Posts Tagged ‘bending metal’

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make me pretty – zinc countertop diy

April 15, 2015

Only one thing from the original kitchen survived the renovation. The bottom of this built in seemed like it could be reworked and my plan involved a little paint and a zinc countertop.

Here is that corner before:

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And after (it’s still waiting tile and trim):

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I ordered all the supplies from rotometals. They had a little sample pack with small squares of zinc, all different thicknesses. They also sent samples of their different chemicals to change the color of the zinc. I found it very helpful to see and feel the samples before ordering.

The zinc sheet came rolled up so the first thing I did was unroll it let it sit for a while to flatten back out.

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Then I cut a small sample piece to practice on. I practiced wrapping it around the edges. (The smaller piece was so much easier to work with than the big piece!)

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Next I cut the zinc sheet down to the correct size for my countertop, leaving enough to wrap around the edges and secure underneath. I used some basic tin snips I picked up at the hardware store and it was surprisingly easy to cut through. Make sure you wear some serious gloves when handling the cut metal – it’s very sharp!

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Next I used clamps to secure the metal where I wanted it while I bent the long edge that would go against the wall when the cabinet was installed. I put a piece of scrap wood between the metal and the clamps so that the clamp wouldn’t leave a mark on the zinc.

First I just used my hands and pressed the metal to make a crease and start to fold it over. Then I used a rubber mallet and hit the corner edge of the countertop to make the corner sharper.

This is an imperfect process and I ended up with some bonk marks but I wanted it to look sort of old and rustic so I was ok with that. You can also rent a machine call a break that makes perfect folds in metal. But my method also provided a free workout. I was exhausted at the end of this day!

After I finished bending that first side, I took of the metal and covered the countertop with liquid nails. I squirted it around and then spread it out to make a nice even layer.

I put a lot of heavy books on top and left it to dry overnight.

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After the glue dried over night I flipped the hole thing over and secured the edge with screws. I made some little holes with a hammer and nail first so I wasn’t trying to screw through the metal.

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Then I bent the other three sides and secured them with nails. I had to cut little squares out at the corners for the metal to fold correctly.

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I didn’t take any pictures of the next step, sorry, but it was one of the most frustrating diy experiences I’ve had in a while. I had to solder the corners and I have zero metal working experience.

I had ordered the solder from rotometals – what they recommended to use with the zinc sheets but the coil was too thick for my solder iron to melt. I didn’t realize this at first I just thought I was the worlds worst solderer. Anyway, a friend helped me figure out that I needed some thinner solder and it got slightly easier. I ended up putting up too much metal and then filing a lot off. No matter how much I worked it my corners ended up chunky.

Anyway, after the frustration, came the super fun part! I got to paint on this chemical solution to antique the metal. This is much more in my comfort zone!

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I brushed the antiquing solution all over the metal and let it sit for a couple minutes. Then I wiped it off. It left the zinc really dark, like black. I wasn’t really expecting such a dramatic change from one quick coat.

I tried to remove some of the black with steal wool but it was very slow going. Then I remembered people saying the if you didn’t seal the zinc that certain things would remove the antique finish – like citrus juice.

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So I got some lime juice out of the fridge and rubbed it on. It worked perfectly. It took away some of the finish but not all of it. This is starting to look more like I had imagined it.

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I sprayed two coat of sealer, also from rotometals, once I was happy with the finish. And here are some more finished pictures:

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