The Best Self-Leveling Paint for Furniture (Wise Owl Paint)

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If you have been in the furniture painting world for a while you may have heard of Wise Owl Paint. Even if you are new to painting furniture then you may have heard of this amazing brand of furniture paint. Either way, I am going to share a project using Wise Owl Paint products including their one-hour enamel paint.  It is the best paint when you are looking for self-leveling paint for furniture. I will tell you that once you try the enamel paint you may feel too spoiled to ever go back to chalk paint. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

See how to paint furniture the easy way with Wise Owl Paint. The one-hour enamel paint is such an easy furniture paint to work with, it requires no topcoat and cures in an hour. #wiseowlpaint #paintedfurniture #furniturepaint #wiseowlenamelpaint

Disclosure: This post on how to paint furniture with self-leveling paint from Wise Owl Paint contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here for my full disclosure policy

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Supplies & Tools Needed to Refinish Furniture with Wise Owl

Materials Needed / Source List:



Before we begin painting furniture, this makeover is part of our monthly Furniture Fixer Uppers share. You know what that means! Make sure to stick around to the end for more great-painted furniture before and after projects.

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Check out all of my furniture projects with over 90 painted furniture makeovers: Stunning painted furniture ideas.

Unfinished Accent Table

This cute little table is actually part of a set. Yep, they came as a pair. But I’ve decided to split them up – oh the horror. By splitting them up I can create different finishes on each table. So, in turn, it’s double the fun. Since they get donated to local fundraisers and charities they are also going to be able to help support 2 causes rather than one. Win-win. Here is the set as I got them.

two wooden round tables on the grass before paint

Since I split them up this is the second makeover of the set.

light brown round wood table with clear knob

Prepping Furniture for Wise Owl Paint

Normally, I toss my furniture up onto wheelies to make it easy to move the furniture piece around. But this table is quite small, and there just happens to be a dresser in my shop so I pop the table up on the dresser to work this time. First, you will need to remove the hardware from the piece. If you decide to re-use the hardware place it aside. If you choose to replace then do whatever with it. (save or toss if it’s broken).

round wooden table, no hardware, before paint

Next, I flip the table over and begin the prep process with the underside first. This way you can reach all the spots that you wouldn’t see with the table standing upright.

round table upside down to paint underneath

We will go through the same prep work and cleaning process as we do for each and every painted furniture project. You will go through this same process regardless of what type of furniture paint you are using. For chalk paint, enamel paint, latex paint, water-based paint, or even metallic paint – you will still need to clean and prep. There are so many different types of paint, and you should always prep before applying any type of paint, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. 


First, give the piece a light sanding to scuff the surface. I often use 150-grit sandpaper for this step, and I like to wrap it around a sanding block. For more heavy-duty projects or large projects, you can opt for an orbital sander. 

red sandpaper to sand wood table


Next, clean the entire piece of furniture with a scrubby sponge to remove any dirt, grime, and/or dust. I like to clean with a simple mixture of white vinegar, water, and a little dish soap.

clean table with blue sponge


For best results, give the piece a final and thorough wipe down with a clean damp cloth or paper towel to remove any last bit of dirt. This is like a rinse or final wipe-down before we move on to using our Wise Owl self leveling paint products.  . 

wipe table with damp paper towel to clean residue

Applying Wise Owl Paint Gray Primer

We often hear about chalk paint and furniture paint products not needing a primer. And that may be true. But I always like to play it safe, and it is always a good idea to use a primer. I feel that you may not need to use primer, but you will never regret taking the extra step and using it. No one ever looks back and says “I should have skipped the primer” lol. So, I am using Wise Owl Stain Eliminating Primer for this table. You can find this primer online HERE

wise owl stain eliminating primer, wise owl paint primer

The cool thing about this primer is that it comes in clear, white, and gray! I am using the gray primer. You can see from the lid that the gray is a soft cloudy type of gray.

wise owl paint gray primer, gray primer,

When applying the gray primer you will want to make sure to mix it. Do not shake it. The best way to mix it is to stir it. Then grab your favorite brush and make sure it’s clean. I often like to swap back and forth between Cling Ons and Zibra brushes. They both have soft bristles, are easy to work with, and clean up well. (I abuse my brushes) To be honest, I like them both. Zibra brushes are a bit more affordable and can be ordered online (HERE). Cling Ons are always awesome and can be ordered online (HERE). When painting furniture with self-leveling paint and you don’t want to see brush marks a quality paint brush is quite important. 

chalk paint brushes, cling on brush, zibra brush

This time I am using my flat Cling On brush.

flat cling on brush

Go ahead and apply the gray primer in the same way that you would apply your paint. Brush it on, not too thin and not too thick. Make sure you don’t have any drips.

apply gray primer with brush

Apply the primer over the entire surface that you intend to paint. Both inside and outside the legs of the table.

wise owl paint gray primer on table

Make sure to flip the table over and follow all of the above steps for the tabletop and drawer as well. You may need two coats of primer for your project. But for this table, we only need one coat.

gray primer on round table

Wise Owl One Hour Enamel Paint

Now that our table is prepped and primed we can move on to the fun part and add some color! Since this table is pretty basic, boring, and has a simple smooth surface I am going with a bold fun color…  RED! Often, for a professional painter, the safe paint colors are usually white paint, gray, black, and blue. But I am going for bold with a red called Veronica Vaughn. Secretly I want to rename this color ‘sexy Santa red’ but I don’t have that kind of pull. It is the perfect color for this table. 

bright red furniture paint, wise owl red paint

This red is a bright fire-engine red. The main difference between the Wise Owl Paint One Hour Enamel self-leveling paint and the standard Wise Owl chalk paint is that it dries and cures in one hour.  Crazy right? A few other things to note about one-hour enamel that differ from chalk paint:

  • one hour enamel does NOT need a top coat if used alone
  • you DO need a topcoat if you add glaze
  • it is NOT easy to distress
  • you DO still need to prep your surface 
  • one hour enamel is a self leveling furniture paint (but can be used for so much more)
  • you DO need to apply primer first
  • this paint works great for high traffic areas/pieces like:
    • dressers
    • bath and kitchen cabinets
    • front doors
    • wood furniture 
  • one hour enamel dries rock hard
  • short dry time (one hour)
  • it should be applied in thick coats
  • you CAN use it on metal (I painted my metal radiator covers with it)
  • it should NOT be used on fabric
  • you CAN use one hour enamel in a paint sprayer
wise owl enamel paint, wise owl paint one hour enamel

Since Wise Owl paint products are all around amazing, either can be the best furniture paint depending on your project. These are all of the colors available in the Wise Owl enamel paint. You can find these along with Wise Owl Chalk Synthesis Paint online HERE.

Painting Furniture with Enamel Paint

Now that we have our gorgeous bold Wise Owl paint color Veronica Vaughn, we can grab a clean brush again and apply the paint to our piece.

red furniture paint, wise owl paint colors

Go ahead and paint your drawer and table.

painting furniture with red furniture paint

You don’t have to apply the thin coats of paint the way you would with traditional chalk-style paint. Rather, the paint should be applied liberally, similar to how you would apply wall paint.

red paint on wood furniture

Once the paint is dry you can apply the next coat of self leveling furniture enamel paint. This gorgeous self leveling paint or furniture has great coverage and dries with a smooth finish. 

two coats of wise owl paint

Adding Liner to the Drawer of Your Red Painted Table

Once the table is dry, which should only take about an hour you can decide what to do with the inside of the drawer. You have a few options:

We can line the drawer with a crisp new piece of felt liner. This is what the inside of the drawer looks like. It’s not horrible, but it’s not great either. Let’s be honest, it’s pretty ugly!

dirty wooden drawer

I happen to have a roll of felt drawer liner in my stash. You can find this online HERE.

black felt drawer liner

First, measure the inside of the drawer and then use a cutting mat and a sharp blade like this one to cut the felt to size. I love this one that I found because it comes with multiple spare blades which are perfect. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a project and realizing that your only Exacto blade is dull or covered in paint or glue. Having spares is golden! You can find them online HERE.

cut felt liner to size on fiskars cutting mat

Make sure that the inside of the drawer is clean and that your felt fits nicely before you remove the backing. This felt liner is a peel and stick which makes it nice and easy. No spray glue, no mess. Gently peel off the back and press one end into the drawer. Slowly press down the felt liner while peeling away the back as you go. Make sure that your felt liner is flat and straight with no bubbles or creases.

peel and stick drawer liner

This is easy and it looks so much better now.

new felt drawer liner

Replacing Hardware on a Red Painted Table

Since the table is simple with no ornate details I want to add a pretty new knob. I found this ceramic knob online HERE. The image online versus the knob in person is slightly different but pretty nonetheless.

decorative ceramic knob

I admit that it wasn’t what I expected when it arrived, but thankfully it still looks nice with the red table.

blue ceramic knob

What to Do About Sticking Drawers

Often when you have wooden drawer tracks where wood rubs on wood you may have drawers that stick. To remedy this I am using Wise Owl Paint furniture salve.

wise owl lemon verbena

This lemon verbena furniture salve is made with hemp seed oil, natural waxes, cold-pressed lavender essential oil, and lemon verbena essential oils. Plus other awesome natural goodness that adds to the strength and superpowers of the salve. Furniture Salve is a“furniture ointment” designed to deodorize, restore, protect, beautify, and rejuvenate furniture and more.

wise owl paint furniture salve

Using a clean dry cloth AKA an old T-shirt rub your furniture salve over the wooden tracks and they should glide with ease.

prevent sticking drawers

I always apply the Wise Owl salve on both the drawer track and the guide on the piece.

what to rub on wood to stop sticking drawers

Video Tutorial

Prefer video? You can follow the project via video here. If you are unable to see the video you may need to turn off ‘ad-blockers’ on your site. The video may also autoplay within the tutorial post.



Painting Furniture with Wise Owl Paint

As you can see painting furniture can be so easy, especially with products like Wise Owl Paint One Hour enamel. It’s so easy it feels like cheating. Our simple little painted table is all finished. This project, like many of my makeovers, is being donated to a local school, animal rescue, or charity to help with their fundraising efforts. Click here to see all of my projects that have been donated to support local fundraisers, schools, and charities: Donation Projects.

red painted table, red furniture paint, red painted furniture

Painting table tops and not having to worry about if it can hold up to wear and tear is something you no longer have to worry about with Wise Owl enamels self leveling paint. Painting furniture with the right paint ensures that your project will last a long time. 

red table with blue knob, black felt liner red table

Next time you give new life to a piece of furniture and are feeling overwhelmed by all of the different paints, consider using this amazing self-leveling paint. Keep in mind that if you want a foolproof, 100% zero brush strokes best finish then also consider using a paint sprayer to apply this paint to your project. You may be surprised by the level of ease of use. 

bright red painted furniture, painting furniture red, wise owl red paint

Check out all of my furniture projects with over 90 painted furniture makeovers: Stunning painted furniture ideas.

red painted table, wise owl paint veronica vaughn
red painted drawer with blue knob, bold red painted table

Remember I mentioned that this table is originally part of a set? You can see what the other table looks like here: How to Create Textured Paint on Furniture with Salt Wash. I can assure you that they are completely different! This makeover of the red table is a pretty straight forward and easy painted furniture project to do. But if you are new to furniture painting and want to learn how to update old furniture with paint you can always start at the beginning with How to Paint Furniture – a Beginners Guide.

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wise owl, wise owl paint, chalk paint, chalk synthesis paint, furniture paint, non toxix paint

Not sure where to buy Wise Owl Paint? You can get find all of these Wise Owl products and more online here: Wise Owl.

Furniture Fixer-Uppers

It’s that time again where a few of my creative and talented blogger friends and I have joined together in our monthly Furniture Fixer Uppers share. Let’s see what my friends are up to! Make sure to click the links below the image to check out all the amazing projects that my bloggy girls are working on this month.

1. Confessions of a Serial DIYer

2. Girl in the Garage

3. Interior Frugalista

4. Petticoat Junktion

5. Salvaged Inspirations 

6. Just the Woods (you are here)

More Painted Furniture Makeovers & Ideas Using Wise Owl Paint

More Painted Furniture Makeovers & Ideas Using Wise Owl Paint

Looking for more painted furniture ideas and inspiration? Check out all of these great tutorials for different furniture painting techniques all using Wise Owl Paint.

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  1. I’ve never tried Wise Owl Paint but I have to say that Veronica Vaughn is gorgeous! Now I’m going to click on over to your donated projects. 🙂 xo

  2. What a luscious color!! I thought this piece looked familiar when I saw your before photo ha ha! XOXO

  3. Linda C Johnston says:

    As usual, a fantastic outcome! I am so loyal to your site, I can’t wait for your post! lol This week, I have a question: You mentioned that the Wise Owl enamel is self leveling. Honestly, I loathe brush marks! So, of course, this got my attention. However, I see in the pictures that there are brush strokes very defined in the finished product. Is this due to the primer? What good is the paint if other factors are going to leave brush strokes? I am looking to learn more from you and would appreciate your response to this ongoing question! Thanks so much in advance.

    1. thanks so much! To be honest, if you want a true true smooth finish with zero brush marks then a paint sprayer is the way to go. Otherwise, you can also lightly sand between coats to smooth out the finish. I kinda rushed through this one and didn’t mind if there were brush strokes so I didn’t pay much attention to them. (thats probably horrible to say lol)

  4. My red loving self is swooning over that Sexy Santa (laughed out loud on that one) red paint color! That table was screaming to be bold and beautiful.

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