Furniture re-dos

Waxing with chalk paint

I’ve had some requests to talk about waxing with Annie Sloan (or any really) chalk paint. I recently re-did some end tables so I think “killing two birds with one stone” makes the most sense, don’t you? Great.

I got these cute end tables from a friend who just simply didn’t want them anymore (can you imagine?)

Oh, I forgot, I only took a before picture of one of them (oops) well, there are two of them and they both look the same. She had gotten them from someone else and didn’t like the way they looked so she spray painted them black (poorly- her words). Great shape, just need it highlighted. So I painted them with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Paris Grey. Of course I forgot a picture of the plain unwaxed table. Trust me, it was dull. It was really hard to see the character of the tables. I decided this might be the perfect time to try the dark wax.

I have to tell you, using the dark wax scared me a bit. I have heard horror stories of forgetting to use clear wax first and having to repaint the whole piece. Not that is would take SO long on a small table, it was just the principal of having to redo the whole project…

Once they were dry from the paint I got out my clear wax. You always want to use the clear wax first. The dark wax is RIDICULOUSLY dark. Without a barrier between it and the paint, it will instantly stain the paint as it blends and no amount of buffing is getting it out. With a clear wax barrier, it stains the wax and you can buff it up or out if needed. If you find there’s too much or it’s too dark, the easy fix is to dab a cloth in clear wax and use it like an eraser. It totally works! I am jumping ahead though so let me back up…. You don’t need a lot of wax. Let me say that again, you really do not need a lot of wax at all. If you’ve ever waxed a car, you’ll use WAY too much the first time you do this- nearly everyone does.

To apply the wax you can use a brush, a cloth, or this awesome tool you can get at your local hardware store. At the “orange” one near me is $1.96. You can wash it and use it again, or just throw it away when you’re done. It’s called a Handi Painter and looks like this:

ok, this one was used and cleaned so the one you purchase will look nicer than this. 🙂

I love this tool for the larger flat surfaces. I use a brush for the intricately detailed, odd-shaped, or smaller surfaces. It’s fast and so much easier.

Remember I said you don’t need much wax? You don’t. Here is a photo of how much wax I start with:

That’s it.

I use my hand to smear it around the pad and then I rub it on the surface of the piece. back and forth with some pressure. The point is to really work the wax into the paint. You’ll feel it with your hand and if you’re using a brush, you can actually feel the paint kind of melt together with the wax. If you’re using a brush, I do a dabbing motion into the soft wax, then kind of rub the brush around on a paper plate to smear the wax into the bristles and then touch my piece with the brush. After waxing, if you rub your hand across the surface and can feel the wax, you’ve used too much. If it feels waxy, sticky, wet, etc, there is too much wax on the piece. Take a lint free cloth and wipe it off. You can’t wipe off too much so don’t worry. Always wipe the piece down after waxing, even if you didn’t use too much. It gives it a bit of a buff and smooths it a bit.

Let it sit for a few minutes while you finish the rest of the piece. It’s a good idea to work in sections and not wax the whole piece, then wipe it, then buff or sand. Do a bit at a time. If you’re going to use the dark wax, now is the time to pull that out. If you’re going to use a brush, you need a different brush than the one you use for clear wax. You can also use a rag or even the Handi Painter if you were covering a large area. I used a small natural bristle paintbrush stolen from my children.

You can mix the dark wax and clear wax together if you like for a less intense color. You can also mix the clear wax with some paint if you wanted to do highlight the features with a color instead of the aged patina style of the dark wax- for instance a white wax with a dark or medium paint color would look nice.

I took the bush and basically just drew a line in the creases on the furniture. I then grabbed a rag and wiped it off almost immediately. Depending on how exact you are at putting it on, it may be too large of a footprint so use your cloth to rub it a bit and blend it down. If it’s still too dark or too wide, just dip the edge of your rag in your clear wax and use it like an eraser to rub it off where you don’t want it. You may need a little pressure, you may not. You won’t rub the paint off so don’t be scared- start light and add pressure if needed.

After you’ve finished highlighting with the dark wax you need to decided what kind of finish you want. I happen to love the sanded finish. The surface of the piece is smooth and feels almost like butter it’s so soft. You can also just leave it over night and then buff it with a soft cloth. Still looks great, just not as soft to the touch.

If you wanted to distress, this is where you’d do it. I chose not to with these pieces. If I do distress a piece, I use a 200-220 grit sandpaper and lightly rub the places I want to highlight apply more pressure as needed. I then apply a coat of wax to the places I have distressed as protection.

If you choose to sand it, you’ll need a VERY fine sandpaper. 4-600 grit. I use 600 grit and you can go even finer if you can find it. I divide my large piece of sand paper into 4 pieces and then fold each of those in half. It’s easiest for me to use and fits in my hand well. Then you just lightly sand the surfaces of the piece. You will feel the paint sort of “melt” into place as you rub and when you run your hand over the piece, you should feel the difference in surface texture. Don’t rub hard- the point is to polish the surface, not to change the shape of the piece or rub off all the paint work you’ve just done. When you’ve finished sanding, wipe it down with a damp cloth.

That’s it. You’re done. Let it sit. Remember, like any project it needs time to “cure”. Full cure on the wax takes 28 days. That doesn’t mean you can’t use it, it just means you want to be a bit gentle and realize it’s not at full hardness for about a month- the finish is amazingly resilient when it’s all said and done.

Oh, want to see the finished tables?

Sorry about the cruddy quality of photo- I’m hoping to get a real camera soon. The dirty floors?  Well, they’re on my list too at some point this week.

What do you think? Did that info on waxing help? Any more questions or something I can make clearer?

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  • Reply
    September 19, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    Love the tables!!!! I’ve been eager to try chalk paint & wax. Where did you buy yours?

    And I love that you “stole” a paintbrush from your kids to do this. 🙂

  • Reply
    September 19, 2012 at 10:29 AM

    🙂 They like to steal my stuff so I figure turnabout is fair play.. right? I buy the Annie Sloan paint and wax in Lucketts at On a Whim- it’s on 15 with the pink silo with black polka dots.

  • Reply
    January 4, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    This is a huge help to me. My original piece I did with Ann Sloan I put way too much wax on. I didn’t sand it after either. Do you think I could still sand it months later? I am glad to hear about the tool to apply it with, I didn’t want to spend $30 on the wax brush. Getting ready to do my kitchen table and a hutch. I will share pics soon. Thanks for the help!

    • Reply
      January 4, 2013 at 8:01 PM

      You may be able to buff out the extra wax with a soft cloth. You absolutely can sand it months later. I used way too much wax on the vanity I did for Gracie. It will harden over time. You may like the feel of the finish after a light sand with 400 or above sand paper too… You won’t ruin it, I say give it a shot!

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