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 quality…in 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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Hello and welcome to Bungalow Blue Interiors!

I'm Kelly, interior designer, stylist, hostess with the mostest and editor of my blog, where I share pics of my work, my own home, décor projects, entertaining hacks, where to find the best decorating deals and all the beautiful things that are currently inspiring me!




  1. Keri on April 24, 2013 at 2:02 pm

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

  2. Kelly Stivers on April 24, 2013 at 2:06 pm

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

  3. Meredith on April 24, 2013 at 11:17 pm

    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!

  4. Nola on April 25, 2013 at 2:46 am

    Looks great. Will have to try it xx

  5. Kelly Stivers on April 25, 2013 at 3:09 am

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

  6. Meredith on April 28, 2013 at 4:11 am

    Thanks! What a great gift!!

  7. Krista on November 14, 2013 at 4:30 am

    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 with…do you know the size of your mirror? Thanks!

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