Anthropologie Knock Off: Zinc Letters

18 Jun

ImageI saw these metal letters at Anthropologie and instantly loved them – the industrial look of the zinc metallic finish is so unique and would look great decorating a shelf. The only problem? These 8″ letters are $18.00. A piece. Like $18.00 per letter. Oh, and if you want the over sized 25″ letters? $98.00. For a purely decorative tchotchke? That’s not happening.


My second thought when seeing these (after the initial “WANT!”), was that these seemed impossibly easy to replicate and for significantly less. As a frequent craft store shopper, I’ve seen unfinished letters filling shelves for years.


At Joann Fabrics or Michael’s you can buy a 7″ wood letter for $2.99, or if you’d like to recreate the over sized letters, a 23.5″ paper mache letter will cost you $9.99. And if you’re a thrifty crafter you know there are always coupons for these stores that can easily half that cost.


In my case, I already had a cute little wood “C” that I’d picked up months ago in the dollar bins at Michaels (which happens to be my favorite place in the store). To recreate the effect of the zinc, I figured I’d wing it and use a combination of the random paints I had on hand to try to achieve that perfect weathered metal look.


To start with, I had to cover up that teal. I gave it a light coat of a white primer. This will not ony cover the teal, but give the upcoming coats something to hold on to.


Once dry, I decided to start the effect with a coat of black. If you look at the zinc finish, there are definite shadows and highlights. The black undercoat would help create those shadows. Here, I used an acrylic flat black craft paint I had on hand. One light coat seemed to cover well enough.


Now for the metallic finish, I chose a silver metallic acrylic craft paint. I used a small paint brush to apply the metallic paint because I really liked the texture it created. Using a sponge or small roller would have created a smoother finish, but here, the zinc letters look a little worn and weathered.  After the first coat, it still looked a little too dark.


Nothing another coat of metallic couldn’t fix.


The final product turned out great! Even better, in my opinion, because I didn’t have to shell out $18.00 for it. At most, if you’re buying a letter and paint, a small version should cost around $5. The larger version, less than $15. If you have paint on hand? Even cheaper.

Zinc Letters:

– Wood or Paper Mache letter ($1 for me, $3-$10 in stores)
– Spray primer (on hand)
– Black Acryilic Paint
– Silver Metallic Acryllic Paint

Anthropologie cost: $18
Total cost for me? $1




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