top for my glass jar was going to work out.

How to Create a Faux Zinc Finish on Any Surface

I am showing how I created a faux zinc finish on a tin can using paint, but you can use the same faux painting technique to change the finish on any item you own.

I also used the same painting technique to make new Mason Jar lids look aged with a vintage appeal. See these at the end of this post. The painting steps for each are the same.

supplies needed:

  • Glass canister
  • Tuna can
  • Glass cabinet knob
  • Drill and drill bit the size of the cabinet knob screw ( No drill?  use hot glue to attach the knob)
  • Craft paint – black, white, and metallic silver
  • Glazing Liquid – clear – sold by the craft paints. Any type of clear glaze will work
  • Flat white paint  – I used flat white ceiling paint that I had in my basement. Flat paint makes it look more aged and chalky like a zinc finish.
  • Sponge
  • Spray bottle of water
  • Foam plate
How to make a tuna can top for a candy jar

1. Drill a hole in center bottom of the tuna can. The bottom will become the top of the candy jar top.  If you don’t have a drill you can use hot glue to attach the knob to the can.

2.  Paint the tuna can black and let it dry.

3.  On a foam plate squirt a dollop of white, black, and silver paint keeping them separate, but close together.  Squirt a dollop of clear glazing liquid in the center.  This will help keep the paint from being too opaque once applied.

How to paint metal to look like Zinc

4. Use a sponge or a sponge stencil pouncer and press it into the middle of the paint/glaze. Swirl it around just a bit and then wipe it over the surface of the tuna can.  It doesn’t have to be perfect – you want to see all the colors as well as let some of the initial coat of black show through.  Let dry.

How to paint faux metal - zinc

5.  Once it is dry repeat the process adding more white and glaze to the mix.  Swirl it around the can and top. Let dry.

Faux Zinc How to painting techniques

Once it is dry it should look something like this…

Hoe to create Faux Zinc on furniture

6. This step is where the aged zinc effect will take place. Dip a sponge into flat white paint and swirl it evenly around the can and the top.  Make sure to get some of the paint into the crevices of the can.  Place on the paper plate.

How to painted finhishes - Faux Zinc Finish

7. Spray the just applied flat white paint with water – not a lot, but just enough so the paint softens and runs a tiny bit. Let dry.

If you don’t like how it looks, just keep repeating the steps – the more layers the more aged it will look.

How to paint something to look like Zinc

8. Attach the knob to the tuna can.

Zinc painting effects how tutorial
Repurpose a tuna can ideas

$1.50 thrift store purchase has now become something that you would find at a Paris flea market.

Fauz Zinc painting tutorial
Tuna can candy jar topper how to tutorial
Zinc-Tuna-Candy Jar Topper Ballard Designs Knock-Off
Decorate with Christmas Candy

When I first posted about making this faux zinc painted finish on the tuna can to make a lid for the glass jar I did it on a whim. Another positive thing about the project. I still use it everyday even after 9 years. The painted finish has held up just fine.

How to Age Mason Ball Jars with a Faux Zinc Finish Using Paint

I used the same painting technique that I used on the tuna can to age the top of the new Blue Mason jar lids. I love that Ball has brought back the blue Mason jars, but the lids are gold tone. I like when they look vintage, so with the power of paint, I aged them myself in less than 15 minutes.

Check out this Mason jar tutorial that shows how to make new Mason jar lids look old or vintage. How to age new blue Mason jar lids with paint. Easy to do with craft paint. | In My Own Style
How to age new blue Mason jar lids
Glass canister jar with a top made using a tuna can painted with a faux Zinc finish. Text overlay says DIY Faux Zinc on a tuna can lid.

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  1. Carol Goins says:

    Where did you find the glass cannister jar? Love the look!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Carol – I found the glass canister jar at a yard sale. I often see many of them at thrift stores. I think that is where you will be able to find one. you can also check to see if someone is selling one.

  2. So creative! I was wondering, how did you get the smell out of the tuna can? I tried to do a project with one, but even after soaking it in baking soda, and vinegar, and everything else I could think of, I just couldn’t get the smell out. What was your trick? :)

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Tiffany – I don’t think I did anything special to remove the smell. Dawn dishwashing detergent is all I used. If that doesn’t work maybe try Lemon Essential Oil to remove the smell.

      1. I’ll give it another go. Thank you so much!

  3. Susan Hemeon says:

    Love this project thanks for sharing. Can I use white chalk paint that is all the rage lately instead of the ceiling flat paint or any flat paint because it drys flat and leaves a chalky look.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Susan – Yes you can use chalk paint. As long as the paint is flat is will work fine.

  4. I am so glad I found your site! I have the exact same jar & have looked forever for a lid. I have a glass knob so now all I have to do I have a tuna sandwich for lunch tomorrow & I will be all set. One more jar for Valentine candy =)

  5. That is brilliant!!! Thanks so much for sharing. I can’t wait to try this, but first I have to find the perfect jar…. Flea markets/auctions here I come! :)

  6. Hi Diane,
    I just stumbled upon your blog and I can’t get off of it! I love the zinc tuna can thing and I am on to check out the rest. I love your blog!
    Nice to meet you!

  7. Came across your site by clicking my way to craft site after craft site. OMG….these ideas are so cute…thank you so much for sharing with us. The projects are amazing and I will return to see what inventive things you have going on. I love to fill my time doing all kinds of crafts and give them as gifts to family and friends. Of course I have to keep a few for myself too!!

  8. Don’t worry about the the styrofoam plate – just pick up a glass or ceramic dinnerplate at the thrift store. It makes a great paint surface and washes up so easily.
    And those tall apothecary jars are all over the yard sales. They’ve been sold filled with cashews and mixed nuts since the ’70s. I usually find them for 50 cents, maybe a quarter.
    Nice touch with the metal cover.

  9. Linda Leyble says:

    Very cool!! I love this. I am a decorative artist by trade and I have wanted to figure out a zinc finish (there’s a gorgeous zinc bathroom that I have seen on the web that I would love to recreate in my own house!).

    Love the simplicity of this…yet very effective!!


  10. That was great, I can’t wait to try your technique. Thank you for the explanation.

  11. Wow! I just realized that my mom had a candy jar just like this when I was a kid, but I’m not sure where it is anymore. Probably packed away somewhere……Thanks for the memory.

    1. Isn’t it fun to see things from you past that brings back a nice memory? Maybe someday you will find it :)

  12. Hey! Love the idea! Where did you purchase the jar?

  13. Nancy Stone says:

    What a clever idea!

  14. Hi Diane, thanks so much for sharing this at Project Queen last week. I’ll be featuring this evening at the Highlight Party.


  15. Maria@PersonalizedSketches says:

    Very cute and creative! Thank you for sharing this :o)

    Blessings & Aloha!
    I’m stopping by from Susan’s Metamorphosis Monday. I’d love if you get a chance to stop by and take a peek at our daughter’s work in progress for their nursery :o)

  16. Ashlyn@Pinecone says:

    Ok Diane – I think this is my new favorite diy from you. What a great idea – and I just love the zinc look of the tuna can!!

    I love how you just keep coming up with great ideas!!

  17. thistlewoodfarm says:

    What an awesome project! I love the zinc look. Great tutorial.


  18. I have a question. Why do you have to use ceiling paint? Can you use any latex white paint? I love the idea!

    1. Good question Shawna – It needs to be flat paint. Any white flat paint will work. You just don’t want any shine. Ceiling paint is extremely flat that is why I used it, plus I had it on hand :) I will add this to the post to clarify.

  19. Your popup ads don’t close when you click close making it impossible to view your site . Its very annoying. Just an fyi

    1. Hi Linda – I know and it is driving me nuts. I e-mailed my ad network to fix the problem. If they don’t soon I am going to have to pull them off. Thanks so much for telling me.

    2. Hi Linda – Just heard back from them. Can you tell me what browser you use. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome? They are trying to pinpoint the issue not just on my site, but all over. Thanks so much.

  20. I see I’m not the only one who likes to recycle those cans! Beautifully done!

  21. Erin@TheSavvySeeker says:

    Great tutorial – thanks for sharing!

  22. stellacreations says:

    amazing vase.. so nice idea :):)

  23. Mrs. Delightful says:

    This is such a creative idea. I would love for you to stop by and link up at my linky party via:

    Mrs. Delightful

  24. OMG!! I so LOVE this idea!! I’ve never used a drill before but there’s a first for everything:D

    1. Hi – thanks – A drill is the easiest power tool to use – not scary like a saw can be. Just find a drill bit the size of the cabinet knob screw and attach it to the drill. Mark where the hole goes on the center of the can and place the tip of the drill bit and turn it on, add a bit of pressure and you are done.

      If you don’t want to use power tools, you could always just hot glue the knob on to the can.

  25. I admire your blog sooooo much, I come over here and am consistently blown away by your style and clever projects. Amazing!

  26. This is great! It looks so high end! Pinning!

  27. Boy! You are always thinking!! I save several of our tuna can just to do biscuit cutouts. Never would think of turning it into a zinc lid! Thanks for sharing!

  28. Marilyn Holeman says:

    I’ll say it again, Diane. You’re brilliant! Thanks for sharing.


  29. Kevin Graves says:

    Thank you for this tutorial. I have wonderful statue in my garden that is the Bird Girl of Savannah from Midnight and the Garden of Good and Evil. It was a fake gold bronze color I never much liked. Now it has begun to peel. I am going to sand it down and do this technique to it. If it succeeds I will send you a photo. It’s about 2.5 feet tall, so it will be a little chore. Thanks for this technique! I love zinc.

    1. Hi Kevin –

      I think it will work. If it is outside you may want to put a matte sealer or weatherproofer on as a last step. Although the weather might age it nicely without it. Worth a try either way.

  30. Catherine In NJ says:

    Diane this is great! Gosh you blow me away! Tuna Can?! Amazing.

  31. Mandy Stonehocker says:

    I simply adore this!!! I just found my project for the day!!! Great work!

    1. Hi Mandy –

      Thanks – good luck with yours. I would like to make a few more myself so I can place a group of them together.

  32. That is awesome!! Holy moly…youre smart! It looks so authentic.

  33. What a cool idea! Thanks for the tutorial…they look very authentic! xo

  34. Diane – you and the tuna cans! I used your idea last year for patio lights and now I am going to have to search for an appropriate jar at Goodwill so that I can try this project. Another great tutorial!!

  35. really beautifully done. so impressive! thanks for the great nitty, gritty details about how you achieved that zinc look – makes all the difference in trying to recreate it, which i will definitely be doing.

    i have one minor point and i hope you don’t mind. i’ve cut out a lot of styrofoam in my life because it has such negative impacts on the environment (and us). it takes 500 years to break down!

  36. JaneEllen Jones says:

    Oooo Loving those jars. Tuna can change is great. Had to save that one. Wish I could find jars like that. The only thrift store that is close to us gets raided every Wed. a.m. and if I’m not there I’m out of luck. We live out quite a ways from town and other thrift stores, other retail places so I don’t get much chance to shop for bargains.
    You have alot of great projects I can hardly wait to look at. First time for me on your blog and enjoying it very much. Thx for sharing great projects.

  37. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!! I cannot believe the top was made from a tuna can!!! You are one clever and creative gal :o)

  38. Nancy@Life: Designed says:

    Wow! Brilliant! Boy that’s a lot of work for the zinc affect. I was thinking of trying it a la Anthropologie Zinc letters but I’m not sure I have the patience for it! =) Good for you though! I love it and the fact that it’s a tuna can makes it 10000x better!!

  39. Gay Vaughan says:

    My favorite projects are those in which people take something left for trash and make treasure! This is a perfect example. Great job!

  40. Such a pretty project and what a great tutorial! I will be saving my tuna cans and definitely be on the lookout for jars that may work. Thank you!

  41. It’s beautiful, Diane! Thanks for the tutorial!

  42. So Clever! You do some cool stuff with a tuna can!

  43. Debbie~refreshrestyle says:

    I love your can makeovers! It looks great! I just broke a large glass lid, Maybe I could use a coffee can~does coffee still come in a can? Anyway, it turned out great!

  44. Kim @ Cheap Chic Home says:

    Oh, Diane–you and those tuna cans! I just a-dore this. It seems like one often finds pretty topless jars at the thrift store, I’m so copying this when I get a chance. Hugs, Kim

  45. beachhouseliving says:

    Once again a very clever re-use.

  46. Simple Daisy says:

    wow! That’s awesome!!!!
    What a fabulous idea:)

  47. I love this! Now I need to get to the thrift store to find a jar and also find someone willing to share an empty tuna can with me…we don’t eat tuna! I wonder if a cat food can would work…my neighbor has a cat! Thanks for sharing.

  48. Barb @ Grits and Glamour says:

    Just brilliant! I have made the tuna can lanterns and used them for several Christmas seasons. I even made some painted white and used them for a beach wedding. They were a hit! Love this idea. Very inventive!

  49. Great job Diane! I love how it looks. Thanks for the tutorial.