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Antiquing Wax Tutorial


 When I last showed the barrel-back French cane chair, it looked like this

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In the picture, it has one coat of French Enamel Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint.  I then applied a second coat, followed by a light wash of a mix of Shutter Gray, Eulalie’s Sky and Grain Sack.   (Eulalie’s Sky is one of our new colors and will be available for purchase in a few weeks!)

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There were beautifully carved details on this chair, so I wanted to bring those out with some white acrylic paint.  I use acrylic paint for decorative painting, because I like the body of it and the way it flows off the brush.  I’ve used it for my decorative painting for years and it was my medium-of-choice when I first started out as a decorative painter and muralist.

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Once the paint was dry (or mostly dry…I can be a little impatient at times), I distressed with 100 grit sand paper.

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For me, distressing brings out the character of a piece.  All of the details, high points, low points, texture…all of that good stuff that tells the story of a piece.

Now, I’m going to be honest.  Even though it’s in my product line, I hadn’t used the Antiquing Wax a ton.  I was a part of testing it out and getting the mixture of pigment to wax where I wanted it, but then I just used it here and there.  As I was working on pieces for Lucketts, I used it a lot and went from liking it to wishing we sold it in a gallon size.  This Antique Wax doesn’t become a blotchy mess when applied, even with a heavy hand and even over a finish that doesn’t have a coat of clear wax on it.  We were very careful to make the color a rich yummy brown, so it doesn’t look orange-ish like some of the glazes on the market.  And you can use Antique Wax over other paints, not just MMS Milk Paint.

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From an artistic standpoint, I think it’s best used on a piece with a lot of texture/carvings/details/etc. or over a brighter color to knock the edge off a bit.  This piece fits into the first category.  I didn’t apply Furniture Wax first (which is clear), but applied the Antique Wax directly to the finish.

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Apply it in a small area, working it into all of the low points with a brush (this is hard to do with a cloth.)  You don’t have to use a wax brush, but any brush you don’t mind smushing around a bit.

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Wipe away the excess with a cotton cloth, leaving the wax in the low points.  (Since the wax is pigmented, I would suggest wearing some gloves.)  This simulates the “dirt” that can accumulate in the nooks and crannies over time.  Think about it…when a piece is dusted, the cloth only hits the high points, leaving the dirt and dust to build up in the low points.  By mimicking this, you’re giving the piece instant, authentic-looking patina.

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Since the Antique Wax is a wax as well, you do not need to apply a coat of Furniture Wax on top.  Just buff the finish, let it dry and it’s good to go!

I have trouble taking a picture these days without a photo bomber.  Like father, like son.

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Here’s the finished chair (now that my son took his snack to the kitchen)…

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See how the Antiquing Wax brings out the details, even of the caning?   I love how this chair turned out.

If you want to give it a try, you can buy from a local MMSMP retailer or order online.

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  1. Katie Crooke says:

    I recently finished a hutch in Lucketts green and am in love with it. However, since I sanded the piece prior to painting and their is nothing to protect the piece, I feel that I need either the wax or hemp oil. I really do not know which one to use or even how they are the same/different? Do they work in the same sense that they protect the piece without changing the dynamics? My piece is distressed and chipped from the paint and looks beautiful, I just do not know how to “finish” it to keep the characteristics and protect it. Thank you in advance for your help and I LOVE everything on your site!!

  2. Portia McCracken says:

    Beautiful chair and great tutorial. Thanks!

    Your caning looks much better than anyone else’s I’ve seen in furniture tutorials. Please tell how you got the beautiful, smooth coverage on the caning, without any blotching or unevenness? Cloth or brush? How many coats?

    • Actually, I just used a brush! But MMS Milk Paint is thinner, so it flows better into crevices like caning. Try thinning down thicker paints with a little water when painting cane.

  3. Rattling wonderful information can be found on weblog .

  4. Cathy says:

    Your chair is absolutely beautiful! I have an unrelated question. I love your pillows and slip covers. I am wondering how you get the single thin stripes on your cushions? I can’t find fabric like that. Do you paint them? If so how do you do it? Please share. :) thank you

  5. S Garrett says:

    I absolutely LOVE this chair!!! I did a dresser in the same colors you used on another piece and love it. Would you please tell me the exact ratio you used on the three mixed colors, and did you wash it over the whole piece? Thanks

  6. Michelle says:

    I Absolutely love this chair!!
    Awesome job!

  7. Hi, I’m new to MMS paint. I just finished a chimney cabinet with your paint using a number of colors. I am trying to achieve an old world/worn finish to the cabinet to go with in a Mexican themed room. My question is about the finish. I purchased the antique wax and the hemp oil and can’t decide which to use to get that “old” look. Any recommendation on either the hemp oil or antique wax? Cordially Shar

  8. Shari says:

    I am very disappointed. I can not guess what I may have done wrong. I applied the antiquing wax to one of the flat sides of my cabinet, working in small areas at a time, then buffing, only to end up with streaks and blotches. It looks as though some areas need to be “blended” but for the life of me I can not get a consistent look. Anyone care to comment? Thanks bunches. Shari

    • Grizzle says:

      This happened to me too – I think it is better used on detailed areas, like shown in this page.

  9. Carol says:

    Hello.. I am wondering if it is possible to use the antiquing wax over stained furniture? I am looking for a way to antique and darken some stained furniture. Thanks in advance! Carol

  10. Kathy M says:

    HI. How long should the wax cure before putting pieces on top of a dresser or table?

  11. chris says:

    I used this antique wax on a table, love the look. But we has company over and they put a damp glass on the top and it left a ring. How can this be prevented, besides not putting anything on it. We ended up putting a coat of poly on it so it wouldn’t happen again.

  12. Hello, I recently stained my kitchen cabinets a very light color and wanted to know if the waxing process would work on them without using the paint process. Thanks!

  13. Liz. Taylor says:

    Hello. Love your work. Where can I buy antiques get wax and can I use a polyurethane seeker on top for protection

  14. Patsy says:

    Just love what you are achieving here. Brilliant!!

  15. can you apply seconds coats of the regular wax finish

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