Faux Zinc Painting Tutorial


Hello, laundry loves.
Below is the original tutorial for the Faux Zinc
painting technique that I used to create my 
Restoration Hardware inspired nightstand. 


Update 8/22/13:
It was brought to my attention that my zinc tutorial videos now feature 30 second ads at the beginning. :(
I just discovered that Blip automatically defaulted to pre-running ads for all videos as of April 15, 2013.
If I can locate the original video files from a few years ago, I’ll re-upload to YouTube (and here).
If not, I will shoot fresh videos soon!
In the meantime, please accept my apology.
I would never intentionally make you watch a 30-second ad for 13 videos. 



  For those of you that haven’t seen this post,
check it out first because there a many more photos
to illustrate the faux zinc finish.

This technique easy and beginner friendly.

It’s also very inexpensive.

When I first started blogging, I apparently felt the need to make a very simple process
look intimidating by creating a 14 step video tutorial!

Honestly. It isn’t hard at all.
(I was just crazy detailed.)

It is simply a matter of mixing

3 shades of metallic paint
and and just layering it on.
You can hit the nooks & crannies with a fine tip brush dipped in white
for a more authentic faux zinc look.

You can do this!

Supplies List:
Cotton rag (an old t-shirt works great)

Chip brush 

fine tip paint brush  

paper plates  


1 jar DecoArt Elegant Finish Metallic Paint in Shimmering Silver 
2 oz. DecoArt Americana acrylic paint in Ebony Black
2 oz. DecoArt American acrylic paint in Titanium White
8 oz. DecoArt Americana Glazing Medium 

Before I continue,

let me say that the paint you use is essential to a realistic faux zinc finish.
I am grateful that Mallie at DecoArt found my blog, offered to help with this project, 
and sent me some metallic and acrylic paints to try.

And. oh. my. gosh. 

I’ve used several metallic paints before and the Elegant Finish Metallic paint is my absolute favorite 

(and I’m not just saying that because of Mallie’s kindness). 
Many metallic paints are thin and sheer, requiring several coats. 
This paint covered in one coat, has a beautiful, realistic sheen, 
and the consistency was a dream to work with.
 The Elegant Finish Metallic paint is specifically for home decorating -
furniture, walls, wallpaper, etc.


It’s been almost 2 years since I’ve painted the nightstand and it looks good as new.
I use it in my kitchen as a coffee station, which gets plenty of regular use.
Not a scratch or ding yet.

DecoArt also makes an Elegant Finish Metallic glaze.

You can find all of the paints that I used at any Micheal’s or Hobby Lobby.

Step 1


Lightly sand your piece with a fine grit to prepare for primer.

Step 2


I used Sherwin Williams “Controls Rust” primer for use on metal or wood. 

The light gray cap matched their zinc spray paint cap exactly. 

Yes. Sherwin Williams carries a 97% Zinc Powder Spray Paint. 

There’s only one problem though. 

You can’t use the Zinc paint on wood according to the can…
in CAPITAL LETTERS and bold font. 

(I can take a hint.)

Step 3

Hammer in tiny nails.

Step 4
Mix three shades of metallic paint.
Light. Medium. Dark.
Use a combination of:
Shimmering Silver
Titanium White
Ebony Black

Step 5
Using a rag to apply and blend the different shades. 
You don’t need to be too particular about it either.
Imperfect works here.
Just use long strokes and work in sections because the paint dries pretty quickly.

Here is my nightstand after the base coat of metallic paint.

You can stop here and have a beautiful piece of furniture.

If you want a more worn patina, continue…

Step 6
Mix a light glaze for the lighter patina.
Use a 1:1 ratio of water and glazing medium.
Add Titanium White and Shimmering Silver.
(Again, the Shimmering Silver is also available in a glaze so you could
use the pre-made glaze and simply add white.)

Step 7
Rub on the white patina.

I applied the patina a bit heavier on the sides like this
Restoration Hardware photo



Step 8
Mix a dark glaze for burnishing.
Use a 1:1 ratio of water and glazing medium.
Add Ebony Black and Shimmering Silver.



Step 9 

Use a rag and chip brush to burnish certain areas. 

Burnish more areas if you want a darker patina, 

burnish less if you want to keep your piece lighter. 

There’s no right or wrong way. 


Step 10 

Use your rag and dark glaze mixture to create imperfections 

by swiping, rubbing, dabbing, etc.  


 Step 11 

Use your rag and light and medium glaze mixtures  

to create imperfections. 


Step 12

Use a 2:1 ratio of glazing medium and Titanium White 

WITHOUT water to create a white nook and cranny patina. 


Step 13

Use a fine tip paint brush to apply white patina 

to the nooks and crannies. Wipe off excess with rag. 

(Final) Step 14

After your piece is completely dry, 

apply a clear coat if you wish.



(…and not a speck on those white linens in my craft room/occasional guest bedroom.) 

  Click here to see more photos of my finished nightstand.


I hope you like the tutorial and find it helpful. 

The video quality isn’t the greatest but in this case, 

I think it works better than photos.

And just in case you’re wondering why I’m not talking in the videos, 

the original PLAN was to splice them together into one video
with french music playing in the background. 
However, my video software wasn’t cooperating.

If you have any questions, just put them in the comments
below or email me directly. I’m happy to help.

A few anticipated answers:

The chair in the background can be found here.
The tutorial for the rosette on the chair can be found here.
The song playing in two of the videos is “La vie en rose” by Edith Piaf.
The linens on the bed are Pottery Barn’s “Hemstitch” collection and are about 6 years old.
Yes, I needed a manicure afterward.


if you decide to faux zinc something, I would love to see a picture! 

I’m off to zinc a baby or something… 

(No, not really! But it is addicting. Chalkboard paint addicting.) 



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 Another furniture post for you 
faded weathered chipped crackled chalk paint furniture painting tutorial freckled laundry


  1. julie says:

    wow jami! you out did yourself! with the videos and the finished nightstand! how did you know to do all those different steps! you are good girl!

  2. Jami – This is simply gorgeous! Great tutorial. You did an amazing job – I really like it. ~ Stephanie Lynn

  3. Thanks for that, Jami, I think you have inspired me to try one for myself!

    xx Karen

  4. Allison says:

    Jami, thank you for posting such a thorough tutorial! You spent a lot of time doing this. I am so excited to give this a try. Your piece is so pretty!

  5. My Yellow House says:

    Wow! You did a wonderful job with this tutorial – I didn’t realize there was so much involved with this process! I LOVE how your dresser turned out and I’m still excited to try it. I’m going to GW tomorrow to find the perfect piece to try it on – I’ll send you a pic…if it turns out half as good as yours. :)

  6. Thanks for posting that. I just love your french song you cutie!!

  7. Maxabella says:

    I thought you were super clever yesterday, but I didn’t realise your talents extended to AMAZINGLY DETAILED AND ACTUALLY FOLLOWABLE tutorials too. Fab job. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Looks too painstaking for me, but it is a beautiful result! Great tutorial!

  9. Becky says:

    Now I know why my DIY project always look like crap, I have no patience. What a lot of love went into this little nightstand. The videos are great so maybe I might try this one. Thanks for the hard work and inspiration.

  10. Holly says:

    This tickles me pink! I love the look of this and the tutorial is great! You need to link this up to the DIY Club in August (starts 8/6).

  11. Graciela Sosa says:

    Amazing task, amazing detailed tutorial! Thank you so much for sharing it!
    Graciela Sosa

  12. Fabulous! I’m with Holly…I hope you link up the DIY Club August event!!

  13. Thank you for such clear instructions and beautiful work. You are a master artist

  14. MessyMissy says:

    Such an incredible tutorial. Thank you so much for taking the time. That piece is *inspired*!!! Way to go!

  15. Jenni says:

    I love it! I read the post previous to this one, too, and am so, SO impressed! I am now adding this to my list of must-do projects! Thanks for the tutorial and advice! :)

    I hope you have a beautiful weekend!

  16. You are good! Love this!
    I am your newest follower. Come follow back and happy blog hop!
    Going to look around! You are very talented!

  17. stefanie says:

    Okay, standing ovation!!! it breathtaking!! great job.

  18. Josh says:

    Hi, hope it’s OK to contact you here. We would love to include your blog on our giveaway search engine: Giveaway Scout (http://www.giveawayscout.com). Have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog (http://www.giveawayscout.com/addblog/ ). thanks, Josh

  19. Erin Wallace says:

    Hi! I’m your newest follower from the Friday Follows! Cool blog! I hope to see you at Dropped Stitches.

    xo Erin

  20. Once again you have created a beautiful piece of furniture. But boy are you patient! I think I would try this but I would probably skip a few steps…just to get it done! How long did this take you to do all the steps? The nails make a big difference in the industrial look don’t they? I think it came out fab!

  21. Oh wow! You did a fantastic job! I love how your furniture turned out – absolutely beautiful!

  22. The piece is gorgeous, I really want to try this on a dresser I have. All the tutorial photos are showing up as black squares however. Not sure why. I will try refresh to see if it fixes the problem!

  23. vanessa says:

    Saw this on DIY showoff. It is beautiful! I am in the process of staining some nightstands, wish I had seen this a few days ago, but I’ve got some ideas. Thanks for the step by step!

  24. Jill says:

    That is so outstanding! You did a great job, and I’m happy I found your blog!

  25. Hi Jami! Fantastic tutorial and gorgeous dresser! Wanted to let you know I’ll be featuring this today. Stop by and grab a featured button if you like. Thanks so much for joining the Sunday Showcase – I greatly appreciate it. Hope you have a fabulous week! ~ Stephanie Lynn

  26. Mrs. DeVore says:

    So Cool! I have to try that sometime! Thanks for the great tutorial!

  27. Jami – what a wonderfully instructional tutorial! Thank you so much for all the time and effort you put in to attempting to teach us rookies out here. lol! You do such beautiful work. Do you know if it would work on a piece of icky laminate countertop?

    xoxo laurie@heavens-walk

  28. Jennifer says:

    OK – I bought a power sander today (my favorite purchase of the year) and have almost finished sanding the first of two matching nightstands. I am 100% committed to making my faux zinc night stands happen and I don’t want to cut any corners. I didn’t use any type of varnish or lacquer remover to get down to bare wood and I’m wondering if I should – especially for the crevices my sander isn’t reaching. The stuff I bought off Craig’s List is 10 yr old Crate and Barrel pieces made of real wood – it is taking a long time to get off the finish. Is a liquid chemical remover the way to go? I’ve searched the web for an answer but found no clear guidance. Any help would be appreciated.

  29. OOPS I spoke too soon. This will qualify that you entered perfectly and you will receive a coupon from the Canvas People soon.


  30. I LOVE IT but can’t believe you did not get a speck of paint on your white linens. The whole time I watch the clips I was asking “how you did it? ” I am the messiest painter, no matter how hard I try I still get covered in paint every time I do a project.

  31. Wow! Totally amazing. Thank you for sharing.

  32. Robin says:

    This is a truly great way to recycle (or upcycle as I like to call it.) I love it and would love to see you post this at my linky party Upcycled Awesome!
    http://tinyurl.com/Upcycled9 and come back to my blog for Stashbusting-September. I promise it will be worth your while!

  33. LOVE this idea! I just did a post on my “wish list” from Restoration Hardware and that dresser was on it!! :)
    I think I will share this tutorial with my readers! Thanks so much!! :)


  34. What a great tutorial. I just love how it turned out. I’m looking at pieces on Craig’s List so I can try it.

    Thanks for linking up to the “Cheap Thrills Thursday” party at Black Kats Design. I hope you had fun and will join in again next Thursday!



  35. Thanks so much for the visual tutorial and the project…I followed your steps to make a “zinc” framed chalkboard out of a $1.00 garage sale 8×10 frame. I LOVE IT!

  36. Retreat says:

    Great tutorial and inspiration! I use a different process & products, but it’s really all about the end result, isn’t it?! Here’s a link to a photo, of a small table I used my zinc treatment on: http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash2/hs105.ash2/38583_418376792014_71007972014_5238288_6161290_n.jpg

    Deb @ Retreat

  37. Thank you so much for the tutorial…you made it so easy to do. I haven’t tried this on furniture yet but I did make a killer menu board out of a $1 yard sale picure frame. Here is the link http://mudpiesandmarigolds.blogspot.com/2010/08/making-most-of-naptime.html

  38. casey at loft and cottage says:

    so amazing! just found this and had to share with friends on twitter. what a great job. it looks so high-end!

  39. You’re welcome! I’m happy that your nightstand turned out great. Thanks for taking the time to comment. :)


  40. cristinmart says:

    I followed your tutorial and just completed my nightstand. I LOVE it! Thank you so much for posting this!!!!

  41. earth2view says:

    Thanks so much for posting this! I’ve bookmarked your page. I’m a kitchen designer (designing her own kitchen), looking for a less expensive range hood that looks great, so I thought I could make my own. I’ve found this one to copy: http://www.handcraftedmetal.com/gallery/hoodsZinc/SingleRoll/pages/SH173b.html
    and I’ll be building it myself out of plywood, wood straps and nailheads. I’m so excited to get started!

  42. This is unbelievable! Thank you for the extremely thorough tutorial.
    I am so inspired!
    Especially love the nail details.

  43. bglazen says:

    i am so excited and nervous to try this!!! i cant imagine it coming out as good as yours…where did you get those nightstands?

  44. wow. you have a fantastic talent. i will try. tyvm hun.

  45. Karajeanne says:

    You love Edith Piaff! o.k. now I’m certain we were cut from the same cloth! Linen? or dropcloths?

  46. Candace says:

    I love your faux zinc and was thinking of trying it on the outer edge of the beveled mirror in one of my bathrooms do you think this technique will work on a mirrored surface? any tips would be great!

  47. Pauls says:

    hi! I’m so excited that I found this tutorial, because I’ve been wondering if this type of finish could be done on wood! I’m thinking of doing this to dining room chairs to match a more modern glass table I’m getting! I’m thinking it’ll prove to be a tad bit more difficult to maneuver around a chair, but I’m willing to try!

  48. Amy says:

    It turned out beautiful! I would love to do a tall dresser that have in this finish. Do you think I should double my supplies? I would assume you used all of your paint on this night stand and that I may need double to finish a dresser.

  49. Amy says:

    Oh and I am a new follower! :)

  50. ~ Laura says:

    I love it!!! The French music goes perfect with the zinc!! :)

    I have a table that needs something but no colors were “it” but I hadn’t thought of metallic at all. But now that I see this, I think this is “IT!!”

    Thank you so much for sharing and especially for the videos!! :)

  51. Barb Adams says:

    Thank you for this great tutorial! I followed it step-by-step, and turned a little piecrust table my friend gave me into a beauty that’s in my living room. My husband said, It looks so French!

  52. Betsy Speert says:

    Just found your blog and want to let you know that I’m enjoying it. So I’m tooling around and exploring it, and want to see the tutorial on faux zinc painting…..well….most of your pictures are missing!!! Wassup wid dat???

  53. New Organized You says:

    Beautiful! I pinned your post months ago and then I waited for the prefect peace of furniture then I had to wait for a nicer weather (I live in TX) and yesterday I did it! It was super easy and so beautiful and with no waiting, just perfect. Tonight I started on a mirror. Looking forward to finish it tomorrow. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom!

  54. HaakePuck says:

    Love the tutorial (I’ll have to try that one sometime soon) but… I am searching for the exact version of Non Je Ne Regrette Rien by Edith Piaf you used for the background music. It sounds like the recording was done off of a gramophone and I love the nostalgia of the song. Thanks for your help!!

  55. Christy says:

    Jami, I am prepping to do this on a nightstand/small chest. My only questions (since I have all materials on hand) can I use a basic white spray primer? Or is it best to get the grey SW primer? LOVE your tutorial and your talent!

  56. Kayla says:

    I did this a few months ago. I started with an IKEA tarva dresser and used your instructions (although I supplemented the Deco Art paints with some Martha Stewart glazes). Over the weekend I actually went to Restoration Hardware and got a look at the zinc dresser in person. I like mine much better, so thank you again!

  57. Mary Mouw says:

    Is there a place to see this as one video? I’m wanting to do this to a dresser top & my computer is too slow to keep up w/this & it’s taking forever to watch. Also, is this the same process used for the zinc counter tops you were referring to trying in the near future?

  58. Just wanted to tell you that your tutorial is AMAZING. I transformed a very boring piece using your instructions. Just finished a post about it. Thanks to you!! http://paintedtherapy.blogspot.com/2013/05/from-plain-to-zinc.html
    Debbie Christianson recently posted..From plain to Zinc!My Profile

  59. Erin says:

    Are you letting each coat dry completely befre moving on? How long did this take you? Thanks! Beautifully done!

    • Jami says:

      Thank you, Erin! Yes. Each coat was dry before moving on. By the time you finish one section, the other is dry. It was nothing I did intentionally…the paint just dries pretty fast. It’s been so long since I’ve painted it, but I don’t think it took me more than a couple of hours tops (and at the time, that was taking breaks for my infant twins). You can just keep working until the piece is completely finished. No need to let coats dry over night or anything like that. Hope that helps! xo

  60. Wow. What an awesome tutorial! Great job. I would love for you to see how I tried my own zinc finish that stemmed from your ideas! Keep up the good work!

  61. Heather says:

    Wow Jamie – I love how it turned out – stunning! I’d love to do this to a small dresser I have. Could you tell me the color of the paint you used as a starting point…I checked the Sherwin Williams website for ‘Controls Rust’ and see there are several gray colors…which one did you use,? Chrome aluminum, Gray metal primer or Machinery gray…or some other color? Is it a spray paint? Thanks! If you could I’d love you to email me your tips….thanks so much! Love your blog!! Heather
    Heather recently posted..10+ Tips: How to Photograph Fireworks // Happy Fourth of July!My Profile

  62. Jami says:

    I already emailed Heather directly, but just in case anyone else has a similar question…I can’t remember what exact color I used. It’s been a couple of years! Gray Metal Primer rings a bell, so it was likely that. Honestly, ANY flat gray primer in ANY brand will do. I love the Valspar primers at Lowe’s too. The show stopper is the DecoArt Elegant Finishes Metallic Paint!

  63. Hillary says:

    We did this to our 11 year old daughter’s dresser this weekend. The dresser was white with lavender wooden pulls, but now is a beautiful silver with purple/blue blown glass and metal crown knobs. It was much easier than we expected, and our daughter loves it. Thanks for the detailed tutorial!

  64. adrian says:

    Thank you for this! I am doing an industrial style bathroom, and having painted my walls a rich gray, I was looking for the perfect finish for my hideous oak vanity. This is it. Could you please tell me what kind of clear coat I can use on this in a steamy bathroom environment? I don’t want to gloss the finish, but I need to protect it. Can I use a matte polyurethane over these paints? Thank you for your help.

  65. Beth says:

    I guess you have to watch the 30 second ad each and every time for every video??? Seriously??
    I came by here about 8 months ago and watched them prior to these ads. I just came back to revisit
    to refresh some techniques I got from you. But these ads are quite the disappointment. I mean, one, is ok,,,,but 13 times??? Not good.

    • Jami says:

      Thank you for politely letting me know…as I wasn’t aware advertisements were running on these videos. I didn’t sign up for advertisements (like you do with Youtube) and they’ve never run on the videos in the past. I will have to look into it. Happy you found my free tutorial helpful, but I apologize that you have to wait 30 seconds for each video to watch them.

  66. Doris says:

    Love this look, I have 2 nightstands that I have sanded down, I am just nervous about starting this. My question is: do you have to apply wax after all paint has dried to preserve it?? Please let me know. I have seen other similar project that they use Annie Sloan chalk paint and not sure what direction to go in. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  67. sally allen says:

    Is there another primer you would recommend for indoor use. I would like to do a bathroom vanity and I do not want to use spray paint indoors.
    Thank you,

  68. Danielle says:

    I am getting ready to paint a dresser for my nursery and I was just going to do a dark gray but now I am wanting to make it more interesting but maybe not too metallic for a boys room. Do you think I can do this with just lighter and darker flat shades? Thanks so much!! Great tutorial!

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