How To Chalk Paint A Primitive Furniture Finish

Primitive Furniture Makeover

Why am I so drawn to primitive furniture? Maybe it’s the simplicity of the piece and a simpler time. The moment I saw this pie safe I knew immediately what I wanted to do to it to add to its already primitive look. Classic black meets primitive furniture.

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Everything is DO-able! Even a primitive furniture finish using chalk paint. Click To Tweet

Primitive Furniture Makeover

Primitive Furniture Makeover


Before... primitive furniture makeover with chalk paint. I chose a flat black paint that would compliment and add to the primitive furniture look I was wanting. Black is so classy and adds a bit of elegance, but that’s not the look I was wanting. It needed to tell a story. The story of how it was used and who possibly owned it years ago. I can just imagine a tall man reaching up and opening the cabinet above the knobs. This would have caused worm areas in unusual places.

Here is my supply list to help you find what you need to recreate this look on your furniture.

I used a foam roller to apply the chalk paint to my project. The black Wise Owl Chalk Synthesis Paint is creamy and easy to apply.

Wise Owl Chalk Synthesis Paint


Applying the chalk paint was easy with a foam roller. For this project, I opted to use a roller for the application of paint. Applying the paint with a roller created a bit of texture to the paint. This turned out to actually be good as it added character and an aged look to the finish. Remember, primitive furniture has a lot of character that occurs with age. Tincture of time. Typically the paint will be rough, chippy, and irregular. After applying 2 coats of the flat black, I allowed each coat to dry between applications. About 2 hours.

Wet Distressing Clay Based Paint

Primitive Furniture Makeover with Wise Owl Chalk Synthesis Paint can be wet distressed. Reactivated by water for creative finishes. To create the primitive furniture finish, I used a scrubber sponge and water. I added water to a small bowl and soaked the sponge. Then I squeezed most of the water from the sponge.

Primitive Furniture Makeover with Wise Owl Chalk Synthesis PaintStarting with the scrubber side, I gently rubbed in a circular motion and then wiped the painted surface with the soft sponge side. This will reveal the wood finish under the paint. You will need to play with this until you get the look you want. If you happen to remove too much paint, no worries. Simply roll back over the area with the paint and allow it to dry and restart the process again.

This is the easiest way to distress your furniture. Less mess and you don’t have to worry about breathing in all that dust. Wise Owl Chalk Synthesis Paint is non-toxic and has no odor. When I’m working in the studio, it’s easy to be taken over by the harsh fumes from other products. It’s a great paint to use indoors.

Once I had completed the primitive furniture look I wanted with the wet distressing, I allowed the paint to dry again. With a 220 grit sandpaper, I went back and lightly sanded the whole piece and focused on the wood showing through the painted areas.

After sanding, the painted surface was wiped down with a damp cotton cloth to remove any remaining dust. After drying, I applied 1 coat of natural furniture wax. Using the round wax brush, I applied it in a circular motion and then smooth it with the brush. After drying, buff with a soft cotton cloth.

The Results Are Stunning

I love how my old pie safe turned out. Chalk paint transformed this into a primitive furniture master piece. Oh yes, the clay pot in the above photo…  was also painted with Wise Owl Chalk Synthesis Paint. Watch how I created this drippy finish with a spray bottle of water in the video below.

Wise Owl Furniture Salve

Why would you not makeover the inside of your furniture as well? Furniture salve revives old wood back to its beautiful state. Most of the pieces I get are musty and honestly, a bit stinky. I love to use the Wise Owl Furniture Salve for the interior wood. It moisturizes and deodorizes and give your furniture a beautiful, lemon/verbena scent. Now when I open the doors to my pie safe, I get is a fresh smell. I think I’ll use this pie safe to store my vintage quilts in. Can you believe that I’m letting pie take a back seat? LOL

This Is For You, Grandpa.

I had a lot of fun creating this look. Have you ever tried using a roller with chalk paint? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this technique in the comment section below. What do you think?

Until the next project… xo, Do

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How To Chalk Paint A Primitive Furniture Finish