How to faux paint any surface to look like zinc.
Have you ever tried painting a faux finish on a surface like a table top or a piece of furniture?
Have you thought of trying, but thought it too hard to accomplish?
I want to change that mindset.
Creating DIY faux paint finishes on any surface is one of the easiest decorative painting projects you can do.
I just completed giving the top of my kitchen table the look of zinc using inexpensive chalk paint and am going to show you how I did it.
Even Ed commented as he watched me create the look of zinc, that all I was doing was applying layers of paint and removing them…. EXACTLY… no artistic skills needed!
Why Painting Faux Finishes Is Easy?
Faux Painting 1… 2… 3…
- Simply layer paint on.
- Then remove or move it around and let dry.
- Repeat the process until you like what you see.
- Seal with wax or poly.
The best part about creating faux finishes is that in the layers of paint you add, any mistakes are hidden under the layers and can actually make the faux finish look even more realistic.
The History of My Kitchen Table
My kitchen table is about 25 years old. I bought it at JCPenney for $159. The metal base was originally black wrought iron, the top had a dark reddish brown stain on it.
I stripped the top about 8 years ago, painted the metal base white and last year added faux wood paper to the top.
I really liked the wood paper cover and would highly recommend using it if you no longer like your dining table top and don’t want to paint it or use a tablecloth over it.
After a year, the wood paper top got a small tear in it. It was tiny, but since I like to change things up I figured it was a sign to give the table another new look using paint this time around.
My Faux Painted Zinc Tabletop Inspiration
I have been moving to using more organic and natural decor in my home. It feels right and more relaxing, plus it keeps things simple.
There is plenty of driftwood grey, browns and white in the open concept kitchen and living room. I felt I needed to add something black to add a pop of interest while complimenting the other colors.
After doing some research into a few different paint techniques, I decided to give my tabletop the look of zinc.
Faux Finish Painting TIP: Always find a photo or actual surface in the finish you want to use as your inspiration and guide. I found this image on Pinterest and made a copy of it to use as my faux zinc painting guide.
There wasn’t a tutorial to go with the image, but I read other faux zinc painting tutorials that I found and then tweaked them into my own method.
I think I got pretty close to the look I was after.
Here are a few in-process photos.
I originally was going to use a flat poly and tested out two polyurethane’s first. I didn’t like the look of either as they made the white aging on the black surface, turn grey.
I ended up using Annie Sloan clear wax and then dark wax over the faux painted zinc finish. I wanted a few areas to look aged and also to pick up the browns in the floor and Kubu chairs. You can see the areas with dark wax in the photo above.
- When using dark wax – you can remove or move it around easily when it is applied over a layer of clear wax first. Then by going over the dark wax with clear wax you can manipulate it until you like what you see.
The best thing about sealing a dining table with soft wax is that when the wax wears, you can simply add another layer and it will blend in seamlessly. This is not the case when poly wears or gets a water ring on it. The fix is not seamless.
How to Paint Faux Zinc on Any Surface
To create the look of zinc on my table I used chalk paint and wax to seal it. I have tried and used many brands and even have made my own chalk paint, but my go-to for affordability and quality is Waverly Inspirations Chalk Paint that you can buy at Walmart.
I used the colors – Ink, Truffle, Mineral and White (not shown)
- Black, lt. grey, brown and white chalk paint
- Small paint roller and roller tray
- 3″ wide paint brush
- Sea sponge
- Paper towels
- Mineral Spirits
- Empty spray bottle
- Clear and Dark Soft Wax – I used Annie Sloan
Time needed: 2 days.
How to Paint a Surface to Look Like Aged Zinc
The time needed to create the finish will take 1 – 2 days to allow for drying time in between coats of paint. Actual time painting will be around an hour.
- Prepare Surface
I had to strip the waxed surface from my table before I could start. I used mineral spirits to do this. I poured some on the table and moved it all over the table with a rag. Let it sit for about 10 minutes then began wiping it up.
I went over again using a scrubbing sponge until I had all the wax off. You will be able to tell this when the surface doesn’t have a gummy feel anymore.
Let the wood dry. Apply wood patch in any holes. Let dry. My table had big holes where wood knots once were, but over time have come out.
Sand top smooth with 100 grit sandpaper, clean well.
- Apply Base Coat of Paint
For the zinc finish, I rolled on the color Ink as the base coat. I only used one coat and let it dry.
- Add a Coat of Watered Down Truffle Paint
When creating faux finishes, after the first coat, the rest of the coats of paint will be watered down so that when applied they are more transparent.
Water down paint ratio: 75% water to 25% paint.
- Wipe Away Most of Brown Paint
Right after your watered-down brown layer of paint is applied, wipe most of it off using a rag or lint-free paper towel.
The reason you wipe most of it away is to provide light transparent layers so you can see what is underneath. Almost like the layers are floating on top of each other.
- Apply Lt. Grey Paint
Water down the grey paint – Waverly Mineral 75% water to 25% paint and apply using a sea sponge all over the table.
Then before it dries, spray water over the entire surface and let dry.
- Repeat the Process Using White Paint
Apply watered-down white paint using the sea sponge and then spray water all over the surface. Dab excess with sponge to even out in areas and let dry.
- Apply a Coat of Clear Wax
This may seem counter-productive since wax repels paint, but in this case that is what you want to create the look of aged zinc.
Apply one thin coat of clear wax over the surface and buff a little to make sure it is covering the entire surface.
- Mix White Paint with Mineral Spirits
Mix watered down white paint (60% water to 30% paint) with a few splashes of mineral spirits. (I used a 1/4 cup.)
Paint the table using the mix. As you paint you will see that the paint does not adhere in circular patterns. This is good when creating a faux zinc finish.
When you are finished laying the coat of white paint/mineral spirits down, use the sea sponge or paint brush to mop up any area that looks too white or that you don’t like.
Spray water over a few areas so the paint softens and gives the surface a water-colored look in places.
- Add Another Layer of White or Grey Paint
If needed, apply more paint layers using the same process until you like what you see. I used a mix of the spray bottle of water, the sea sponge and paint brush all over the surface to get the painted surface to look like my inspiration photo.
Faux Zinc Painting TIPS:
If you want a whiter look for your faux zinc, make the white layers, whiter then you think you want because when you seal it, the white will darken.
Add more mineral spirits to the mix to create more circular patterns of black under the spotted white layer.
If you dislike a coat of paint that you applied as it is drying, just spritz water over it and move the paint around with the sponge or a balled up rag.
- Let Dry and Seal Surface
When you like the painted finish, let it dry overnight or at least 8 hours. I had the ceiling fan going on over the table that made drying times between each coat go faster.
- Apply Sealer Coat
To protect your faux painted zinc, you must seal it. You can use a matte or flat polyurethane. I used wax to seal my table as I like how easy it is to fix if the surface gets damaged.
Waverly Inspirations makes a very durable matte finish poly. It does have a slight sheen, but if you apply 2 – 4 coats it will give you a very durable finish.
General Finishes makes a poly called Flat Out Flat. I have not used this, but know that it does produce no sheen with excellent durability.
- Sealing Option: Clear and Dark Wax
I used both Annie Sloan Clear and Dark Wax to seal my table. I used the dark wax to create a few darker areas to mimic real zinc.
I applied clear wax first over the the surface and buffed. Then I added dark wax to a few areas and then used clear wax over the brown to lighten it and spread it around.
When I liked how the dark wax looked in areas, I went over the surface with a soft lint-free cloth and buffed until the rag slid across the surface easily.
Round Pedestal Tables I Like
I like my round table in my kitchen. It fits the space perfectly and is classic. If I was ever to get a new one, I would still want it to be a round pedestal table. No table legs to get in the way of chairs. I would also want it to have an extension leaf that we could add when we have family and friends visiting.
Reader Who Painted Her Dining Room Table
Look what reader, Lorelei H. did to her dining room following this tutorial. Doesn’t it look amazing! She did such a great job!
Have you ever created a faux paint finish? Now that you see the process – and the success of a reader who did it, would you try it?