DIY Zinc – A Mini Faux-Finish Tutorial

I like to work on furniture and have a blast finding antique and vintage goodies.  Whenever I’m trying to decide which piece to work on next from my stash (and believe me I always have a stash), I go with my mood.  My favorite style is a potpourri of French, Nordic, Cottage Chic, and Farmhouse style all rolled into one.  (Is that possible?).  But every once in a while, I veer off my norm and like to try something different.  Well…here she is with my DIY zinc finish.

DIY Zinc Faux Finish Tutorial by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpieces

Ta da!  My latest redo of a 1930-1940’s waterfall dressing table/vanity. I seem to have quite the collection of waterfall furniture to choose from in and around where I live.  Maybe the style was such a trend that everyone had to have one…or could it be that it was a more affordable way to go?  Let’s go with the gotta-have-one trend, it’s more fun.

So, to begin with, this piece was in a nearly-ready-to-work on state when I acquired it.  Most of the pulls present, minimal damage to surfaces, complete set (chair included), and that large beveled mirror in divine shape.
Zinc Faux Finish Tutorial via
I do, honestly, have a thing for natural wood and love when veneers are mixed together to make patterns, such as done on this piece.  But, when there is damage that would require replacing veneer and such, I typically head to my paintbrush.  Even though veneer is not that hard to patch, sometimes girls just wanna have fun.  (does that date me or what?)
Zinc Faux Finish Tutorial via
*post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)
I decided to have a go at a DIY zinc finish, and I must say that like how it came out.  I had viewed the wonderfully detailed tutorial by Freckled Laundry and loved the improvisation of The Salvage Collection tutorial – both full of techniques and information.  However, I decided to try another technique instead that stemmed from previous pieces I had done. Not too hard to do, and gives it a naturally-occurring element look. Almost like galvanized metal as well.
To start out, I painted the whole piece in two coats of Marta Stewart’s Metallic Silver Paint.  Next, I thinned out Martha’s coffee-colored metallic glaze using a 1:1 water to glaze ratio.  Then, using a soft cotton cloth (t-shirt) to dip in the glaze and “pounce”, working in small sections. Immediately after I applied the wet glaze, I then took a dry cotton cloth and pounced back over the wet glazed area.
* note: By going back over the wet glaze with a dry cloth allowed the extra glaze to be picked up and leave the subtle flecking.
The matching vanity bench, on the other hand, just needed some refreshed padding and new fabric.  I love the fabric, called “Antique” by Berne.  It really helped to tie-in those amber Bakelite and brass pulls (I was able to find an exact match to replace the missing one on eBay…woo hoo!)
Zinc Faux Finish Tutorial via
Zinc Faux Finish Tutorial via
  Zinc Faux Finish Tutorial via
I’d love to hear what you think of my DIY zinc finish.  The dressing table has sold, but stop by and check out my other pieces currently available in my shop. Stay tuned for my next project and receive my FREE furniture shopping checklist, and get a discount to my shop by signing up for my newsletter via the sidebar or bottom of this post.

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More makeover goodness like my DIY Zinc tutorial:

Art Deco Glam Makeover by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpiecesOutdated 1980's Dining Set Gets Farmhouse Makeover by Prodigal Pieces #prodigalpieces
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    Hi Larissa! Stopping by from Three Mango Seeds. Love this waterfall piece! xoxo

    May 31, 2013 at 10:45 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks for stopping by. I have fun checking to see what you and your husband are doing. :o)

      May 31, 2013 at 11:47 pm Reply
  • srpprcrftr

    Wow, what a gorgeous set. You did such an incredible job on this,it’s wonderful. You are very lucky to be able to find pieces like this as much as you do. I hadn’t seen the zinc finish done on anything before, it’s very striking. You made this so awesome. I’ll look forward to seeing how you do other pieces as I’ve subscribed.
    I had a waterfall vanity many years ago but didn’t like it so got rid of it. Can I kick myself about a million times? Ikes, what was I thinking at 19 and 20 yrs. old? The ex and I had the dresser and bed also. Oh well. Too bad I love all that again at almost 73.
    We have a waterfall chif-a-robe I bought in KY and love it.
    I painted it as the veneer was in pretty bad shape on the top and curve. We’ve had it for 9 yrs. and I hope it will hold up for rest of our lives. I’m going to paint it this summer as it’s gotten shabby, needs some work as there is a split in the wood on both sides from top down to floor. My hubs put shelves in the wardrobe side long ago, they’re so handy. Happy weekend

    June 1, 2013 at 5:46 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Hi Srppcrcrftr! Thank you for your kind words and I love hearing your story. Yes, we all make some decisions at times that we wish we could take back, right? I would love to see the piece you were speaking of, just send an email if you’d like. I do have more waterfall pieces in my stash I have yet to work on, so there will be a positing sometime in the future. :o)

      June 1, 2013 at 10:20 am Reply
  • freckled laundry

    Thank you so much for the mention, Larissa! I think your piece looks lovely! The pouncing technique reminds me a bit of galvanized steel too. Very pretty. xo

    June 7, 2013 at 1:48 am Reply
    • Larissa

      You’re welcome. Yes, I think the steel is definitely a tie for the zinc. It was fun either way! Thanks for stopping by. :o)

      June 7, 2013 at 1:54 am Reply
  • Lindsey Allen

    Wow, what a great technique! Looks so pretty now. I agree it almost looks galvanized. Great work, looking forward to seeing more from you and poking around your blog a bit! 🙂
    [email protected]

    June 17, 2013 at 4:29 pm Reply
  • Larissa

    Thank you Lindsey! I hope you have fun checking out what I have so far…I just got started. :o)

    June 17, 2013 at 5:07 pm Reply
  • Suzan Sweatman

    Oh it turned out so gorgeous – thanks for sharing your technique!!!!!!!
    Visiting from MMS and am now your newest follower!

    July 20, 2013 at 4:42 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Suzan!! Glad to have you following along. :o)

      July 20, 2013 at 10:29 am Reply
  • Cher-Ann Texter

    Thanks for sharing – you made it sound so easy! I like the MS metallic paints and glazes… They seem to cover very well!

    Cher @ Designs by Studio C

    July 20, 2013 at 2:16 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      You’re welcome, Cher! Yes, they do work very well. This was my first time using them and I was very pleased.

      July 20, 2013 at 2:25 pm Reply
  • Mary L

    Never saw the zinc finish before. It is fabulous. The little bit of brown in the pulls WORK!. Well done. Love the seat also.

    July 20, 2013 at 11:39 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks so much, Mary! Glad you like it. :o)

      July 20, 2013 at 11:43 pm Reply
  • Maryann @ Domestically-Speaking

    I’ve been loving the zinc finish ~ thanks for linking up to the PoPP Party – I’m featuring your vanity in the Spotlight this week.

    August 20, 2013 at 5:09 am Reply
  • Petite Michelle Louise

    grey perfection! LOVE it! happy grey dey larissa!

    October 9, 2013 at 9:01 pm Reply
  • [email protected]

    Beautiful makeover. It has a nice Hollywood Regency feel.

    October 10, 2013 at 1:30 am Reply
  • Roses, Lace and Brocante

    A wonderful make-over Larissa – Zinc is perfect for this waterfall piece.
    You’re an inspiration with a can of paint!

    October 10, 2013 at 7:03 pm Reply
  • Angela Vallee

    Pounce-on, pounce-off! Now I am dating myself! I was thinking about doing a piece in antiqued aluminum foil, but I really like the look of your finished piece, so I’ll have to try it out!

    FYI – although I don’t know that much about the “Waterfall Period”, I have a strong suspicion that it was a real blend of economy AND popular fashion. The method for cutting veneers very thin – thin enough to curve over the top like that – made it much more affordable, but the bold mix of grain pattern and colour was similar to older “monied” estate furniture and yet still very, very modern.

    November 2, 2013 at 6:54 pm Reply
  • Lori Rowe

    That is gorgeous! I’ve never known what era that type of furniture was from & honestly never cared for it, but you’ve given it a TOTALLY AMAZING LOOK that I could really go for! Thank you!

    February 10, 2014 at 12:27 pm Reply
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