Ever wondered why you use wax after you’ve painted furniture? I’ve explained it all in this post about what’s up with furniture wax and why you use it.
Painting furniture has become a household name. From Chalk paint to milk paint to furniture wax, most crafters (even non crafters) have tried it! Maybe you are new to the painting furniture game and want to know what all the hype is about! You landed in the right place because I’m going to share all about furniture wax and why you use it.
What is furniture wax?
Furniture wax is literally a “wax” application that is applied over a primary finish OR bare wood to add a protective barrier and leave the wood looking natural. It penetrates the porous surface and seals the paint very well.
Furniture wax (or wood wax) has been around forever and isn’t new to the furniture finishing game. It happens to be the furniture finish of choice for most chalk paint and some milk paints.
Why you ask?
Chalk paint and milk paint are very porous and need a good top coat. Unlike Polyurethane, wax won’t yellow or crack over time. It also leaves a soft matte finish that most furniture painters prefer especially over chalk painted furniture.
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Three different types of wax
Dark wax is used to “highlight” curves and crevices of a furniture piece. It’s a great way to antique furniture or make it look aged. You can also use dark wax to make the furniture piece overall darker.
Tip: It’s always a good idea to put a layer of clear wax over the piece before using your dark wax. A little bit of dark wax goes a long way, and if you apply it before you use clear wax it can be difficult to remove.
Dark Wax Products:
I used a dark wax below to darken the overall look of a milk painted coffee table.
You can also see where I used a little dark wax to create a weathered wood look to a smooth surface.
Clear wax is probably the most commonly used wax for those who want to seal their furniture piece and not alter the color. Clear wax can come in a few different forms like a beeswax product, a cream wax product and then a candle wax consistency type of product.
Clear Wax Products:
Lime wax or white wax
Liming wax, or white wax, can be used to lighten the overall appearance of a piece of furniture or highlight the wood grain. Lime wax is also used sometimes to give a piece of furniture a whitewash finish.
You can see an example of how I lime waxed an old coffee table.
How is furniture wax applied?
Wax is usually applied with a soft lint free cloth or a round brush. The round brush is really good at making sure the wax gets in all the small areas of the wood and really penetrates it. Make sure to work with thin coats applying in sections (I like to apply the wax in a circular motion). If you put too much wax on a piece of furniture, it won’t properly dry and it will always feel “waxy.”
After you’ve applied the wax and it’s dried, it can then be buffed with a clean lint free cloth for a smooth finish. A properly waxed piece of furniture will harden the paint and leave a smooth finish. If it’s tacky or doesn’t feel smooth, chances are you’ve used too much product or you haven’t buffed it out well enough.
- Wood wax
- Round wax brush
- lint free cloth
- Choose the right wax for your product
- Clean the surface with a lint free cloth to remove dust and debris
- Dip a wax brush or lint free cloth into the wax product and start by applying it in small circular sections to the surface making sure to only apply a small thin amount to the surface at a time
- Wait until the wax is dry (according to manufacturer)
- Using a clean lint free rag begin to buff the surface in circular motions until the wax is smooth and dry
- Continue buffing the surface until you've covered the entire furniture piece and are happy with the result!
- You can choose to apply a second coat of wax if you aren't happy with just one.
A properly waxed piece of furniture will harden the paint and leave a smooth finish. If the surface feels tacky or not smooth, chances are you’ve used too much product or you haven’t buffed it out well enough.
This is why it's important to work in small thin coats.
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If you are interested in more furniture tips and tricks WITH videos, come on over to my Painting and Refinishing Furniture 101 Page. I’m always adding content to it!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you’ve been inspired to create.