How to Create a Faux Zinc Metal Finish

6 Materials
3 Hours

Have an old, metal file cabinet that needs an update? Give it a faux zinc metal finish for a rustic and industrial update!

We owned a red file cabinet that no longer matched our office decor, and it was in need of a fresh new finish.

Step 1: First, cover the file cabinet in a deep gray - near black - chalk style paint. Use a brush to paint the cabinet, making sure to cover the surface, including the handle insets, drawer edges, etc,.

Step 2: Once you've covered the cabinet in a dark gray, apply a metallic finish with a rag, paper towel, or dry brush. Apply the metallic paint lightly, and don't cover the entire file cabinet surface. This step transforms the file cabinet from a gray to zinc-like finish.

Step 3: Finally, if you'd like more depth, age, and rustic warmth, add a dark wax. Again, apply the wax lightly and without covering the entire surface. Use a rag or paper towel to wipe it over portions of the cabinet. If you apply to much dark wax, simply wipe it off before it dries.

Simple! In 3 steps, our file cabinet was transformed from a bold red, to an antiqued, zinc, industrial-style finish. It's such a better fit for the design of our office and much cheaper than buying a new file cabinet. View the full supply list for a Faux Zinc Finish on my blog.

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Lucy Jenkins
    Lucy Jenkins
    on Aug 28, 2018

    so I can't change the color of my filing cabinet?

    • Lora
      on Aug 28, 2018

      Yep! If you use a chalk type paint, such as Americana Decor Chalky Finish (what I used in this project), it will cover the dark color just fine.

  • Lucy Jenkins
    Lucy Jenkins
    on Aug 29, 2018

    thank you for the bit of inspiration, after I let it dry, I would like to a pine look, so just apply a pine finish?

    • Lora
      on Sep 3, 2018

      If you are applying the pine look with paint, then yes, definitely! If you are applying the pine look with wax or a stain, then just make sure it is designed for the type of paint you used on the cabinet (and if not, just check it in an inconspicuous spot first, just to make sure it works with the type of paint on the cabinet).

  • Carmen
    on Mar 24, 2019

    would like to turn my BLACK file cabinet into Pepto-bismal PINK...Any suggestions?. Thanks in advance Carmen

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