Want to give something the look of zinc metal without spending money on zinc metal? You can create the look with spray paint and this technique.

How to Create a Faux Zinc Texture (with Spray Paint)

A while ago I was thrifting with a few friends and stumbled across an ugly cabinet at our local 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. 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. Let’s learn How to Create a Faux Zinc Texture!

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Instructions:

Clean off your furniture piece really well. 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.)

Spray paint your object with automotive primer. (I prefer the automotive primer because it sticks to metal and can withstand a lot of abuse.)

Let the primer 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 your object 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 paint dry thoroughly. Then enjoy your beautiful faux zinc paint job!

Chalkboard Painted Metal Drawers:

For my cabinet, I chose to paint the drawer fronts with chalkboard paint for a nice contrast.

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

Insert the chalkboard drawers back into the cabinet frame.

Add chalkboard art to your drawer fronts.

The thrifted cabinet has a wonderful texture now and the black and zinc colors work with any color scheme.

The chalkboard drawer fronts allow the flexibility for me to store and label other items inside.

I’m so thrilled with the results! I hope you try to transform your own object, now that you know how to Create a Faux Zinc Texture.

If you use this tutorial, I’d love to hear about it. Better yet, will you send me a picture?

Share this with a friend! Pin this image:

How-to-faux-paint-a-fake-pumpkinHow to Fake a Fake Pumpkin

Have you seen those neon orange fake pumpkins and nearly vomited because you wouldn’t dream of decorating with them. I mean—get real—everyone would know they were fake. Ah ha, but have you seen the price tags? $1 – $6? For that price you might just be willing to take a leap of faith with me, wouldn’t you? Awesome, because I’m going to show you how to faux paint a fake pumpkin so you can decorate with them year after year and fool your friends.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

materials

Instructions:

Start by painting all the pumpkins with Chalk Paint (use gray, white, green and blue paint.) Allow the pumpkins to dry.

paint-pumpkins-french-linen

 

Painting Realistic White Pumpkins:

It helps to look up some pictures of real pumpkins to refer to.

pure-white-country-grey

Using the stencil brush, paint a mixture of grey and white on one of the pumpkins.

paint-white-mixture

Before the paint dries, dab some of it off with the sea sponge. (Keep your sea sponge dry, not wet during the process.)

sponge-off-white

Dip the stencil brush into the white paint and add paint on the outer most bumps on the pumpkins. This is adding highlights.

highlights_on-white-pumpkin

Dab the highlights gently with the sea sponge to blend.

sponge-off-white-2

Use the fan brush dipped in a small amount of green paint inside the pumpkin ridges. Dab the ridges with the sea sponge to blend.

white-gourd-pumpkin

Have you ever seen a truly unblemished pumpkin? I think not. It’s time to add some spots or marks on the pumpkin to truly fool your friends. Dip the end of the paint brush into brown paint and dot it onto the pumpkin. Blot the spot with a sea sponge and maybe even transfer a few new spots with the sponge.

add-blemishes

Paint grey around the base of the stem and into the grooves with the round paint brush.

add-dark-depth-around-stem

Paint brown and green paint onto the pumpkin stem. Blend slightly with the sea sponge.

paint-sponge-stem

Can you spot my fake white pumpkin? Well, of course you can because I just showed you how to paint it. But, it will definitely fool your friends!

grouping_left_pumpkins

Painting Realistic Blue Pumpkins:

Painting blue pumpkins uses the same technique as painting the white pumpkins, only using a few different colors.

Use the stencil brush to paint blue onto another pumpkin. Dab the blue paint while it’s still wet with the sea sponge.

add-duck-egg-blue-sponge

Use the fan brush dipped in gray and brown craft paint to fill in the ridges.

darken-crevices

Dab the paint with the dry sea sponge to blend.

sponge-crevices

Add some highlights with a mixture of grey and white. This serves two purposes. 1) It adds dimension. 2) It tones down the excess blue on the pumpkin.

add-highlights

Paint the stem the same way you learned above.

To truly fool people, set up your fake pumpkins with some real pumpkins and real gourds. Sooo, can you spot the fakes?

guess-the-fakes

How many did you get right? The metallic gourd is simply spray-painted with copper spray paint. But, I did try my hand at faking a green and yellow gourd using the same technique as the pumpkins, but adding green to the top and yellow to the bottom.

the_fakes

Okay, I’ll give you a second shot. Guess the fakes:

vertical-fall-vignette

How did you do this time? Ha, you can now apply for a job as an art forgery detective ;-).

truth_fake_gourds
Now seriously, how many people will be viewing your pumpkins that close? Umm, next to no one. Normally they’ll view them from afar.

full-living-room-shot

Get your paints and palette out and go fake some fakes! It will be our little secret.

fall-vignette-grouping

PHGFancySignDid you like this painting post? Ahhh, then I know you’ll like this Ballard Pear painting tutorial:

Or if you’re feeling like taking on a larger scale project…how about Faux painted bricks!

Or perhaps you’d like to perform some faux zinc painting magic:

You can do it! I know you can.

Rustic Wooden Caddy with a Branch Handle

Spring is right around the corner and I’m itching to cut some fresh flowers to bring inside. I love displaying them in jars placed inside rustic wooden caddies. Making a little caddy or tote out of salvage wood and branches can be an easy beginner DIY project. But, it’s also satisfying for experienced woodworkers looking to use up some old scraps or upcycle an old wooden box. Here’s how to elevate a simple wooden box into something more quirky and special by adding a branch handle.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

I happened to be browsing through a yard sale and spotted a sad little box begging for me to buy it and give it a new life:

How could I say no! It was only $3. I couldn’t leave it at the yard sale in its sad burgundy dust-covered state. I brought it home so it could sit in my garage collecting more dust. (This happens more often than I’d like to admit. It’s a sickness I have.)

Using the pry bar and pliers, I pulled off the lid of the box and removed any nails.

Then I had a basic box to work with. You can use this tutorial to create a simple box if you don’t have one.

Instructions:

Cut upper handle supports out of 1×3 or other scraps. Clamp them inside the box.

Pre-drill holes and drive wood screws through the sides of the box and into the vertical supports.

Now it the time to finish the wooden caddy using your choice of paint or stain. (I like to create a rustic look using a relatively dry brush and by letting some of the wood grain show through your brush stokes.)

While the paint is drying, use a hack or coping saw to remove any bumps or burrs from your branch.

Measure the ends of your branch and select the spade bits that are closest in diameter to your branch (you want the holes to be equal to or wider than the branch.)

Drill a hole into each side of the vertical handle supports.

Insert the branch into the side of the caddy. You might have to experiment with which direction to install the branch.

Fill some jars with flowers and set them inside the crate.

Set it out in a prominent spot in your home.

Enjoy your shabby chic crate, caddy, tool box, or whatever you like to call it.

Personally I can’t get enough of this branch handle:

I’m curious, would you have bought that little dusty box too?!

If you liked this tutorial, you’ll love these other easy DIY Projects:

Mini-Picket Fence Caddy

Make a Driftwood Gift Crate | Pretty Handy Girl

Make Your Own Driftwood Crate

Off white farmhouse exterior house color, green door

I’m so excited to show off the colors I chose for Etta’s exterior! However, I’m equally excited to share with you a new paint line from Magnolia Paint by KILZ(This post is a sponsored post for Magnolia Home Paint by KILZ.) 

When KILZ agreed to be a Saving Etta sponsor, I was incredibly excited because I have fallen in love with their paint. In fact, I had been testing the paints on interior and exterior surfaces for a while now. When the Magnolia Paint lines were first introduced, I had the honor of flying to Waco, TX to learn more about them. (I also happened to get the chance to rub elbows with these two famous house rehabbers. I can honestly say, Chip and Joanna Gaines are as down to earth as they are on TV.)

Chip and Joanna Gaines

During the trip I spent a fair amount of time talking to one of the scientists who worked on developing the paints. She assured me I’d love the coverage, durability, and low odor of the Magnolia Home interior paint. I was skeptical, but after trying the paint I was a convert. And I wasn’t the only convert: my painters loved the paint. They raved about it on multiple occasions, saying “This is really good paint. It has great coverage and doesn’t show overlap marks.” After the painting was finished, a neighbor came over to ask me about the paint I was using. He told me he used to be a painter and apparently my painters had struck up a conversation with him telling him this “new” paint was really good quality. The neighbor asked me what my painters were using and where he could get some.

Magnolia Home Paint Products:

  • Chalk Style Paint – This paint was a dream to work with. It’s much smoother than some of the competitors. After it dries, you can get rid of the chalky feel by lightly sanding with fine sandpaper and finish off with furniture wax. The pre-mixed color palette is beautiful and offers 44 beautiful hues. This is my new go to paint for furniture, home decor, and anything I would use a chalk style paint on.
  • Magnolia Home Interior Paint – I’ve been using another brand for years and swore I’d never use anything else, but the Magnolia Home Interior Paint is smooth, not too thick, and has great coverage on pre-primed walls. What I love most about this paint line are the multitude of colors to choose from. And, they all work well together. This made choosing colors for the interior of the house super easy (thank you Joanna for curating a cohesive color palette anyone will love.)
  • Peel & Stick Color Samples – If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw all the re-useable peel & stick paint color samples I put up on the walls. This was the easiest (no mess, no fuss) way to choose colors. I will definitely order more to keep on hand for client consultations and my own person use.

Now, the secret I’ve been holding onto for months:

Magnolia Paint has an Exterior Paint Line!

  • Exterior Paint – KILZ  let me try out their new exterior paint before it was released to the public. Hopefully it will be available on store shelves soon. I know you’ll be as excited as I was to choose Magnolia Home paint for a home exterior. The latest update is it will be a few months before you can purchase Magnolia Home Exterior Paint from select local hardware stores or other suppliers. Be on the lookout! I can’t wait for you to try it. Maybe start by painting your front door a new color.

Speaking of front doors…

The front door color choice at Saving Etta was a carefully thought out decision. The colors had to appeal to a wide variety of buyers. In an area with multiple rival colleges (NC State, Duke, UNC, East Carolina University and a few more), I needed a color that didn’t pledge loyalty to any school. As a reminder, these are the color choices I was contemplating:

I love this color combination and would have chosen it for Etta except, she is a mere few miles from NC State. And NC State alumni would never paint their door Carolina Blue (or any color similar to it.) Unfortunately, I had to nix this idea immediately to risk turning off potential buyers.

After a brief time contemplating navy as a siding color, a navy blue front door felt like a good compromise. But, I worried it was too close to Duke University blue. Do you see why I was struggling with front door colors?

Next, I contemplated a pretty burnt orange color for the front door. The color looked beautiful in the fall. But, when I looked across the street and saw a neighboring house had an orange front door, I changed my mind.

This was the last color combo I contemplated. No local schools could lay claim to the green. And, I loved the freshness and timelessness of Magnolia Green. I think we have a winner!

Off white farmhouse exterior house color, green door

For weeks after the house was painted, many local neighbors would stop and tell me how great the house looked. It honestly felt like Etta had finally gotten her beauty back.

Exterior house colors for a 1900 farmhouse look

Siding Colors:

As I mentioned previously, the siding colors I toyed with were either a dark navy or light off white. Ultimately the white siding won. I wanted to choose a neutral off white color. But, I didn’t want it to be a yellowy cream color. I tested three Magnolia Paint colors: One Horn White, Locally Sown, and Blanched by painting samples on big pieces of foam board. For a few days I  moved them around the house. Ultimately, I liked Locally Sown the best. One Horn White had a slight green undertone and Blanched had a yellowy undertone. Locally Sown from Magnolia Paint was the perfect light greige white color.

Locally Sown exterior paint with True White trimMagnolia Home paint Locally Sown and True White

The trim color I chose was True White in semi-gloss. The photo below shows how it has some contrast with the siding color.

Off white house color, white trim

I must admit, I really love how it makes Etta’s attic vent louvers stand out as opposed to a traditional all white farmhouse color palette.

Magnolia Home Locally Sown paint with True White trim color

What do you think about the exterior paint choice? Do you like it? Will you try any of the Magnolia Home Paint lines soon? If you do, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

Triple A Construction house white and off white siding

Disclosure: Magnolia Home Paint by KILZ is a Saving Etta material sponsor. I’m honored to work with them on this project. All words and opinions are my own. I have not been told what to say. As always I am very particular about the sponsors I work with and you will be told if you are reading a post that has been sponsored or in which materials were provided. 

DIY Chalkboard Calendar | Pretty Handy Girl

Create this DIY Chalkboard Calendar to get you and your family organized. It will only take you about half an hour to create but it will save you the headache of double booking yourself and get the kids on board with upcoming activities and trips.

DIY Chalkboard Wall CalendarDIY Chalkboard Wall Calendar

I’m bring back this tutorial for those of you that may have missed it. Why? Because this DIY Chalkboard Wall Calendar has been in our kitchen for over four years and it has held up beautifully! This calendar is an important part of our daily routine. My kids look at it frequently to see what activities and trips are coming up. My husband and I use a Google calendar to stay current, but this calendar is a great way to keep the kids organized and to let me look at a glance what’s coming up while I’m on the phone. Seriously, this is one of the best things I created for our family. In the spirit of getting organized, I’m going to share with you my easy DIY chalkboard wall calendar. But, first here are some great uses for a chalkboard calendar.

Ways to Use a Chalkboard Calendar:

  • Keep Track of After School Activities
  • Menu Plan
  • Chore Reminders
  • School Lunch Menu
  • Holidays
  • Birthdays
  • Reminder for Pets Flea, Tick and Heartworm Medicine
  • Business Trips
  • Vacations
  • Date Nights
  • Family Activities
  • Blog Calendar
  • Schedule Meetings
  • Work Calendar
  • Project Planning

Have I left anything out?

2014 chalkboard calendar wall

Easy to Clean:

In the past I used to draw out the calendar lines, but trying to erase inside the lines was tedious and time consuming. What busy mom has time for that?! By using the vinyl stripes, I can easily erase the calendar after two months and add new dates.

To save extra time, I like to put recurring items on the bottom line so I can wipe around them and keep the items there from month-to-month.

close up chalkboard calendar day

I also use consistent color coding. One color per person and I use separate colors for school or trips. But, feel free to do what works for your family.

To create this quick chalkboard calendar you need to start with a chalkboard wall (or large chalkboard.) Then gather some supplies.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Instructions:

Using the level, make a straight (and level) line for the top of your calendar. (Mine is 28″ wide.)

draw chalk lines using level

Using your ruler, mark a tick mark horizontally every 4″ (more or less depending on your space availability) for the 7 days. Make 5 tick marks down from the top line vertically every 4″. Repeat on the opposite side. Then add your horizontal tick marks for the days at the bottom.

chalk grid lines created

Use your vinyl lines to outline the calendar and create the horizontal lines.

chalkboard horizontal lines drawn

Connect the vertical tick marks with vinyl lines. If you have excess vinyl, snip off the excess with a pair of scissors. (Our calendar is 20″ tall.)

excess vinyl trim excess

In our house I added two calendars. It’s always nice to see a month ahead! Sometimes I contemplate moving the calendars up and added a third month, but for now this works well for us.

grid lines chalkboard calendar

The chalkboard calendar lets you get creative and practice your chalk lettering. (It’s been fun for me to practice since picking up these hand-lettering books.)

February Chalkboard Calendar month

Can you think of other ways to  keep you and your family organized? I’d love to hear it.

2014 chalkboard calendar wall

By the way, Leen has a chalkboard calendar for those of you that don’t want to commit to a large painted chalkboard wall in your home!

PHGFancySignDisclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post. Leen is just a good friend and my go to source for vinyl graphics and designs.

You may also like Jacque’s Perpetual Menu Calendar:

Reusable monthly menu board with magnetic meals - perpetual menu board

Or this refrigerator chalkboard calendar: