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!