Breathe new life into tired old items around your home. Revitalize a rocking chair, a picture frame, an accent table, an old chest of drawers.
Utilizing the early 19th Century country craft called Vinegar Painting, you can bring brilliant color and whimsical pattern into your home.
Very easy, and lots of fun to do, the technique is quick and economical. No long learning curve here. Just a base coat in enamel, and a top color derived from a mixture of vinegar, sugar, and liquid detergent combined with dry poster paint.
Anyone can do it, and the results are surprisingly sophisticated. Take back that ladderback chair you were about to put in the yard sale, or go to the craft store and buy up some plain Shaker boxes or other wood containers. These will make gorgeous holiday gifts!
Vinegar Painting was developed by country craftsmen in early 19th Century America, in order to achieve quick and easy “fancywork”. There is literally no limit to the variations of pattern and texture possible, using simple household implements to pull through or stamp patterns: feathers, corks, bottletops, rags, crumpled paper, combs, potato stamps, or whatever other inventions your imagination can produce.
First, a base coat of flat enamel in the color of your choice is applied to your object. When the item is thoroughly dry the surface(s) should be sanded smooth.
The most effective color combinations are dark tones over light ones. Red, blue, purple, green, brown, etc, over off-white. To lighten colors add white; to subdue tones, add brown or black. Before painting, wipe the newly sanded surface clean with plain vinegar.
To mix Vinegar Paint:
In a jar mix ½ cup vinegar, 1 tsp. sugar, and a squeeze of detergent. In another jar, Put 1 tsp. dry poster paint and enough of the vinegar solution to make a paste. Stir and combine mixtures (this makes enough for a small table top).
The paint should have a creamy consistency.
To apply and make patterns:
Experiment on paper first. If you are unhappy with the results on the actual object, wipe off with a vinegar-dipped rag. Try cross-combing with a
sawtooth-cut cardboard for a woven effect. Or drag a dry brush across the surface to create ripples. Recommended: Try many effects on a test board before working on the main item. This way you will come up with your own unique ideas for pattern effects.
When dry, varnish with 4 or 5 coats of clear semi-gloss or high-gloss polyurethane; rub with wet or dry fine sand paper.
Vinegar Painted items make splendid gifts for anyone who loves a “Country” look in décor.
To see examples of Vinegar Painting and for more information, just type in ‘Vinegar Painting’ at Google, and you will find a wealth of instruction and ideas.
- Karen Saloomey
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