How To Paint Furniture to Look Primitive

Vintage is making its comeback in fashion, not only in clothes and accessories but in home furniture as well. While some like to keep their furniture look new by constantly repainting them, others opt for a more worn out feel.  

Making a furniture look new requires just as much effort as making the furniture look old. You also need to make a trip to the hardware store and purchase paint. The difference is that you will need to choose paint colors that will give a distressed feel.

To know how you can give your furniture a primitive look by painting it, read the instructions below.

  • Materials you will need:
        • Sandpaper
        • Water-based acrylic primer
        • Water-based acrylic paint
        • Paint brushes
        • Tack clothe

  • Choose the right paint colors. A primitive color palette is best for the look you are going for. Choose a base color and a second one for overlay. Their colors should have certain contrast that will highlight the other. The trick is to create a chip-off look, so you want to have a clear distinction of which part has chipped off.
  • Remove the furniture’s hardware. If your furniture has knobs or handles, remove them before we start and set them aside.  For a primitive look, we need to give the areas where the hardware ages a worn-out look.  Simply covering the hardware with newspaper will not give you this look.
  • Sand the furniture. Get a heavy duty sand paper and sand the surfaces of the furniture. This will even out the surface and help the primer and paint stick faster. Wipe the furniture with tack cloth after sanding to remove all of the sanding debris.
  • Apply primer. Apply a coat of primer to help the paint have something to adhere to. Let the primer dry completely for half an hour.
  • Paint using the base color. Ones the primer is dry, apply a coat of the base paint that will be the under layer of color.  In primitive furniture, there is another color appearing through the top layer. Allow the paint to completely dry. Note that it is not necessary to apply another layer of the base color. Applying more layers will make the paint look new and shiny, which is not give a vintage look.
  • Paint over the base color.  This other paint will serve as the main color of your furniture. Especially if you chose a lighter shade than the base color, you may need to apply extra coating. Let the paint dry for 30 minutes between applying coats. After applying the final coat, what overnight before proceeding to the next step.
  • Sand the painted furniture. Sand the paint of the furniture lightly around the corners and where the hardware was initially placed. Apply more pressure when sanding some areas to give it a more rustic look. Remove the sanding debris with a tack clothe.

Patience is very important when making this project. You have to wait for hours and even a day before the paint completely dries off.  If the furniture still feels sticky to the touch, do not apply the next coat of paint or sand it.

For a more primitive feel in your home, have your sofas upholstered with a fabric with old floral patterns in dull shade.


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