How to Design Primitive Wooden Plates


Primitive art is typified by thematic elements that represent either country life or a simple life. Often, Americana art, which represents patriotic themes, is incorporated into primitive designs. Wooden plates are a popular design element found in primitive art, and are often used for decoration as well as for setting a beautiful table. The circular wooden plate is a simple, but elegant, design for a primitive plate.

Primitive Round Plate Design

Step 1

Choose a piece of untreated wood. Good woods for plates include oak, pecan, cedar and cherry. Cut the wood into a 16-by-16-inch square.

Step 2

Draw a large circle directly onto the wooden square that's the size of the plate you want to make.

Step 3

Cut the four corners from the wood using a band saw.

Step 4

In the center of the board, mount the face plate to the board with four small screws.

Step 5

Affix the face plate to the lathe and shape the back of the plate. Cut a small area into the back of the plate so it can be held by a chuck.

Step 6

Sand the back of the plate lightly while the plate is still spinning.

Step 7

Remove the plate from the lathe and take off the face plate.

Step 8

Affix the chuck to the lathe and attach the wooden plate to the chuck.

Step 9

Shape the face of the plate. Cut into the face of the plate deep enough that the screw holes will be removed.

Step 10

Sand the face of the plate and remove the plate from the chuck.

Painting Primitive Designs

Step 1

Select a primitive design pattern, the simpler the better. Choose Americana, chickens, tulips or anything country.

Step 2

Determine the image layout. Some images work well placed directly in the center of a plate, while others look better set off center or around the rim.

Step 3

Paint the image directly onto the plate using a food-safe paint. The Livos company sells a variety of paints and sealants that are safe for humans.

Step 4

Seal the image with a food-safe sealant.

Things You'll Need

  • Untreated wood, any type
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Face plate
  • Four small screws
  • Lathe
  • Band saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Food-safe paint like Livos
  • Paint brushes
  • Food-safe paint sealer


  • Plate Making
  • Plate Decorating

Who Can Help

  • Safe Paint
Keywords: design primitive wooden plates, wooden plates, primitive plates

About this Author

Susan Elliott is a published poet, artist, and photographer. She has been writing professionally for 10 years, Her works have appeared in Visions and Poesia, as well as on Associated Content, and Mom's Red Kitchen. She has a degree in general studies from Northwest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville, Arkansas.

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