Antiquing Wax Tutorial

Marian ParsonsBefore and Afters, Furniture Makeovers, Hand Painted Furniture, Miscellaneus, Miss Mustard Seed's Milk Paint, Painting & Refinishing, Tutorials83 Comments

 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.

Antiquing Wax Tutorial

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83 Comments on “Antiquing Wax Tutorial”

  1. I have to say, I have been touting out your antiquing wax to everyone bloggers and family/friends alike. I second loudly the motion for a larger size. I just picked up 3 from my semi-local supplier. I mean this in the nicest way possible but your wax has the look of dirt acquired over time(which is obviously a good thing) rather than an added paint colour/tone. I have used it with milk paint, and chalk paint and love the finish it gives.

    1. I love hearing that. Yes, we will be offering the Antiquing Wax in the larger size, same as the Furniture Wax. We can also look into the idea of a larger size for vendors/artists who need a “bulk” size!

  2. I love this chair so much! And have found your last couple post about milk paint especially useful! I’m an Arizona girl who is just starting my own furniture makeover/re-painting business and I just love MMSMP so much! It instantly transforms something into a masterpiece!! I love everything you do! I featured you on my blog today! Go ahead and give it a look if you have a moment! Thanks for all of the lovely inspiration!

  3. I wish I could buy it in Australia! It looks divine. I truly love everything you do Marion and wish I could get to one of the fairs to see what you do… and then ship it back Down Under!

    1. Hey Amanda….I am in Australia and I bought some milk paint and the furniture wax online from someone in the Us Who ships to Australia. I have only used the paint on a small piece so far but love it….and the wax is fabulous….I too would love to go and see everything Marian does and ship some pieces back to Oz….I find we just don’t seem to have the flea markets here like o/s countries do….

  4. Did you apply the wash all over, or mainly on the raised and detailed parts? The blue is distinct from the white it’s hard to imagine you sanded all the white off the blue areas. My arm is tired thinking about it. Could you achieve the same look by only washing the specific areas? Btw, love, love your wax. I also wouldn’t mind a gallon of wax and a larger bonding agent too. Can’t wait to purchase your new paint colors.(did you use bonding agent on the chair or your bar stool?) Thanks!

  5. That chair is EVERYTHING!! I especially love the photo bomber’s shirt, both of my boys have the same one (everything in my home is slowly becoming Star Wars)!

  6. Thanks for the great info about your wax! I use a different brown wax (I won’t mention names) and I dislike the fact that I must use the clear wax first and even then, it can be smudgy and difficult to get just so. I will definitely be giving yours a try! 🙂

    1. I’ve experienced that with every dark wax I used and the reason is that those waxes are made to be a stain/wax in one, so they are highly pigmented with an oil based stain. I always mixed them with a lot of clear wax, so it was important to me to make a wax that eliminated that problem.

  7. Did you use the antiquing wax on the whole piece without clear wax?
    I have used it over clear and it is great. I especially love that it smells good.

  8. Marian, this is one of many reasons why I love you. I have been thinking about getting the antiquing wax and now that you have written what you just did, I am sold! You answered all of my questions/concerns with this post and sold me(which is impossible) on a product. Love your honesty and strive for quality!

  9. Just used your antiquing wax yesterday on an old candlestick. Brushed it over chalk paint to tone it down and dirty it up. 🙂 Looks marvelous, and I’m anxious to use it again on a bigger piece. Thanks for offering such great products for re-dos 🙂

  10. Marian, love the different colors that show through on the body of this chair. Could you tell us all what colors you used and maybe give a quick tutorial? Thanks!!

  11. I love how the chair turned out! I don’t think I’ve done a piece yet Without the antiquing wax! I just love the worn and warm look it gives to a piece. I’m like you, I wish you sold it by the gallon! Can’t wait for the new colors to come out. I’m especially excited about the lavender, and ill tell you why after it comes out. Marti

  12. The chair is Beautiful!! I wondered if you’ve ever tried milk panit (with bonding agent) over polished granite? I know, sounds crazy…

  13. I haven’t really used dark wax because I didn’t like how “dirty” it made the pieces look anywhere it touched and not just in the nooks (I used clear wax too but it didn’t seem to help IMO) but I may have to try your antiquing wax. It looks so user friendly and appropriately grubby in the right places!

  14. Love it – it is gorgeous. I would love to come as close to that color as possible. Do you think if you get a chance, you could give the exact colors (with approximate measurements) and a list of what you must have before starting your project, please? I would be forever greatful.

  15. Hi Marian,

    As always, your finished products are divine! I must say, though, I was especially happy to see you using gloves while applying the wax…now let’s get you protecting those hands and using gloves for all of your paint projects! 🙂 Especially since we can now buy those surgeon style latex gloves at the big box stores. I am an older DIYer and wish I had been more diligent about protecting my hands! Cracked and dried out hands…Yuck!

    So from this ‘oldster’ to you, who generously shares so much about improving these tired treasures, please take care of your precious hands…don’t let the paint, sand paper, mineral spirits, etc take its toll on them.

    Thank you so much for your inspiration!


  16. Just a gorgeous job on the chair. I must say that your white highlights really make it a beauty! thanks for the tutorial – one of these days I hope to have the courage to try this work on my parents’ old bed frame for my work-in-progress bedroom.! Done right, it would be a beauty, too!

  17. Do you let the wax dry then buff or do you buff then let dry ?? I get a little lost on these steps.

    1. I let the wax dry for about five minutes and then I buff it. Once the chair was finished, I went over it with a cloth to buff it a bit more and make sure any excess pigment was wiped away.

  18. Thanks for the tip!!! It is next – just bought my first Milk Paint (thanks for the link)–Can’t wait to show a finished piece…

  19. So pretty! Really like the finished project-chair. Love your photo bomber. Thanks for the instruction. I want to try it! Have to find two great chairs. I have this thi g about pairs.

  20. Thank you so much for sharing so many projects, products, techniques — your generosity is astounding! Just discovered you a few weeks ago, and tried to hold off on ordering paints until the new colors were released. After reading this post though, my impatience won out and I will soon have some in my hands.and on my brushes.

  21. Very pretty! I can see that you painted the caning but did you wax it, too? I have a caned piece but didn’t thing the paint would even adhere to it as it seems to have a sort of slickery coating. Did you have to pretreat it somehow?


  22. That’s a beautiful, beautiful chair! The mix of colors made it look so soft.

    I did use antiquing wax a couple of times on pieces where I wanted to “accent” places on the desk and dresser drawers that would normally get a bit grimy with use. Your post now gives me confidence to experiment with it more. 🙂

  23. LOVE the chair! AND the stuff behind it. Your furniture always turns out so beautiful and I learn so much from you. It never looks forced, it just always looks so natural. I definitely have to save this post AND get the wax. I have painted several pieces with the MMS milk paint and all have sold out of my antique booth!

  24. I purchased it several weeks ago. I paint furniture as do many of my friends but had heard nothing about the antique wax. I’ve used it over your milk paint, chalk paint and latex. Just want to tell you thank you. Love the color it-doesn’t turn into something orange or muddy purple (murple). Love the smell, the way it smoothly wipes off, more like a thick night cream – (no lumps). After buffing, you don’t have to put one other product over it. I was sure hoping this could just be my new secret weapon in winning the “aging my furniture gracefully” contest. They would have found out sooner or later! It’s simply the best! Well done, Marion.

  25. hoping the antiquing wax doesn’t change the finish color. Didn’t look like it in the pic, but then again monitors are not always truthful. Was there any color change after the dark wax? I recently painted a desk turquoise and after the dark wax, it turned olive green. Not your products, btw. I didn’t want green…I wanted turquoise with some muddy pooling in the crevices.

    1. There is a slight darkening of the color, but it’s not going to change the color…like from turquoise to olive green. I would suggest testing it on a board or in an inconspicuous area first to make sure you like the look. If it’s darkening the color too much, you can use the clear wax first to seal the color.

  26. how well does the antiquing and clear wax ship in the summer’s heat? Seriously does it melt or get really soft? I would like to order some, but wondering if I should wait until fall.

    1. Yes, any wax will melt in heat, but the wax will firm up again when it’s put in a cool place, like inside a house or even basement/cooler garage. It won’t effect the performance of the product.

  27. Thanks so much for the info. I just bought two ornate cane back dining chairs to I love the color wash technique. I just did a piece where I did a whitewash over a soft blue on a side table and I love the effect. It really brings out the details of the piece. I think I am going to have to get myself some antiquing wax to try out soon. Love your chair!

  28. Beautiful chair! I love it. I definitely want to try your brand of dark wax, been having some MAJOR smudging problems with another brand I’m using. I have been on a hunt for months now for French cane chairs in the Dallas area, but no luck 🙁 Can you send some my way–hehe, j/k.

  29. I’m in the market for a new wax for my furniture business because I’ve been using a wax that just has too much of a strong odor for me. I just decided that I’m going to try to go more “green” with my paint products. I don’t want to have the toxic smells around my kids (or myself) anymore. Love the look of your wax, but does it give off any strong odors or is it low VOC? Would love to try it out…

    1. This wax has almost no odor at all and smells more like a lotion. I use it inside the house and don’t have problems with the fumes, like other waxes. I think you’d like this option.

  30. Marian, this was amazing, great tutorial and beautiful colors and techniques thank you for sharing!

  31. Oh my goodness, this makes me want to start painting again. I have been in a “slump” but this sure does get me in the mood to want to get back to it. Love the layering of colors, too.

  32. I wanted your advice on what to do with an antique dresser I wil be using in my bathroom as my sink base.I am going to paint it but not sure how to finish and seal the top from water. It is out only bathroom so it will be used a lot . What are your ideas and suggestions on this ? I have not painted a piece for this purpose.

  33. Actually, I’m working on a dresser-turned-sink vanity right now! I am going to finish the top with Waterlox, the same product I used on my butcher block kitchen counters. I have been very pleased with how it has held up.

  34. Can you share some info on how you care for your wax brushes? Do you have separate brushes for different waxes (clear v. tinted) and do they need cleaning? Many thanks, B.

  35. Hi there! So I’ve only used ASCP waxes…….would you recommend this antiquing wax for all pieces? I just bought some of your milk paint but havent tried it yet…..thanks for your input!

  36. do you also wax the caning? i just did a caned chair and the caning looks awful. am repainting the whole thing with a new color, but didn’t know about the caning with the wax. thanks!

  37. I just spray painted a small table from World Market. The finish is not smooth. Would a finishing wax work to smooth the surface as well as adding some color and texture in the detailing? Thanks

  38. 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!!

  39. 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?

    1. 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.

  40. 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

  41. 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

  42. 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

  43. 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

  44. 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

  45. 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.

  46. 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!

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

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