Vinegar Painting Technique on a Nautical Inspired Chest

Check out this a layered vinegar painting technique with an under the sea inspired look

Have you had a chance to see this nautical inspired look using layering and a vinegar technique. Here’s a tutorial includes all the steps to recreate this finish or even put your own spin on it.


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Nautical Inspired Vinegar Painting Technique

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Of course, this look that features some of my favorite blues and grays and was curated based on a nautical theme, complete with a weathered under the sea feel.

Side view of Brushed by Brandy Nautical Inspired Chest Vinegar Painting Technique

How to Create a Drippy Finish Using a Vinegar Painting Technique

So, let me share how you can use these materials to create your own nautical-inspired furniture finish with this unique vintage painting technique.

Gray primer

Surf Prep sander

Paint in smokey quartz, Icelandic mist, mermaid kiss, river rock

Wax in gray and black

Liquid gold leafing

Mosaic silk screen stencil

Nautical theme transfer

Satin clear coat

Eternal decor wax


Sanding sponge

Misting spray bottle

Clean and Prime

I started my piece with a base coat of Primer in gray. When cleaning this piece with White Lightning, it wiped dirty brown rag after rag. The Boss will create a barrier to

Primer on my Nautical Inspired Chest

Laying Color Placement with The First Coat

Next is a coat of my 4 paint colors- in shades of gray and blue. I applied them using vertical brush strokes overlapping each other from light to dark. This way, when I use the vinegar painting technique the light colors will contrast as they drip into the darker shades.

The first coat looks a little messy, but it is the perfect base for this technique!

First coat of paint on my Nautical Inspired Vinegar Painting Technique

The next step is where we get to add a fun drippy vinegar painting technique.

Second Coat with a Unique Vinegar Painting Technique

As I lay my second coat, adjusting the order of the colors so they were overlapping the next in line, I spritz the paint with a 50/50 water and vinegar mix. The vinegar causes the paint to separate and drip in fine fingers that look like lightning strikes, and reveal a contrasting color underneath.

For example, the smokey quartz is painted to layer over the icelandic mist. The Icelandic mist over Mermaid kiss. And Mermaid kiss over river rock.

Shop painting supplies and more of my favorite things in my Amazon Shop!

Nautical Inspired Vinegar Painting Technique with Black Wax Drawer Details

See those colors peeking through as the vinegar causes the separation??

Work with smaller sections to have more control over the drips. Play with the paint and have fun working with it as you add and adjust the layers.

Wax Details

Next are some black wax details to frame out the drawers on this piece. I applied Wax in black with a natural bristle artist’s brush and buffed it out a bit to accentuate the vinegar painting technique.

In one way or another, the majority of my furniture projects get a touch of black wax. I used it on raw paint before sealing on this piece. If you are a little nervous and want more control of how much wax you want to wipe back, I recommend using wax after the sealing process.

Learn more about furniture wax and how it differs from furniture glaze HERE.

Best Paint Brushes for Furniture Painting and Nautical Theme Transfers

Apply Furniture Transfers

After you have your colorful drippy finish, it’s transfer time! I wanted to hang the compass rose designs, like nautical stars, from threads of gold down the from of the piece. A bit of liquid gold for my strings and they don’t look like they’re “floating” in space.

Get all my Tips for Applying Transfers to Furniture HERE.

Nautical Inspired Vinegar Painting Technique Close up of Compass Rose applique

… And Stencils!

I added the Mosaic Silk Screen Stencil as hardware backs on the opposite side to balance with the transfers. Then, I applied a simple coat of rich gold spray paint on the wooden knobs and finished them in a high sheen spray lacquer.

How to Use Silk Screen Stencils.

Gold Knobs on my Nautical Inspired Chest with Vinegar Painting Technique

Finish to Suit

This nautical-inspired piece was finished up with painted drawer sides, pieces of multimedia nautical print sprinkled throughout, and sealed in Satin Clear Coat.

Drawer Slide Details on my Nautical Inspired Chest with Vinegar Painting Technique

It was really fun to let myself be free with this unique paint finish.

What do you think, a new wave of nautical?? And all available in one kit with a video tutorial, it doesn’t get much simpler than that!

Catch the full Vinegar Paint Technique process on video Here

Don’t forget to subscribe on Youtube for weekly Brushed by Brandy videos! I am working hard to bring you more fully edited video tutorials this year. And follow me on Facebook and Instagram to catch my furniture design projects in real-time!

Nautical Inspired Chest with Vinegar Painting Technique Before and After
Nautical Inspired Chest with Vinegar Painting Technique
Nautical Inspired Chest Vinegar Painting Technique Brushed by Brandy

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. LeAnn Aguilar

    Hello Brandy, I love how I receive this email the day after I purchased a piece to do a nautical theme, what a coincidence!! I was on ebay looking at drawer pull.. anchors, octopus, star fish etc and i love how you used just classical pulls but dressed them up with the stenciling. Im doing a blending from dark blue on bottom to aqua colors and real light blue on top. So I’m thinking “bottom of the sea” so I’m looking for all the inspiration i can find. Im always thinking about the expense and what is the most quality for quantity when planning out each project. Im a stay at home Grandma so this is my hobby. Ive sold a couple dressers on FB but ive put mire money and time into them than i got back in return and felt regret about letting them go. LOL I just wanted to tell you that I enjoy watching your videos and you really are an inspiration.

    1. Brandy K.

      Thank you for such a sweet note! I would have loved nautical themed pulls on this one, kicking myself for not using a compass rose behind the knobs too

  2. Cheryl Atkinson

    Hi Brandy! This is beautiful artistry. I love what the vinegar and water did to the paint. Thank you for sharing your talent with us. You are such an inspiration to so many people. I wish you would submit a piece to Dionne’s Turquise Iris Journal. It is an online magazine for creatives by creatives and you are so talented.

    1. Brandy K.

      Love seeing her journal and watching other artists shine!

  3. Cindy Dayton

    Brandy – the link for getting the kit is not working.

    1. Brandy K.

      The kits were discontinued and are no longer available

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