Learn how to create your own faux zinc finish and apply it to anything from metal to wood – like this filing cabinet makeover!
Hey friends, I apologize for being AWOL of late, but I’m just back from Blissdom – a Canadian blogging conference – where I went to learn the latest and greatest goings on in the blogging world. I’ve got some great ideas and new projects coming up, so I think you’ll forgive me in the end.
Today I want to share a filing cabinet makeover I did for the One Room Challenge. My friend Sherri is re-doing her home office to a rustic-industrial style and on her wish list was a zinc filing cabinet… or rather a faux zinc filing cabinet because real zinc would be out-of-this-world expensive, not to mention difficult to find.
Let me show you the filing cabinet we started with:
A little beat up, not an ideal colour, but it works and that is all that’s important for a filing cabinet makeover.
I sanded the cabinet down with 220 grit sandpaper and my orbital sander to smooth the surface, remove and dirt and grime and give a nice base for primer and paint.
You don’t need a strong sandpaper (a lower grit number like 120 or less) because you don’t want to damage the surface of the metal. Deep scratches and gouges are a lot harder to hide on metal than they are on wood, so a 220 grit is perfect for getting rid of gunk (like old tape or rusted areas), while still smoothing the surface at the same time. I washed the entire cabinet with Krud Kutter (but you could use TSP), rinsed and then dried it off.
From there I used a tinted primer to prep the filing cabinet for paint.
You MUST prime! If you don’t, any paint that you put on will scratch, peel and even rub off – primer is imperative when refinishing metal pieces.
Better already right?
Now check this out – the filing cabinet makeover after just one coat of paint:
I used a paint sprayer to apply the black paint and went a bit lighter on the sides so that the paint wouldn’t run (I call it “drool”). You need to cover the filing cabinet with paint, but because my primer was tinted a dark grey, and I was doing the faux zinc treatment afterwards, this was enough coverage:
For my first attempt at a faux zinc treatment I dabbed a brush into metallic silver paint (I used DecoArt) and then did random brush strokes all over the top – this area will be covered later with wood, so it seemed like a good place to practice.
It looks okay, but the brush strokes were too noticeable for it to look like real zinc.
For my second attempt I used a piece of cheesecloth and dabbed it into the silver paint and then randomly dabbed it over top of the black. I went lighter in some areas, leaving a bit more black showing through, and then heavier in others.
On those spots that were a bit too heavy I went over it with a 220 grit sandpaper to remove the excess silver paint.
Once I had the effect I was going for (you could go heavier or lighter with the silver for your own), I applied a wax coating to seal and protect the finish of my filing cabinet makeover.
When we demo’d Sherri’s office we pulled down some wood shelves that she had on the wall. I kept a couple of pieces and planed them down to remove the old finish. After cutting to size and sanding them smooth I glued them together with wood glue and then clamped them tightly over night.
I sanded away any glue that squeezed out and then applied a dark walnut stain. Once dry I finished the faux zinc filing cabinet top with triple-thick varnish.
I glued the wood to the top of the cabinet with a super-strong glue and then weighted it again until the glue had completely set. (Note: some glues will tell you to pre-moisten the metal surface before applying the glue – please read the instructions carefully.)
The warm tones of the wood and the cool, industrial feel of the faux zinc are perfection together!
I was nervous about trying a faux zinc technique, but there really is nothing to it; black, cheesecloth, metallic silver and done!
This might be one of my favourite makeovers to date, and one of the easiest. I can see me faux zinc-ing more items in the future!
Save it for later:
Did I mention that the platinum sponsor for Blissdom was Diva Cup?
Yeah, I don’t even know where to start. lol
Have a great one!
What kind of glue did you use to attach the wood to the metal ??
That is really cool. I, too, love the warm wood and cool metal. It’s interesting that silver paint doesn’t look come off looking shiny metallic. Perfect choice since you’re approximating metal. I’m with Stephanie and wondering about what glue you used.