DIY Sign: Faux Zinc Whitewash Wood

Here is a fun faux zinc treatment for cardboard letters mounted on a whitewash wood board to create an interesting sign.


See that paper mache in my ‘to-do’ basket? That is what I made the faux zinc letters with for my huge whitewash wood sign.

HERE is where you can find all the letters of the alphabet like this ‘T’.

I chose letters to spell out the name of the mills in our local town that are long gone… like 100 years long gone!

The river in our town had both a a saw mill and a grist mill owned by the same man. His last name of ‘Jewett’, hence the area being named ‘Jewett Mills’.

Long ago the dam, mills and train stops are all gone with only remnant traces left behind. zinc letters

First, starting with the letters…  Pretty simple explanation, I used 2 different shades of black craft paint for the first coat, just mixing it on my brush as I went. This allowed for a very subtle variation of the base coat on the letters.

After the black was dry, I did the same with a gray pewter and silver metallic, mixing on my brush for variation in the finish, applying the metallic paint on the letters in a light, dry brush effect, allowing some of the black undercoat to peek through.

I was super careful to make sure all the edges of the letters had the metallic paint on them, giving the illusion of light catching on the ‘zinc’ metal letters.

Boards: zinc letters

With old fence boards, just piled in the back. My husband dug them out of the snow where they’d been piled for a while.

As he was digging, I kept reminding him, to get the ones with the most wear and tear… for the aged distressed look I was going for. zinc letters

After the boards were cut for length and spliced to make them long enough and then dried for 3 days in the house, making sure all the moisture from the snow was out of the wood. We then secured the horizontal boards with vertical boards mounted on the back where the ‘spliced’ boards were. 

I painted the boards with a really quick coat of white primer. I basically ‘scrubbed’ the primer into the wood, trying to do some areas lighter than others, going for a weathered whitewashed look.


The key to make this sign to hang on the wall is the mounting hardware! Here is a link for this inexpensive, but oh so smart style of hanger!

This type of hardware is strong and allows me to mount the back piece on the wall without having to hold the weight of the sign. zinc letters

Once piece gets mounted on the back of the sign, zinc letters

the other half gets mounted on the wall. Then the sign part just slips over and behind the one on the wall for a secure fit. zinc letters

The cleats are quite strong, they have different sizes and are rated for weight. They’re perfect for something like this because they will allow the boards to sit flat against the wall. zinc letters

So now when I come down the stairs, I am greeted with a little bit of history. zinc letters

This big old sign was inexpensive and easy to create, for a big impact. It’s nice that it isn’t ‘busy looking’.

Don’t you love it when something being kept for its ‘potentially creative addition’ to a project can actually be used for such?!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Please feel free to follow and share this blog with your friends, as well as on Facebook, Pinterest, Flipboard, Bloglovin, YouTube and Instagram! I appreciate you reading along.

This post is linked up at the following other sites: Shabby Creek Cottage, Yesterday on Tuesday, French Country Cottage, Miss Mustardseed, Romantic Home, The Charm of Home, Redoux Interiors, Funky Junk Interiors, Alderberry Hill, by Stephanie Lynn, Home Stories A to z, Coastal Charm, From my Front Porch to Yours, No Minimalist Here, House of Hepworths, Skip to my Lou, Funky Junk Interiors

Reader Interactions


  1. Pam says

    I love your sign. Please consider coming over to post on my first ever link party at http;/the Or just google search The Patriotic Pam. The link party will run all weekend.
    Thanks for sharing

  2. Felicia says

    I love your zinc letters. I’ve also done a little faux zinc, but instead of black with a silver pewter mix, I did a dark grey with Martha Stewart Black Coffee glaze. Check it out if you would like on my RH Style Dresser post.

  3. Jenny says

    I always love the look of these zinc lettered signs. I am sure this is an affordable way to do it. I am trying to get more crafty so I can do these things to boost the look of our historical cottage.

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