another {faux zinc} tutorial . . . for metal

A few months ago, a friend of mine
sent me a faux zinc solution that she thought I might like
{Does she know me or what?!}
and I used it to give the galvanized shop shelves in my kitchen an aged zinc look.

It’s such a cool product to use on metal.

(By the way, I am not affiliated with Amy Howard
and have not been compensated or anything for this tutorial.
It’s just something my friend sent me and I simply want to share.)
This zinc product is only four steps too:
1. Clean your metal surface with a degreaser.
2. Use a rag or paper towel to blot and dab the solution.
3. Let dry.
4. Wax.
You will need whatever metal you plan on zincin’,
a pair of rubber gloves, safety goggles (recommended on the bottle),
paper towels or a lint-free rag.
Although the ingredients aren’t labeled on the bottle,
I believe it’s just cupric sulfate, a metal blackening agent, in a pretty bottle.

I’m not 100% on that though.

The Amy Howard zinc solution won’t work on coated metals with sealed finishes, etc.

It needs to be a bare metal.
After you’ve cleaned your piece with a degreaser,
put a little of the solution on a paper towel and start blotting and dabbing all over.
It will start to darken pretty quickly.
Let dry.
If it isn’t dark enough for you after the first coat, do another.
{Repeat until you love it!}
I like to puddle little droplets of the solution in certain spots,
let sit for 15 – 30 seconds, and then soak it up with a clean edge of paper towel.
It seems that a concentrated puddle of the solution will darken very fast…to almost pitch black.
You can see the darker spots where I let the solution sit a bit in this photo…
Any scratches on your metal surface will darken up pretty good too.
I think it just gives it some imperfect, timeworn character like real zinc.


Speaking of real zinc,
here a couple of shots of the shelves beside real antique French zinc pieces for comparison…
What do you think?!
When your metal is completely dry, just wax it.
In the Amy Howard video on her site, they recommend using Antiquax {amber colored wax}
to take some of the chill and coolness off.

Is it just me or does this stuff smell like cinnamon?
Hmmm. Maybe cinnamon actually gives it that amber color?

I needed to buy some and noticed that Rockler carries it,
so the Rockler folks sent me a tin through the The DIY Club.
{thank you.}
So, even though I would have bought some anyhow,
it is a sponsored product for this project.
As with any wax, just rub it on and buff.
Easy zinc patina in a bottle. I dig.
Here’s a quick tutorial for the painted white finish on top of the zinc too.
I simply dry brushed on one of my favorite paints that I purchased from Rockler.
General Finishes Milk Paint in Snow White.
It’s actually not milk paint at all
{the colors in the line just mimic the old-fashioned milk paint colors).
It’s 100% acrylic,
goes on like butter,
the coverage is great,
it’s durable,
and the finish and low lustre sheen is lovely.

Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint is the real deal
and I can’t wait to try her white on my antique farm table
as soon as it hits the shelves in August.

I hope it does the chippy flaky thing that she loves about it!

{Tangent much?}

Just brush on any ol’ white paint in no particularly controlled fashion.
Light in some spots. Heavy in others.
Sand some areas down with a fine grit sanding sponge.
Be careful when you sand because if you sand too much,
you’ll sand right through the faux zinc finish down to the bare metal!
Also, start sanding soon after the paint is dry to the touch
because once this particular paint has cured a bit,
you’ll have your work cut out for you with a fine grit sanding sponge.
Feel free to break out a screw to scratch it up a little too.
That’s it.
Click HERE to find out where I got the shelves.

Happy Wednesday!

Now that is has cooled to a tolerable 83 degrees,
my little ones and I are on our way out for an evening stroll
through the nature observatory up the road.
My twins are all about snakes right now.
(Blegh. They didn’t get that from me!)


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  1. chris says:

    What fun for you! I love how the finish turned out.

  2. Lovely, lovely, lovely! Fun fact: I’m a twin!

  3. Oooh, I’m pretty excited about this stuff! I’m going to be keeping my eye out at the flea market for the perfect metal piece! Your pieces look so wonderful!!

  4. You really coaxed the patina out of the metal… just like magic (with a lot of work)!
    Thanks for the great tips!

    Your project would be perfect to share at TUTORIALS TIPS AND TIDBITS, my new weekly linky party! It is live every Wednesday evening at 8:00. Come on over and join in!

  5. Thanks Yvonne!
    It is sort of like magic…couldn’t be ANY easier.

  6. Love it, Jami! Your tutorials were just fabulous. I just may have to pick up some of that neat zinc patina stuff! :)

    xoxo laurie

  7. HRH Sarah says:

    Those shelves look great! We’re planning on moving soon, and I’m really looking forward to adding some of those shelves to my new kitchen (wherever that may be!).

  8. One again…brilliant!

  9. Ah lovely! I was just asking a friend lately how to make metal look aged! thanks a million! i’m gonna send her the link to this post:)

  10. LOVE THIS!! Thanks for sharing!!

  11. lynn says:

    oh, to think all the goodies i’ve pasted up, -i love this, jami:) thanks for sharing this. cute shelves, too! happy weekend!

  12. Her paint is wonderful…..I like to use a heat gun on it to help with the chippy part! :)

  13. I admire your nice tutorial and love the way the finish turned out.

    - Herman Swan

  14. Pothys says:

    An Edwardian lady in full dress was a wonder to behold, and her preparations for viewing were awesome.silks saree

  15. Linda Leyble says:

    Hi – thanks so much for doing this – I had been eyeing Amy’s zinc finish (and her other finishes) for awhile now. Have to get me some of that! It’s a beautiful look – I have a pic stashed in my inspiration file of a bathroom clad in patina’d zinc and I would lvoe to do my bathroom like that. Gorgeous!

    Thanks again…



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