I love the look of antique maritme blueprints, and if I ever achieve my dream of a seaside cottage vacation home, I’ll surely decorate it will vintage nautical decor.
Today’s project, which I first shared on the DecoArt blog, brings that look to a seen-better-days yard sale dresser.
Thanks to a little paint, chalk, inspiration and time, this $18 yard sale chest is truly something special.
You’ve probably seen antique maritime blueprints. They’re all the rage in nautical and coastal décor. That’s the look I was going for when I started this furniture makeover using DecoArt Chalky Finish paints and waxes.
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Small wooden chest, preferably with a flat front
Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint – Legacy
Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint – Carbon
Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint – Everlasting
Americana Decor Creme Wax – Clear
2-inch paint brush
paint cup or wide-mouth jar
Assorted artist’s paint brushes, including a fine point brush
Ruler or yard stick
Martime blueprint image
Remove hardware and clean your piece of furniture well. I will often wipe mine down with water or diluted TSP, a heavy-duty cleaner you can find at the home improvement store. You want to remove any dirt, dust, oils and residue for the best paint coverage.
For my chest, I wanted to match the vibrant blue color you see in vintage maritime blueprints. Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint in Legacy is a pretty close match, but I thought it needed to be a bit darker and murkier.
So, I mixed a custom color, combining 2 parts Legacy with 1 part Carbon. Be sure to mix enough to complete your entire project. It’s better to have leftover paint than to run out and try to mix more to match.
Paint the entire chest with one coat of your custom-mixed Chalky Finish paint.
Allow to dry, then follow with a second coat.
Now comes the fun part. And trust me when I say you do not have to be an artist to do this.
Find a maritime blueprint that floats your boat. (I couldn’t resist the pun.) You’ll use this as your guide for the boat you paint on your chest.
Using a ruler or yard stick, sketch out your blueprint using chalk. I like to sharpen my chalk to a point; it’s easier to work with.
And I deliberately chose a simple image with lots of straight lines, so there was very little freehand drawing required.
If you have an overhead projector, you can transfer your image that way.
Once you’ve sketched your image, carefully paint over the lines with Chalky Finish paint in Everlasting, a bright white.
Don’t worry if your hand isn’t steady. I think the hand-drawn look contributes to the charm of the piece.
Once the paint has dried, gently wipe away any remaining chalk with a wet cloth.
Allow any water on the surface to dry, then apply two coats of clear Americana Decor Creme Wax, allowing to dry between coats. When wax dries, buff with a soft cloth.
I love how this dresser turned out; it truly is a one-of-a-kind piece.
I considered switching out the drawer pulls on this dresser with some white knobs decorated with a compass motif. But I decided those would stand out too much. I also worried they’d take away from the sailboat.
So, I used the original hardware, but changed up the configuration a bit.
I think the tarnished brass knobs and drawer pulls work well with the nautical look of this chest.
A model sailboat, a buoy, artwork and some other nautical accessories (all of them yard sale or clearance finds!), and this dresser is ready for a lucky sailor’s room – or cabin!
If you liked this chest, be sure to check out my other furniture makeovers.