Faux Zinc Painted Chalkboard File Cabinet

This summer I was thrifting with a few friends and stumbled across an ugly cabinet at the Goodwill. The metal chest had extra wide and deep storage, but the worst colors imaginable! The hot pink and mint green were disguising the true potential of the chest, but like a color-blind dog, I was able to see beyond its garish appearance. In my mind, I pictured a vintage metal cabinet with a faux zinc side and chalkboard drawer fronts.

I scooped it up and brought it home. Then the poor chest sat in our garage for months and months until I had a chance to work a little spray paint magic and turned it into….this thing of beauty:

Yes, that is the same chest of drawers! You could do the same transformation.


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Clean off the drawers. Remove any dirt or debris (I actually had to use a little Goo Gone to get rid of some sticky residue. But, lemon essential oil will also work for this task.)

Remove the drawers from the chest. Tape over the drawer glides and slides. Mask off the drawer sides and insides by covering the drawers with tape and craft paper, leaving only the drawer fronts exposed.

Spray paint the chest and drawers with automotive primer. (I prefer the automotive primer because it sticks to metal and can withstand a lot of abuse.) Let it dry.

Spray paint the drawers with chalkboard paint. (Use three fine coats of paint instead of one or two heavy coats.) Set them aside to dry.

Adding a Faux Zinc Texture:

This is the most exciting part of the tutorial. I created this technique by trial and error and I’m excited by how well this method works for creating a faux zinc texture.

Getting a faux zinc texture is really easy. Just have some gloves on and use a crumpled up piece of craft paper. (A loose crumple works best.)

Spray paint the chest with a thick coat of the hammered silver spray paint, (but not so thick that it runs). Let the paint get tacky by waiting a few seconds. Then use the crumpled piece of craft paper to blot into the wet paint.

Work in small 1 foot sections and pounce the paper a few times. (Too much pouncing and you’ll lose the large textured pattern.)

Let the cabinet dry thoroughly.

Insert the chalkboard drawers back into the cabinet frame.

Add chalkboard art to your drawer fronts.

This metal chest of drawers is the perfect size for my large tablets of art paper.

The cabinet has a wonderful texture now.

I have the flexibility to move my art supplies around and just change the chalkboard label.

Did I mention this little chest is the perfect height to rest my palette on while painting.

I’m soooo thrilled with the results!

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  1. Misty Boren
    Misty Boren says:

    Wow, am I behind the times or what? I am just now totally absorbed in all of the faux zinc textures and stuff. I am an avid diy, crafter, painter, can barely type this because I need to get to Lowes, and Micheals, because I always need something! But, I used the technique on your file cabinet in a different way, because using my hands is like old news, but to get it to come out right with some spray paint, that was the challenging part! Now, of course I know, the contest is far from being over, snake noise, HISStory as they say, but let me tell ya, if you want to bring it back again, for a nice bathroom redo from a painted pink tub gone wild…..you need to come see me! 2 cousins in, both flaked, no money, and yes, a pink bathtub. I want a galvanized tub for a sink, an old farm cabinet, chicken wire on the doors. I want galvanized, corregated steel on the outside of the tub to cover up the pink hideousness. And, of course I need a galvanized watering pitcher for the shower. Oh, and not to forget, I think I will upcycle and reuse a galvanized oil pan to keep towels in. What, I cleaned it and I am sealing it……..Its going to be awesome! It will take a while, not all my dreams will come true, true! But, its fun. 3 broken mirrors later, yep, its fun.

  2. Patrice
    Patrice says:

    I just discovered your site and LOVE IT! My 1st project will be to bring life back to a dresser that my Dad made my older brother in 1980 before my Mom gave birth. After he turned 7 it became mine, then my younger sisters. My Dad never bothered to strip it. He just painted over it each time. I can literally chip layers of paint off. I don’t know where to start or what I will need but we shall see…


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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  3. […] 4. A metal cabinet that’s seen better days gets a second chance with some hammered metallic spray paint and chalkboard paint. By using chalkboard paint on the drawer fronts, you can have an ever-changing design. You won’t believe the before on this project! Faux Zinc & Chalkboard Metal Cabinet Tutorial […]

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