Wax On… Wax Off
How to use furniture wax for chalk paint.
Just the other day, I walked into my local Annie Sloan stockist and had a conversation about dark wax with one of the sales girls. It’s a hot topic for a lot of my chalk paint friends, because we’ve all struggled with our technique.
Dark wax can be very persnickety. Sometimes it’s too stiff and hard to move around. Sometimes I don’t get it off quickly enough, or it leaves uneven streaks. And when I use one of the lighter paint colors, the dark wax can make my projects look… well, just dirty.
If you’ve spent the money to take a class you’ve probably been told that the rule of dark wax is… use it first, then rub it off with the clear wax. Well here’s what I know about that. It’s sort of like when your friend divulges her secret family recipe for chocolate chip cookies, but no matter how many times you try, yours never quite come out the same. Then later you find out that she “mistakenly” left out a key ingredient… like the chocolate chips.
So here are a couple of tips I’ve learned on my own.
1) Rather than straight dark wax, I mix together equal parts dark and clear in an old wax container. I think it gives a better color and it makes my dark wax go further. I also think the small amount can move around in the can and be a little more pliable.
2) I put a light coat of clear wax on before the dark. It’s much easier to manipulate the dark after the piece has soaked up some of the clear. Then after the dark, I rub some more clear wax on to take away the excess. The furniture is so hungry for that first coat of wax that I don’t like to make it be the dark one.
3) I leave my wax in the sun for a few minutes before I ever use it. It makes it a lot easier to work with. In fact, if I want to use it like a glaze, I let it melt in the sun until it’s a liquid. It hardens right back up when I’m finished. But it’s fun to use it like a glaze to get right into those spaces that are hard to reach.
For a long time I just couldn’t seem to get that perfect aged looked that I’d always see in other people’s photos… the glossy, to-die-for ones that showcase everything just perfectly.
Now mine look just like those pieces… even if I don’t always have the crystal clear photography to prove it.