Looking for an easy and inexpensive way to refresh little kid furniture for your growing tween or teen? I’ll show you how I used a paint sprayer and an old T-shirt to create a faux zinc tabletop on my son’s nightstand in an afternoon.
In just one more month, I’ll have a teenager! And that means he’s outgrowing a lot of his little boy furnishings, or at least the style of them.
A few months ago, I shared how I updated his pastel bed with something more befitting a teenager. This month, I tackled his nightstand, painting it to match the bed and adding a faux zinc table top with paint.
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As I typically do when I’m painting furniture, I used my Wagner FLEXiO 4000 sprayer. This is seriously one of my favorite DIY tools ever, and I can’t believe that I toiled for so long using a brush.
While a painter sprayer is great for walls, exteriors, fences, decks and large surfaces, I also believe that a sprayer should be in every furniture painter’s toolkit. Especially if you’re painting furniture to sell.
If you need convincing, here are five reasons:
- You’ll be able to paint faster with a sprayer — 10 times faster than with a brush
- Contrary to what you may think, cleaning a sprayer is easy. Unless you’re using oil paint, water and a little soap is all you need. I find it less messy and time consuming to clean a sprayer than brushes.
- No brush strokes! You’ll love the smooth, professional finish you can achieve with a paint sprayer.
- Adding a smooth, even topcoat is easier with a sprayer than with a brush or roller.
- The sprayer makes it easy to paint spindles, table legs, turned elements and tricky details on furniture, as well as materials like bamboo and rattan.
My son’s nightstand makeover was a fairly straightforward project, but I did need to do some prep work before painting. And I decided to add a decorative painted faux zinc table top to give the simple pine nightstand more character.
Here’s what his “little boy” room looked like before we started making changes to the decor and furnishings.
Supplies for Nightstand with Faux Zinc Table Top Paint Finish
- Wagner FLEXiO 4000 paint sprayer
- Wagner spray cup liners
- Mineral spirits
- TSP cleaner
- damp cloth
- sand paper
- tack cloth (optional)
- drop cloth
- paint and topcoat of your choice
- metallic paint
- delicate surface painter’s tape (optional)
- old t-shirt or rag
As I did for his bed, I used Fusion Mineral Paint in Ash on the nightstand. While Fusion paint adheres to most existing finishes, I did opt to do some prep work.
His nightstand had been painted with chalk paint and waxed. It also had a few places on the top where the paint was chipping from water damage. (Somebody needs to learn to use a coaster.)
I removed the drawer knobs and wiped the entire surface of the nightstand down with mineral spirits to remove the wax. Then I sanded the top lightly where the paint had chipped to smooth the surface.
If you need to remove layers of paint without chemicals, I recommend using a Wagner FURNO heat gun.
After sanding, be sure to use a rag or tack cloth to remove any sanding dust and other debris. It’s also a good ideas to clean furniture with TSP, then wipe it down with a damp cloth before painting.
Next, I loaded my Wagner FLEXiO 4000 paint sprayer with paint. Since this is a small piece of furniture, I used the sprayer’s detail finish nozzle.
Dials on the sprayer and nozzle allow you to control the material flow and the air pressure for the perfect finish.
This was a really quick paint job. It probably took me less than 10 minutes to spray the entire piece, including the two drawers.
I ended up doing two coats of paint on this piece; the Ash Fusion Mineral Paint covered the red well.
Per my son’s request, I created a faux paint treatment on the nightstand. It’s meant to mimic the look of a zinc table top.
To achieve this look, I used three different metallic paints:
- DecoArt Americana Decor Matte Metallics in Charcoal
- DecoArt Americana Decor Metallics in Argent Silver
- DecoArt Americana Decor Metallics in Tin
You can use other metallic paint, but I do recommend using paint formulated for furniture or walls. To get a realistic metallic finish, you want a darker tone (the charcoal) and medium and lighter tones.
Once the Fusion paint had dried on the nightstand, I dipped an old t-shirt, cut into rags, into the charcoal metallic paint and rubbed it over the tabletop. (You may find it helpful to use delicate surface painter’s tape to mask off any areas where you don’t want to add the metallic finish.
The key to this finish is to keep applying light layers of metallic paint with the rag so that the different tones show through. In some areas, you’ll want to add highlights with the lightest shade of paint, and in others, you’ll want to add streaks of the darker color. You can use the t-shirt rag like a sponge to lightly dab paint in areas that need more depth. You can also use a clean rag to wipe away excess paint to reveal the layers underneath.
Don’t get too worried about whether you’re doing the “technique” right. This faux zinc paint finish is all about experimentation and having fun. When it looks the way you want it to look, then you’ve done it right!
To seal the paint finish, I recommend using a topcoat like Fusion Mineral Paint Tough Coat. It can be sprayed or wiped on with a damp sponge.
Don’t miss these other projects of mine using Wagner products:
- DIY Outdoor Farmhouse Sink
- Painted Outdoor Furniture Makeover
- How to Paint Windsor Chairs Without Losing your Mind
- Removing Veneer with a Heat Gun
- Outdoor Bistro Chairs Makeover
- Tween Bed Makeover
- Painting Bamboo & Rattan Furniture with a Sprayer