Hola! So I’ve been getting many questions about wax lately. I so often mention how I finish a piece of furniture with wax after painting it. I’ve mentioned clear wax and dark wax and aging and protecting. Today I’m going to break down what that means and tell you my chosen waxes and techniques.
I’d like to put a waiver on this post and tell you that I am certainly no expert but I have learned a thing or two. You may learn something or you may disagree. Either way, I hope this inspires.
Let’s get started.
I almost exclusively use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint on all of my furniture revivals. And on about half of my painted signs. The paint feels very, well, chalky when it dries and I wouldn’t call it finished at that point.
Have you ever walked into a resale store and touched the painted furniture? I am always compelled to do this because I want to feel the texture and finish. Is it chalky or dry? Is it too waxy? Or is it just right? Call me Goldilocks but I like a cohesive feel meaning the paint and furniture have become one. When it feels like paint ON furniture, it doesn’t work for me. Am I making any sense?
This is where wax comes in. Not only does it “finish” the furniture but it protects it. There are 3 brands I use…
#1 Minwax Paste Finishing Wax
I tend to just use this on stained surfaces but you can use it on paint. Two coats over stain usually does the trick. This can be applied with a cloth or dry brush. I usually use a brush. Minwax is readily available in your hardware store.
#2 Johnson Paste Wax
I started using this one by accident. I found it in the cleaning section at the hardware store and it was very inexpensive at $6-8. I used it to seal and protect painted furniture. I’ve used it again and again because I loved the results although this one is stinky so use it in a ventilated area. Again, you can use a cloth or dry brush to apply it. I choose the brush for ease. I like Johnson’s because it seems to cure quickly with a nice hard finish.
#3 Annie Sloan Clear Wax
No shocker here that Annie’s wax is my favorite and most used wax. The consistency is much smoother than the others. Like buttah I tell ya. I use an Annie Sloan wax brush for applying although, in full disclosure, I find the handle to be a little bulky. The large brush covers a lot of area though and the bristles really get into the paint. I use a cloth to wipe off excess in a buffing motion.
Clear wax, in general, helps the colors to pop and also highlights any texture in the paint. I love that about it but sometimes you do not like to see paint strokes. If that is the case, I advise sanding the paint with a fine grit prior to waxing.
For those of you that don’t know, Annie Sloan products are not available in your local hardware store. Only at special retailers.
#4 Annie Sloan Dark Wax
I think this is where most of the questions are stemming from. When applied lightly with clear wax, dark wax can give a slight aged appearance to furniture. Sometimes you just want to highlight certain areas. I typically use a small brush that I have reserved for dark waxing. I also mix the clear and dark waxes together to get the desired “aged” look.
Ever wonder what it would look like if you used all dark wax? Yeah, me too so I tried it…
Regardless of my choice of wax and application, I always buff it with an electric buffer and pad. Just like you’d buff a car after waxing it. Wax on, wax off. This helps to give the finished product shine and luster. You will not “feel” the paint once you get to this point in the process. It all becomes cohesive.
Wax can be reapplied throughout the life of the furniture.
Oh and for cleaning wax brushes, I dip them in Canola oil or something similar and then wash them out with soap and water.
That’s my waxing M.O. There are other brands of wax out there and a variety of ways to finish your furniture but these are my current go-to’s for indoor furniture.
For my 2014 update on topcoats, check out this post.
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