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can you repaint over wax?



End of post.

Okay, not really.  I will elaborate on this one.

When I shared my Antiquing Wax tutorial, a reader asked if you can repaint over a waxed surface.  I have heard a lot of people say you can’t paint over wax, but I’ve painted over wax numerous times, so let’s throw the “can’t” word out the window.

If you paint over wax that is “wet” (even though wax isn’t really wet) or hasn’t had time to cure, the chance of the paint resisting or reacting to the wax is greater.  This can be a positive thing with milk paint if you want chipping, flaking, crackling, etc.  If you want the paint to stick, though, it’s important to wait for the wax to cure.

The standard cure time to almost all paints and finishes is 30 days and that’s true of wax as well.

Once it has cured, you can paint over it, which is a nice option if you’re someone who is fickle or perhaps you just like to change things up now and then.

I would suggest giving the piece a light sanding, just to scuff up the finish and give the surface “tooth” for the new layer of paint to grab onto.  Wax can be a slippery surface for paint to grip.


The corner cabinets in my dining room and the buffet are all painted in milk paint over wax and there wasn’t a bit of chipping or trouble with adhesion.


I did notice the paint distressed a bit easier, because of that wax barrier, but that ended up working in my favor.

The first landscape dresser was also painted over wax.


The piece was originally painted in Schloss for the Look Book Two photo shoot, but after it hung around the studio for a while, I decided to paint it again.


We did end up with some chipping and crazing on that one, but that had more to do with the finish under the first coat of paint than the last coat of paint over the wax.  If you notice, it chipped all the way down to the wood.


So, just allow the wax to cure, give it a light sanding and you’re good to paint away!

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  1. I was just researching this very topic a few weeks ago! Thank you for writing about it, Marian. I read that you can wipe the wax down a bit with Mineral Spirits prior to painting over wax. Have you tried that? Looking forward to hearing you speak in the morning at Haven! xox, Emily

  2. Marian, you say the normal curing time is 30 days. Does that mean we have to wait 30 days after painting a piece before we can apply the wax? I love your landscape dressers.

  3. Is there a way to remove antiquing wax, or soften it? I have piece that I just waxed and a couple sections have dark overlap lines.

  4. I’m happy to hear you can paint over wax because I often find pieces of furniture I love that have already been painted in antique malls etc…the problem is, much of the time I find it hasn’t been done well but the piece has such good bones. I would think using quality paint to repaint would be important too.

    Thanks for the post.


  5. Lesleigh says:

    What about painting over hemp oil? I love love love your products, but I recently finished something in hemp oil, and now I may want to try a different color! ?

  6. When you bring something home, do you clean the items with anything, or just get to work? (after deciding on artistic part)I always clean with Murphy’s Oil Soap. I to am about to Milk Paint over something I stripped and hemp oiled, but I will rub it down with mineral spirits first.

  7. Where did you get that angel statue? I love it!

  8. I love your home and especially, the little helper in the pajamas! Too cute! Thanks for sharing. I learn so much from you.

  9. MICHELLE says:

    Good to know…thank you, Marian.

  10. Lisa Nash says:

    I’ve painted over wax several times too and it was fine. As you’ve mentioned Marion, sanding the piece first does help. Thanks for this helpful information though – I learned by trial and error!

  11. Susan says:

    That’s good to know. I recently painted a small antique side table and the top chipped a lot more than I wanted it to. But I put the wax on top anyway. So I might paint over it. Thanks for all you wisdom!

  12. Naomi S. says:

    Oooh, there’s that yummy landscape dresser! I do love that scene with all the trees and the little sheepies.

    Thanks for the great information about repainting over wax. I am just the kind of fickle–or perfectionistic–person who would decide I had to start over!

  13. sandra says:

    I clean all furniture with denatured alcohol to grt wax off furniture unless it’s raw wood. it works. a tip from my husband.

  14. Bridget says:

    I too am wondering about painting over oil. I am planning to paint an old pine floor with your milk paint and finish with tung oil, in a few years if I change decorating direction, will I be able to repainted?

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