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how to create a "zinc" finish

There is this little alcove between the tub and shower wall in our master bathroom in which we want to put custom built-ins, but since we are getting ready to finish our second floor, I thought hanging a full-length mirror would be a much better use of funds for a temporary fix.  We don't have a full-length mirror in our house and with a 6'4" hubby and my 5'10" self, we are constantly adjusting the tilting mirrors above our sink and still not able to see our feet!? 

I found the perfect-sized mirror at Home Goods, but the dark brown finish had to go.  Instead, I gave it a "zinc" finish and since I get a lot of emails about how I did it before, I thought I'd show you the breakdown here!  Let me first apologize for the picture case you've never tried, taking pictures of a mirror with a dslr camera is difficult - the camera zooms in on the mirrored image and not the frame, so I did the best I could!  Here is the mirror before:

I don't usually tape mirrors or glass because a straight razor and some Windex removes dried paint beautifully.  However, in this case, since the frame was metal, I had to prep it with Adhesion primer, which sticks to EVERYTHING, so I had to tape it this time:

Next, I painted on two coats of Adhesion Primer, letting it dry completely between coats. (I had some left over from a distressed black table I did for a client, which is why it's tinted gray):

Next, I mixed this silver paint with a dollop of latex black paint I had leftover from another project.  Two parts silver to one part black, mixed together:

I used a pack of tee shirt cloths from Lowe's to apply, which was a lot easier than using a brush because the paint dried quickly.  It also looked a lot more realistic:

I just kept layering the dark paint mixture on without regard to uniformity...after all, real zinc doesn't weather that way naturally.  Once I was happy with the dark paint mixture, I pulled out my trusty glaze and got to work making the frame look "weathered":

I mixed equal parts glaze and leftover interior latex white paint I had on hand (Benjamin Moore White Dove in eggshell) and, using the tee shirt cloths again, applied it in random spots on the frame and then rubbed it back, creating a beautiful, chalky finish:

The finish looks so lovely with the pale gray walls and Brazilian black slate floors-a pretty (temporary) fix until we build built-ins:

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Reader Comments (7)

This is beautiful! I love it. I would love to know where you got the planter in your bathroom. That is wonderful.

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKeri

Thanks, Keri! I got it at a new Home Goods that just opened in Raleigh :)

April 24, 2013 | Registered CommenterKelly Stivers

Great tutorial - I'm excited to try it out! Where did you get your Don James poster from - I'm looking to hang a replica in MY bathroom! Thanks!

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith

Looks great. Will have to try it xx

April 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNola

Thank you, Nola! Meredith - Alexis from Fern and Feather gave it to me! Her hubby had an extra-I love it!

April 24, 2013 | Registered CommenterKelly Stivers

Thanks! What a great gift!!

April 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith

Hello-- I recently came across your blog and love it!
This bathroom looks quite similar to ours and I have been trying to decide what to fill up that large blank wall you know the size of your mirror? Thanks!

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKrista

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