Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Faux Zinc Tabletop--Super Easy Tutorial

 I've always loved the Messina Dining Table from Ballard Designs. Love. It.

Messina Dining Table--Ballard Designs

I just have two issues: one, I need an oval table and the Messina is rectangular; and two, I don't have $900 to spend. As I've mentioned before, I'm a big fan of Craigslist, so I started looking around for a table I could use to create my own version of the Messina table. Last week I found a good possibility. It was the right size and shape and it came with 6 chairs and an extra leaf. It had been languishing on Craigslist for a few weeks, so when I contacted the seller, she offered to sell me the table and chairs for a total of $100.  Yeah, it needed work. A lot of work...

I'll be sharing the progress over the course of several posts. Today, I'm starting off with a tutorial on how to create the look of the zinc tabletop.

Messina Table
My version

The Messina tabletop is covered with acid-washed zinc sheeting. Metal work isn't my thing, so I decided to mimic the look of zinc with a painted finish. I looked at a lot of tutorials on line, but many of them were quite complicated and none of them had the exact look I was going for. I decided to experiment with some different techniques and ended up coming with a method that I was quite happy with.  Here's the step-by-step tutorial:


  • Chalk paint (commercial or homemade) in dark gray (alternatively you can use regular flat latex paint, but you'll need to sand and prime before applying)
  • Tube of silver acrylic paint
  • Small container of glazing medium
  • Small amount of light gray paint (acrylic, latex, or chalk) (optional)
  • Paste wax
  • Paper towels

Start with two coats of dark gray paint. I used my homemade chalk paint that I mixed with some leftover paint I had on hand. The color was very close to Benjamin Moore Evening Dove. You do need two coats. I thought I could get away with one coat. I was wrong. Give it two coats and let dry thoroughly.

Next, mix about a tablespoon of glazing medium with about a tablespoon of water. Dip your brush into this mixture and then put a small glob of silver paint on the brush.

Now you have to work quickly for the next couple of steps. Do just a small area at a time because this stuff dries fast. Take the brush and using random cross-hatch strokes, apply the paint to a small section of the table top. You want to vary the direction of the brush strokes. Cover the entire area, but don't worry about getting even coverage. It should look like this when you're done. By the way, I apologize for the fuzzy photos. I was trying to paint and take pictures at the same time. Not a good idea...

Without wasting any time, take a slightly damp paper towel wadded into a pad and pounce over the area you just painted. This is important. DO NOT wipe, blend, or smear. Pounce straight up and down. Keep moving over the entire area you just painted until all your brush strokes are obliterated.

Now move on to the next area, overlapping back into the area you just painted. When you're done with this step, it will look like this:

If you're happy with the way it looks, you can stop here.  I wanted to add additional patina to mimic the acid washing of the Messina table. If you'd like to do the same, take a small amount of light gray paint and thin it with water. Dip a brush into this mixture and hold it about 2 feet above the table surface, letting some of the mixture drip onto the surface randomly. Wait about 5 minutes and then gently blot the drops. Then do the same with some of the dark gray paint you used for the base coat.

When everything is dry, finish off with a coat or two of paste wax.
And that's it! I hope you found this tutorial helpful. Please stop by again. To see the rest of this makeover click here.

Visit the Tutorials & Tips Link Party at Home Stories A to Z for more great tutorials!

© Salt Marsh Cottage 2014
I was featured on Remodelaholic


  1. Your finish looks great! I think it is the best faux zinc I have seen. Thanks! :)

    1. Hi Revi, Thank you so much for your kind words. I'm so glad you liked it. I hope you'll stop by again to see the finished product. Best, Lisa

  2. That looks really good! I tried the technique where you spray a mist of water after waxing and let it dry over night. It's meh. Your finished photo actually looks like metal. Working in a patina of some verdigris could be an option as well with this technique. might have to try it! Thanks

    1. Thanks so much, Beth! What a nice compliment! I like the verdigris idea a lot. I may work that into my next project. Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you'll visit again. Best, Lisa

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you so much! I'm very glad you liked it. Please stop by again. Best, Lisa

  4. I saw you featured on Miss Mustard Seed's Furniture Feature Friday. Great tutorial, thank you! I have to try this!

    1. I've also shared this on my blog.

    2. Thank you so much! I'll be over to check out your blog. Please stop by again. Best, Lisa

  5. Another way to create the acid wash is to load some slightly thinned out light or med gray on a round or flat artist's brush and knock it against a block of wood (2 X 3) .Let the spatter set up for a few minutes then blot with damp ( not wet ) rag. Pounce up down once or twice.

  6. Beautifully done! I have been looking for a good faux zinc tutorial to do on some large IKEA pendant lamps- do you think it would work to spray paint them instead of chalkboard paint?


  7. Thank you so much for sharing this. I used this tutorial this weekend on my dining table and it turned out fabulous! It was my first DIY and I don't expect it to be my last.

  8. Great tutorial..Question, I want to do this finish on some wooden risers. Any tips for keeping the Second Step ( glazing ) from running down the sides. Thanks

  9. This post has helped me for an article which I am writing. Thank you for giving me another point of view on this topic. Now I can easily complete my article. Homepage

    1. Thank you, Linda! I'm glad it was helpful. Let me know when your article is done so I can check it out. I'm always happy to have people share info in my posts as long as it's attributed and linked back. Thanks! Lisa

  10. I like your version better than the actual zinc. Very nice job!

  11. Looks great! How is it holding up? I have a table I want dining table I want to use this finish on.