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waxes & winners

I received a ton of questions about waxes following my Waxes 101 post.  I thought I might.  Let me say first of all that I am not a wax expert.  I’ve been using furniture waxes for a few months, but my use of waxes exploded with my use of Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint and I just had to share it. 
Simply put, wax is what I’ve always been looking for in a top coat.  It’s easy to apply, it give a wonderful antique/hand rubbed look to a piece and it won’t yellow over whites.  Now, I’m hooked and I’m not sure I’ll ever use poly again. 
To see how I apply waxes and which ones I like to use, you can check out my Waxes 101 video tutorial
Which waxes do I like?  
There are two waxes I love equally.  The first one is Fiddes & Sons and that may be the one I would purchase, simply due to cost.  You can purchase it from John Millen Hardware and it comes in a variety of colors.   The second wax I love is Hannant’s Wax, which is the one sold with AS Chalk Paint.  It is a bit more expensive, though, but still a wonderful product. 
Brush or cloth application?
I started my waxing career using a rag to apply the wax.  There is nothing wrong with that, it’s a total preference thing.  My mind was totally changed on the matter, though, when Virginia sent me this brush…

She worked with a brush-maker and designed this brush that is perfect for waxes.  It will get into all of the nooks and details of a piece, it’s soft, it fits perfectly in the can…it’s just an awesome brush.  It is $34.95, which is expensive when you compare it to your run-of-the-mill sash brush at Walmart, but it’s the only one you’ll need to buy.  Just take good care of it and it will serve you well for a long time.  You can purchase one from Virginia’s Website.  (You can also get the Hannant’s Wax and AS Chalk Paint there as well.)

How durable is a wax finish?
It is really durable.  Water beads up on it like a duck’s back and it protects wood and paint well against everyday bumps and scrapes.  It does not, however, stand up to a sharp metal wire hanging out of an antique basket that is dragged across your dining room table a few times.  Trust me on that one…

…but I don’t think even factory poly would’ve stood up to that.  All I need to do, though, is sand it a little and reapply some more wax.  I used wax over the paint on my corner cabinets and it’s held up where the door meets the frame.  Latex would’ve worn away from the rubbing, but wax has done its job. 

It’s also protected my buffet very well, even with an ever changing arrangement that includes potted plants, a stack of plates and heavy ironstone tureens.  It’s so durable, I’m thinking about using it for my kitchen counters.

What is buffing?
Yeah…I totally forgot that part in the tutorial.  I mentioned it like the entire world knows exactly how to buff wax, so I’m sorry about that.  To answer this question, I’ll start off by saying that wax does not have to be buffed.  You can brush it on and just leave it for a very dull finish.  Buffing it gives the piece a little luster (it doesn’t make it super shiny) and it makes the surface feel smooth.  Buff a piece of furniture the same way you would a car or your fingernails.  Just use a soft cloth and rub it vigorously in circles.  It’s a workout, but it doesn’t take that long. 
How do I know when the wax is dry?
Dry time with waxes varies greatly depending on the brand.  Some directions say 15 minutes and others say to leave overnight.  Just wait until the wax has dried to a haze and doesn’t feel sticky to the touch.  If you leave your piece for over a day and it still feels sticky, you probably applied too much wax.  Rub some of it off with a cloth and give it more time to dry, then buff.
Can waxes be used over more than chalk paint?
Yes.  I have used it over latex, milk paint, stained wood and natural wood and it works well on all of them.  You can even use it on metal.  It’s a good, all purpose top coat that can be used on just about any kind of furniture and finish. 
Do you like Briwax?
I didn’t mention it in my other video simply because I haven’t tried it. One of my friends Molly Susan Strong uses Briwax faithfully and she’s a pro, so it must be good stuff. She also shared a wonderful tip that wax can be softened by setting the tin in some hot water to warm it up. 
Did that clear some things up?  Let me know if you have other questions I didn’t cover and I’ll try to answer them.  
Now, to the giveaway winners!
I had no idea that an antique wire caddy with clay pots in it would receive the best participation in a giveaway I have ever received!  There were over 600 individual entries!  Wow! 

The winner of the caddy is Jill from Junky Vagabond!

The winner of the Scentsy Giveaway is Cherie of Dragonfliez Creationz!

Congrats, ladies! 

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  1. OH My goodness! I won… Woot!

    dragonfliez34 at gmail dot com

  2. darn it did not win it =(

    love that cute little wax brush!!

  3. Congrats girls!!!!
    Have fun!

    Deborah xoxo

  4. Thank you so very much for being so giving with your knowledge and experience…it has been more than helpful for newbie to the world of furniture painting like me! Thanks agian.

    -Aaron {the girl with the boy's name}

  5. Yippee! Doing a happy dance here! I LUV that caddy and the clay pots and am so excited to have won :)

    Thank you Marian!

  6. Interesting post, thanks. I have yet to buff the secretary I painted, and I will get to it tomorrow. So much info, thanks again Marian.

  7. Congrats to the winners. I use wax as a finish as well. Love it. I used to use Briwax but can't seem to find it in the states anymore. Well in this state anyway. I was thinking about trying to find it in Canada.
    Thanks for sharing.

  8. This is great and timely info. I have only used Briwax but perhaps I should give the others you mentioned a try. Thanks so much!

  9. I love all your tutorial!!
    They have helped me so much in painting furniture!! By the way have you ever gone to an auction to find furniture??? I would think there would be some great ones up there!!

  10. Thanks for the info! Awesome.

    I just had a brainstorm. I haven't sealed my crate stairway yet. Would wax be hardy enough to walk on? Or would it leave them too slick underfoot?


  11. Saw this and thought of you! Now you've got me looking! Too bad about the hefty price tag! :-)

  12. Wow you sure are a well of information. Thanks for all this info. I always have to find substitutes for all the brands you use, but the info is very helpful none the less. Thanks.

  13. Thanks for all the tips – I'm in love with the furniture you redo!

  14. I have been using wax for ages, so I'm glad you're promoting it. I have never used a brush, so I'll have to check that out (there are somethings that I just like 'old school'). Hugs, Kim

  15. Can't wait to try waxing. My Son's "big boy" dresser is an antique and needs refinishing. I think wax will give the look we want. Thank you so much for sharing your techniques and tricks :)

  16. I don't know if this is a wax question or not…I have a farmhouse table that was finished with Orange Oil (I think) and then sprayed with a poly finish. It is too shiny!! I would prefer a wax finish as you describe. So do I need to do something to "strip" the poly finish and then apply the wax?

    I've been waiting for the wax info you gave today to make my chalk paint order (including the brush) but now I'm headed over to do it!! Thank you for all your helpful info, Marian!!

  17. I've been up and down Virginia's website and can't find that brush anywhere!!!! I'm dying here.

  18. I cannot tell you how much you have inspired me to do my armoire that I've been staring at for years. I've already ordered the wax from John Millen Hardware and will be ordering this brush too. I'm so excited to try this along with the chalk paint. I never really knew what to do with this blah piece of furniture until now. Thanks for all the tutorials!

  19. I have one more question about wax. Does it stand up to heat? My dining table is from the 50s and I believe it has a shellac finish on it. It's a gorgeous table – was my great grandmother's. I am sad though because when my aunt gave it to us a year ago, it was in great shape, however I didn't realize it could not withstand heat from serving dishes or condensation from our water glasses. So now my table top needs refinished. We can't pay someone, so I will probably attempt it myself. I am not sure if I should do wax or go with poly since we use it for our daily meals.

    On a side note, before I realized it had a shellac finish, I read online that you can remove heat stains with an iron. Well, you can imagine what happened….i now have an iron shaped heat stain on my beautiful table. :(

  20. And thank you for the wonderful tutorials! you give us so much information (FOR FREE!) and I am grateful!

  21. It's nice to hear someone else 'waxing lyrical' (sorry!) about wax. I've been using wax for years on everything – furniture, wooden signs, wooden letters for walls etc. I use both clear and dark – the dark wax I use is Jacobean Dark Oak.
    I've been so inspired by your enthusiasm over Chalk Paint that I ordered some online and it arrived today. I can't wait to use it!
    Thanks x

  22. Congrats to you both – yay!!!


  23. I love your blog. I am wanting to try and paint my island in my kitchen. It has your standard builder cabinets. I wanted to get your opinion on using chalk paint. Do you think it would be durable enough? I have three little ones that will be putting it to the test. If not chalk paint, do you recommend another product? Thanks so much for your help.

  24. Thanks for all of the wonderful information! You have inspired me. However, I my have made a mistake on 1 piece…Can you remove wax? I started to use brown wax on a piece, and it just looks dirty. HEELLLPPPPP!!!!!! I must remove it!

  25. I'm sorry Diarywife you were having difficulties finding the wax brush on my site. Just go to the shop tab at the top then click Chalk paint you should find it there on the 4th page. Most of the stockist of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint carry my brush so please check the stockist closest to you.
    Happy painting :)

  26. Hi…do you recommend using this product if I am spray painting my pieces? Also how long after I have sprayed my pieces do I apply the wax?

    Thank you soo much and I absolutely love your blog!

  27. No, you don’t need wax if you use spray paint. That provides a hard finish.

  28. Oh be still my heart! I LOVE the brush! I totally understand how a person can “fall in love” with paint and all the accessories of paint…. especially brushes. I love nothing more than a pretty jar filled with different types of beautiful brushes. I may be a little slow joining “the party” but just like everything else I do, well its done at my own pace. And have you tried wax on old metal? Love the protection it gives old hooks!!

    Have a wonderful day!

  29. Lizette says:

    I am so glad a friend told me about your blog. I am very excited to be refinishing my first piece of furniture. I have 2 questions for you and would *really* appreciate your feedback. 1. Does using a darker wax take the place of having to stain and use poly? and 2. can you use chalk paint over veneer? what about metal?

  30. I am thinking of using Annie Sloan wax on my untreated butcher block kitchen countertop. We have 4 kids and use the kitchen ALOT. I am nervous as to whether this is enough to seal for the water…what do you think?

  31. Hayley Short says:

    Wondering if you ever did use the Annie Sloan Clear soft wax on your butcher block counter tops?
    I am going to put them in my bathrooms, but need to seal them for general humidity. Not cutting or anything. Just prevent warping or mold I guess. Prevent Water spots, but I know oil would bring the BB top back to new if the water does dull it.
    I really love working with the AS wax, and I have searched everyone looking for that exact experiment.. Has anyone ever used it to SEAL plain wood. Would love to hear how it worked for you??

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