In my Baby Got Back post the other day I told you I'd show you how I made my zinc top table that is on my back porch. So I'm here to make good on my promise.
Now, I've seen zinc top tables at the antique stores for years! Mostly on tables that are used as potting benches. There's just something about the aged, worn, been beaten up and lived to tell the tale look of them that I adore.
So when I saw this table at a yard sale, I scooped it up to make my very own zinc top table. I think it was a mere $5.
It may look like an Arts & Crafts era piece, but it's actually a high school shop class project from 2015. No fancy antiques were harmed in this project.
I immediately thought it would make an excellent zinc topped potting bench and started dreaming of me in my overalls and gardening apron, standing at the bench potting up some geraniums.
Well, I made the mistake of putting it on the porch while I decided how to refinish it and next thing you know we were eating dinner at it, having a few cocktails on it and so forth. So instead of a potting table, I've made it into just a basic dining table for the porch.
I need to learn to do my projects as soon as I get them home before my mind can wander to other ideas. Squirrel!
I painted the legs a green color. Don't tell anyone, but I just spray painted it (Rust-oleum's Painter's Touch in Satin Moss Green).
Sometimes spray paint is the quick and easy answer and I'm all about quick and easy.
After the paint was dry, I started on the top.
I looked all over for a sheet of zinc, but couldn't easily (or cheaply) find one. What I did find was galvanized sheet metal at the hardware store.
It's located in the HVAC aisle and is used to do something HVAC-ish (how's that for a technical term).
The sheet I bought was 36" x 48" and cost around $16 at Home Depot. My table top was 24"x36", so that was enough to cover the top and sides. Anything larger than that and you may have to special order it.
What about the zinc, Pam? I thought you were making a zinc topped table? Are you doing the old bait and switch, Pam?
Well galvanized sheet metal has a thin layer of zinc coating on it. The zinc is what makes it galvanized and it's the poor man's way to have the look of zinc without the expense of buying solid zinc. And I'm a poor man. Or woman, I guess.
If you are interested in pure zinc sheets you can purchase them (affiliate link coming up) RotoMetals' Amazon store.
Supplies For DIY Zinc Top Table
Piece of galvanized sheet metal
Sheet metal screws #8 ⅝"
Something heavy - bricks, books, your butt, etc
GLOVES - trust me, wear gloves when working with sheet metal
Protective eye wear
Soldering iron or gun
Soldering flux or paste
Emery cloth or sand paper
And don't forget, you can shop online at Home Depot and have the items all ready for you to pick up. Saves you from wandering down the aisles looking for this and that or waiting for your online order to arrive via UPS!
If possible, remove the top from your table so it's easier to work with.
Then lay your existing wood top on the piece of galvanized sheet metal and make sure there is enough overhang to cover the table, wrap around the edge and around to the back. In my case that was roughly 1 ¾" around each side.
I took a Sharpie and outlined around the table so I could make sure I put it back down in the exact same place (red line) and then drew a line 1 ¾" out from that (blue line).
This may sound obvious, but if you place the table top correctly on the sheet metal you will only be cutting two edges not four.
Then I used tin snips to cut on the blue line, making sure I had my fancy heavy duty gloves on for protection. Really, anytime you are touching, carrying, scooting or cutting this stuff make sure you have your gloves on.
Here's where my tutorial pictures go all to Hell. Sometimes I get so "in to" a project that I forget to take photos!
I lifted up the wooden top, applied glue to it and placed it back down on the galvanized sheet metal making sure to keep it within the red lines.
Then I put every heavy object I had inside the house on to it, so it would be sure to get a good bond. Read the instructions on your adhesive, but with my Liquid Nails it needed to set overnight.
After the glue had dried, I snipped out a square at the corners of the table so I could "easily" bend down the sides without having to overlap the corners.
I say "easily" because you don't have to be Hercules to bend this metal, it is pretty thin and bendable, but it does take some pressure.
Do you remember when you were having a baby and the doctor said you might feel a little pressure? Yeah, not that kind of pressure.
I wasn't happy with exactly how the corners came out since I would have to "fill it in" with solder a little bit too much, so I cute some tiny corner pieces and slid them in the corners so when I soldered I wouldn't have to use 4 rolls of solder.
Then I folder the galvanized sheet metal on over to the underside of the table and screwed a few screws in to hold it in place. I put them roughly every 6-8".
Remember when I told you to use gloves? Use them. All the time. Don't take them off for a second to screw a screw in. Really.
Seriously, this stuff is sharp, that's not red paint there.
Then I soldered the corners.
Wow, that photo is a little too close up. It really looks so much better from a foot or two away.
To solder it you clean the area with alcohol, heat up the soldering iron, apply the flux, touch the solder to the edge of the table and melt it with the soldering iron, filling in any gaps so it looks like one smooth piece. Use an emery cloth or sandpaper to clean up the rough edges.
Did it sound like I really knew how to solder? No, my husband did it. I was afraid it would turn out looking like a bird had pooped on the corners, but I did watch!
All that's left to do is re-attach the top to the table and you're good to go ahead and add your kitschy flocked Christmas deer to your summer table.
I'm just going to throw caution to the wind and let mine age the old fashioned way. I'm a rebel like that.