How to Make Primitive Crafts

Things You'll Need

  • Wood block
  • Stain
  • Paint sponge
  • Sandpaper
  • Straight edge
  • Painter’s tape
  • Stencils
  • Acrylic paint
  • Stencil brush
  • Polyurethane spray, clear or matte
  • Wire cutters
  • Floral wire
  • Berry garland
  • Wire wreath frame

Make your own handcrafted designs based on a primitive décor taken from early American colonials. Handmade primitive crafts often use natural materials and both rich and muted colors. Shades of red, green, gold, and brown are among the colors you’ll find in a primitive craft and décor style. Natural materials such as berries, twigs, pine, and other woods are evident in many types of primitive crafts. Primitive crafts add charm and a homespun comfort to country, French country and eclectic-style homes.

Primitive Wooden Sign

Select a block of wood equal to the desired dimensions of a decorative wooden sign. The sign can be large enough to hang over a fireplace or small enough to include in a vignette display. “Bless This Home,” “Home Sweet Home,” and “Welcome” are messages often found on decorative primitive signage.

Stain the block of wood to coordinate with your home décor. If you are using pine, cover the wood with a clear coat of polyurethane to let the natural beauty speak for itself. Allow the stain/polyurethane to dry completely; stain takes at least 30 minutes to dry, polyurethane can take up to 24 hours to dry.

Sand the edges and the face of the sign lightly to make the wood appear more aged. Skip this step if you do not want this effect.

Apply a strip of tape across the front of the sign to use as a baseline for the stencils. Use a straight edge and space the rows slightly higher than the height of the stencil letters. This step is not necessary if you are comfortable free-handing the letters, or if you wish to make the primitive sign appear imperfect.

Tape the stencils in place on the sign to create your message. Fill in the cutouts of the letters with acrylic paint using a swirling motion and a stencil brush. Allow the paint to dry.

Protect the sign with a light coat of matte polyurethane spray. A glossy polyurethane coating would cause your primitive sign to look more contemporary and so less authentic.

Berry Garland

Cut five to ten 6-inch strips of floral wire.

Attach one end of a strand of berry garland to the back side of a wire wreath frame using one strip of wire. Berries are often found in primitive crafts, since they are colorful items that are plentiful and found in nature. Berry garland and wreath frames are available in your local craft store.

Wrap the garland around the wire wreath frame. Attach the garland to the back of the frame every second wrap. Fill the wreath frame completely with the garland.


  • Wire berry garland to a swag frame to create primate style swags to hang above doorways.

About the Author

Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.