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Faux Galvanized Metal Finish

Tutorial on how to faux finish galvanized metal

The exterior of our home has lots of galvanized metal finishes.  Our outdoor lights, conduit porch railings, galvanized accented DIY trellis and planter boxes all have that metal finish.  It was a no-brainer to continue to use the galvanized finish to accent our street numbers on the porch and mailbox.  However, when I started researching modern looking metal numbers, oh holy hell!  The cost!  Even if we bought the most basic metal numbers* off Amazon. We were looking at close to $40.00 for four numbers!  I can not imagine if you have one of those long street numbers and wanted to place it in more than one location. Enter faux galvanized metal finish to the rescue:

Galvanized Metal Finish: Super Easy Faux Finish!

Tutorial on how to faux finish galvanized metal


  1. Craft Paint*  (Cheap is fine here.  We are painting numbers, not the Sistine Chapel)
    1. Silver*
    2. Black*
    3. White*
  2. Brush*
  3. Wooden Numbers: We used 5″ numbers in a sans serif font (For a modern look). I am just going to tell you now that I can not, in good conscience, give you an affiliate link to wooden numbers.  They are WAY cheaper at a local craft store.  Think $1-$2 per number before the usual 40-50% off coupon.
  4. Finish Nails: For hanging.
  5. Paper towels or an old rag

Step 1: Slap it On

Yep, just paint a layer of straight silver.  The wood is going to soak it up, so you might have to slap a couple of coats on.

First coat of paint to create a galvanized metal faux finish

Step 2: Mix and Match

Mix two different shades of silver, one lighter and one darker.  The easiest way to do this is take a whatever surface you are using to mix paint (cardboard, paper plate, actual palette) and make two small pools of silver paint.  Maybe 1-2″ in diameter.  Then added 2 drops of black in one and 4 drops of white in the other.  Mix and repeat if the colors are not about two shades off from the original.  Always remember paint dries slightly lighter!

Step 3: Pattern Time

I had a chance to look at some pressed galvanized metal containers while I was at the craft store picking up the wooden numbers. You might take a gander at the floral section and see if they have any galvanized metal buckets.  I always find faux finishing easier if I just saw a real life example.  In case you can not find a real life example here is a decent picture from Andrew Beeston of what we are trying to achieve:

Galvanized metal by Andrew Beeston from Flickr

The easiest way to get the angular light and dark patches is to dip your brush and use the flat side to press into the number.  I did the dark first and then went back and did the light color… Or maybe the other way around… It really does not matter except that you want hard edges and overlap, not a wet paint blend.

Second coat of paint to create a galvanized metal faux finish

Step 4: On No!  We don’t have pictures!

Yes, I failed to adequately document this last step, but it is sooooo easy.  Once your layers of paint have dried you can do this final step to soften the paint strokes of step three and give it a bit of a weathered look.  Pour a tiny bit of black paint out and mix it half and half with water.  Quickly brush the black all over the surface of your letter.  DO NOT PANIC, that you have just completely ruined your hard work.  Count to 10 and then wipe the black paint mostly off the surface of the letter.  It should just leave the finest glaze of darkness over the silver paint and knock off a little of the shine.  Remember that galvanized metal is not super shiny!

If, for some reason, the black stuck to much just repeat the above step but with a watery silver.  Remember that in faux finishing you can always just repaint any mistakes!

Completed faux finish for galvanized metal numbers

Step 5: Clean Fresh and Modern

Since the numbers weigh next to nothing we were able to simply use a single nail to affix them to the mailbox and porch.  We choose to orient them in a straight vertical line to give a fresh, modern, vibe.

Replacing old tired numbers with faux metal finished street numbers.

9 thoughts on “Faux Galvanized Metal Finish

  1. […] Faux Galvanized Metal Finish Brianna at Craft Thyme. I love this tutorial, I have been wanting to put up some house numbers-we have some but they’re placed in the brick facade and people can’t see them from the street. I wasn’t sure what I wanted them to look like, the ones I love are way too expensive. So, this is a project I can really get in to!  […]

  2. These are great, what a simple way to get that galvanized look! I am already thinking of things I want to paint to get the look. I think mine are inside, but I am also thinking about using this on some old outdoor lighting fixtures, too. I would love it if you would come by and share this with my readers at my new link party at Celebrate and Decorate!

    1. Thanks Chloe! We love the pop they provide for our space, and the finish is applicable in so many different ways. Thanks for stopping by. We posted on your new link party and will look forward to it as a regular stop for us on Sundays!

  3. They look fantastic – Thanks for linking up to Pin Worthy Wednesday, I have pinned your post to the Pin Worthy Wednesday Pinterest Board.

  4. I like this technique. I’ve been looking for something like this to paint some accessories for my soon to be office/ craft room/ woman cave. Love this one!

    1. Thanks! It is super easy if you need ot add metal accents to just about anything.

  5. I love this! I have been wanting to create some house numbers, ours are hard to see, and place them near our door. This is perfect!!! I want your porch lights too. It looks fantastic, this is going on my “to do” list. Thanks for adding this to “What are you working on?” Wednesday, it has certainly inspired me!

  6. These look great! I’m excited to try your paint technique on other objects around my house, too!

    1. Thanks for the positive feedback! We’ve got more places to apply the technique and we’ll post those as a follow-up (when we finally get around to them!). Check back for more faux finishes in the coming weeks!

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