Black Painted Furniture

These days, it’s not often that I paint a piece of furniture with just one color. When I caught the color blending bug, I was hooked! However, custom work is a big part of my business and what my clients want, I try hard to oblige… she is requesting a black distressed finish.


I have chosen to use Wise Owl Chalk Synthesis Paint in Black. It’s highly pigmented, true black and distresses like a dream. It is also has zero VOC’s and is nontoxic, BONUS!

Before I start any project, whether it looks dirty or not, I give it a good cleaning at the least. One of my favorite cleaners is Krud Kutter, it’s non-toxic and biodegradable, so you can feel good about using it. In some cases, like this one, I will give a light sanding as well. This piece had a glossier finish, therefore I felt it was necessary to give the surface some grit for the paint to grab onto. I’m not talking about anything back-breaking crazy, below is a quick video to demonstrate a light sanding using an Orbital Sander.

See… nothing to it!

There were decorative medallions on a couple of the drawers that just weren’t going to incorporate well with the new design. My client purchased new hardware from Hobby Lobby, so they had to go! Once removed I was left with big holes…

No worries, it’s an easy fix! Bondo is my go to wood filler for filling holes or any major imperfections that need to be filled. I’ve tried many different wood fillers and it’s simply the best! It does require the extra step of mixing, but dries hard as a rock and does NOT shrink. Beware, it’s smelly stuff, so wear a respirator while applying and sanding.

I mix small amounts at a time, because it dries fast and has a short workable time. After mixing, apply with a flexible putty knife. Allow to fully dry and sand back. Just like magic… holes are gone, like they were never there!

I applied two coats of paint in long even brush stokes using a Cling On S50 Brush, misting with water every so often to keep the paint moving smoothly. This, along with a good brush, will cut down on brush strokes.

Once completely dry, I give a “once over” sanding with a fine sanding sponge just to knock down any roughness.  You can skip this next step if you are wanting a solid black finish. My client has requested light distressing, so I went along the edges and corners with a medium grit sanding sponge.

Believe it or not, black can be a hard color to get right, especially when it comes to top coating. I’ve tried many top coats that left a hazy finish over my freshly painted black surface. I’m pleased to say Wise Owl Varnish dried crystal clear. Before applying your top coat you will won’t to dust the surface, I recommend using a black cloth or old black tshirt.  Again, I used a clean damp Cling On S50 Brush for this step. Starting each brush stroke closer in the middle of the drawer and moving back and forth to the ends will cut down on off loading too much varnish onto the edges. Try to keep this step to a minimum, refraining from over working the varnish. I have found 3-4 coats of varnish to be magic number, depending on the piece. I’ll let you be your own judge…

You’ll want to give your piece 24 hours to fully dry before adding hardware. Your piece is now ready for light use. Keep in mind, it takes 30 days for any painted finish to fully cure.

Material List:

Wise Owl Chalk Synthesis Paint Products:


Matte Varnish

Cling On S50 Paint Brush

enter coupon code THEWHITEPLUM for 5% off here:

*Other links to products used are highlighted throughout this post. I receive a small commission when products are purchased through these links. Thank you!

I would love to know if you found this post helpful, please leave me a comment to let me know what you thought. Thank you for stopping by!

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  1. Hi there Plum! 🙂 Black is a hard color to top coat. I have used Dixie Belle and i have used DIY from Debi’s Design Diary. What would you compare Wise Owl to? Do you sand between coats of varnish?


    1. Yes, it is! Hmm, I would say Wise Owl is a more like DIY than Dixie Belle, but still different. Sometimes I do, but just a very light sanding. Something new I have been doing is using the Wise Owl Black Hemp Oil Wax over the top coat once it has dried. This helps to get rid of any cloudiness.


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