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Maritime Blueprint Nautical Chest

By: Amy Joyner Buchanan
July 11, 2014

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Maritime Blueprint Nautical Chest
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I love the idea of a seaside cottage in Maine or my own little place on the Cape, decorated with scrimshaw, porthole mirrors, fishing floats, ocean maps and maritime blueprints on the wall. All things vintage nautical. Hey, a gal can dream… And she can take a paintbrush to an $18 yard sale chest and turn it into something special.

Items needed:

  • Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint 8oz - Legacy
  • Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint 8oz - Carbon
  • Americana Decor Chalky Finish Paint 8oz - Everlasting
  • Americana Decor Creme Wax 8oz - Clear
  • 2" Chip Brush
  • Water basin
  • Wide mouth jar
  • Liner brush
  • Chalk
  • Ruler
  • Maritime 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.

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Paint the entire chest with one coat of your custom-mixed Chalky Finish paint.

Allow to dry, then follow with a second coat.

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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.

I found my sailboat – The Rudder – as a poster for sale on eBay. is another great resource for blueprint drawings of ships and sailboats.

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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 a projector, you can transfer your image that way.

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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.

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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.

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I love how this dresser turned out; it truly is a one-of-a-kind piece.

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Be sure to visit Atta Girl Says  for more projects and to learn more about Amy Joyner Buchanan.


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