zinc letter look-alikes {tutorial}

Forever a fan of anything typography-related, these faux-zinc letters are super simple and inexpensive to create and fabulous to look at.


Perhaps you’ve seen real zinc letters {so pretty, but can get a little pricy} and there’s a good chance you’ve already read a tutorial for how to recreate the look {there are tons of them around blog-land!}. I gave it a try a few weeks ago and was so impressed with the results that I just had to share my version with you.




/ craft letter / black craft paint / metallic silver craft paint / paint brush

// STEP ONE // paint your letter black


then let dry completely.


// STEP TWO // dry-brush metallic silver paint in imperfect strokes over letter


Before I tried this, I didn’t really understand what ‘dry-brushing’ was. Basically, just put a tiny bit of paint on a dry brush and quickly brush it onto the letter. You want some of the black to show through, so try not to saturate your paintbrush with too much paint. Brush in all different directions to get that sanded metal look.


And that’s it!



For just a few dollars and less than 15 minutes, you get fancy looking zinc look-alike letters.




24 Responses to zinc letter look-alikes {tutorial}

  1. John L June 18, 2015 at 10:47 pm #

    I got the letters, now I know how to paint them! These will be used to label areas of my 4th grade classroom, including, LIBRARY, MATH, WRITING, SCIENCE. It’s going to look so great! Thanks!

  2. Kara December 1, 2014 at 8:36 am #

    i LOVE this!! Thank you for sharing! I’m on it! Watch out craft store…here I come! :)

  3. Terrie December 3, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    Love this. Did the letter C and it was so easy and fun. Now it is a part of my Christmas mantle.

  4. Danielle November 1, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    This is so awesome! I bought my letters yesterday. Can’t wait to try it out this weekend. Appreciate the tutorial, love your site!!

  5. Jamie October 4, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    Hi Emily,

    I couldn’t find your email address anywhere so I’m showing you my link here. I just tried your tutorial and it was amazing!! So easy. Check out my project & I put a link back to your site ;)
    Jamie @ somuchbetterwithage.com

  6. Sydney October 3, 2013 at 2:39 pm #

    Cute! I bought the R when I was at Anthropologie last time I visited KC. I wish I’d used your idea instead!

  7. Jamie October 3, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    This is amazing!! I’m copying this tutorial right now and am doing on post on it tomorrow!! I’m going to link it back to you. I’ll share with you when I’m done. Thanks for the inspiration!
    Jamie @ somuchbetterwithage.com

  8. Sharon Hermens September 20, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    My daughters and I decided last Christmas we would make each other gifts this year. Now I know what I’m going to do. Thank you!!!

    • emily September 20, 2013 at 9:13 am #

      What a great idea!

  9. Kimberli September 19, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    Love the simple, inexpensive, and do-able projects you show! These are beautiful! Thank you for sharing : )

  10. kimberly oyler September 19, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

    typography is my jam.

  11. pretty little things September 19, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    awesome knock off of the expensive ones anthro sells! xo


  12. Christina September 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    I can’t wait to try this! Now just to narrow down which letter(s) to do and where in the house to put them :)

  13. Shannon {Our Home Notebook} September 19, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    So pretty! Thanks for sharing.

  14. Jessica @ Dear Emmeline September 19, 2013 at 11:33 am #

    they turned out so pretty!

  15. Britnee September 19, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    Awesome! Thanks for your tutorial, it’ll be nice to save a few bucks making the letters myself.

  16. Rachelle September 19, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    I actually got the zinc letters from anthro for my son Rafi from his baby shower – I wanted to have a masculine version of the pretty bohemian “chic” :) anthro letters I have for my daughter Rina. BUT I have been dragging my feet about putting them up because we live in San Francisco and if there were any sort if earthquake (which is obviously a real possibility) they would probably give him a concussion. So, I actually just decided to return them and do this! And now I will know exactly how to do it!! Thank you!

  17. Wendy September 19, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    Thank you, Emily, for the great tutorial for Anthro-inspired zinc letters and for all the great tips and sources. I just love how you help us all create beautiful things for our home on a sensible budget. Just a funny note…..whenever I go into Anthropologie (mainly just to look and get ideas) there are not that many people in the main part of the store, but if you go to the sale room, which is not much bigger than a rectangular closet, the place is packed. (lol) Thanks for proving to us all that it’s not necessary to have an unlimited bank account to have style. :-)

  18. Nicki Traikos September 19, 2013 at 8:05 am #

    What a fabulous DIY! Easy and affordable with big impact. Love it Emily! x

  19. Kelly Barkhurst September 19, 2013 at 7:55 am #

    This is soooooo fun & fantastic!! Thank you :)

  20. Becky H September 19, 2013 at 7:49 am #

    Awesome! I did an aged metal on mine to replicate the Restoration Hardware ones using Ralph Lauren’s Metallic Paint and acrylic paint from HL for my son’s nursery last year. Below is the tutorial and pics! :)


    • emily September 19, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

      Looks great!

  21. Jillian September 19, 2013 at 6:53 am #

    These craft letters are WAY cuter than what Hobby lobby has to offer. Such a simple tutorial (my favorite kind) with such a huge outcome. Thanks for sharing!

  22. Jill T. September 19, 2013 at 5:57 am #

    Thank you for the “dry brushing” tip — I never really understood what that was either. Great project!

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