July 28, 2013

Industrial Style Zinc Coffee Table

Hi, today I'm showing you a coffee table makeover I've just finished.
My client, Amanda wanted an industrial style metallic look for her pine coffee table. She sent me some inspiration pictures and I did a bit of research and found Porter's Liquid Zinc, which I thought would give the look she was after.  
I directed Amanda to their website, to see what she thought, and she agreed.  
I watched this Porters video on Youtube too.
The drawers had a black stain on them - Amanda had decided to start the makeover herself before deciding to call in the professionals :)  

I got to work stripping the black stain off, along with sanding back the table.

I primed the table with two coats of Zinsser Bullseye 123, then painted on two coats of a grey that I had on hand, to help with coverage of the base coat.

I mixed up the zinc mixture (it comes in two parts - a metal powder and a white liquid) then painted it on.  The instructions on the can say one coat should be enough but I didn't find that it was, even with the grey layer over the primer. I did two coats.
Here's how it looked with the metallic coats on.
After leaving it to dry for at least 24 hours, I proceeded to the next step which was the Ageing Solution - I think it is an acid that causes a reaction with the metal in the base coat.  It's pretty cool although pretty scary at the same time...I actually did another couple of small pieces at the same time as 'practice' pieces so I could see what to expect.  Plus I didn't want to waste the leftover paint mixture- once mixed, it is only good for 6-8 hours according to the can, and you cannot put the lid on as it might explode (eek!)  After that 6-8 hours it is meant to set into a gel to allow for safe disposal.  My mixture actually took more like 2 days to set hard, so I'd say the workable time is a little more generous than what they tell you.  I'll show the other couple of pieces I did in another post.

After putting on the 'ageing' solution I left the table to sit for several days before sealing it with wax.  I used Porter's Liming Wax as I thought the whiteness of this helped add to the overall effect we were going for.  Here's how it turned out...

You can see the 'zinc' effects going on here on the table top - how each piece will turn out is random and unpredictable, ie. you can't control which bits will be darker, which bits will have a slightly yellow/brownish tinge etc. 
This gives your piece an authentic aged feel and look.

I think that the table turned out great and it's certainly an improvement on the 'before'.  

In review: What did I think of the product?

The Porter's Liquid Zinc paint finish did what it said it would, and I found it easy to use.  It's all water based which is great for clean up and ease of use. There are downsides though...firstly the cost - it was over $140 for one litre of the product (you have to buy the powder, the liquid and the ageing solution). Secondly the short workable life of the product once mixed means you really need to have a few projects prepped and lined up ready to go to make the most of it.

Just to clarify, my client paid for the Porter's Liquid Zinc and I purchased it locally at a retail paint store.  This is my own review and not done at the request of Porters, the paint shop, or anyone.  
Just me, in the thoughts that it may help someone else thinking about using it :)


  1. Love the top ,it turned out really nice..I love the ball with the bird on it I seem to have a thing for birds at the moment-love dee x

  2. Looks so great Karen!!
    Love trying new things out and looks like you enjoyed this new process too ;-)

  3. Wow, it looks really cool!


  4. OLà
    adorei seu blog, ele tem um ótimo conteúdo, e se vê que è feito com carinho.
    parabéns pelo seu cantinho.


  5. hi Karen, this is the sort of painting that I would love to see up close and really get a good look at - it looks amazing and I'm so intrigued by it. I love the photos of it with your zinc bird ball. Great styling. What a huge effort but well worth it in the end. Looks fantastic. have a good week
    cheers Fiona

  6. Looks beautiful Karen! Interesting to hear about the process - I hadn't heard of it so thank you for sharing :)

  7. I've seen that at my paint centre and wondered about it. Looks amazing!