For anyone who has ever used chalk paint, you know how helpful it is for achieving a beautiful finish on your furniture. However, it can be tough to maintain that finish if the color starts chipping or peeling off at the edges.
If you’re not already familiar with chalk paint, it’s a wildly popular option for artists and novice crafters alike looking to give nearly any surface in their home an updated look in the quickest way possible.
A superstar of the craft world, it was created in the 1990s by the British artist Annie Sloan as a solution to ditch her bulky kit of paint supplies for an all-in-one option.
It has maintained its popularity due to its ability to provide an authentic vintage vibe without any time spent sanding down old moldings, removing heavy layers of wallpaper, or painting over cracks in woodwork.
But, to keep the results looking fresh and help bring out all of those beautiful colors hiding inside each layer of paint, you need to finish the project with a good wax product.
What is the best wax for chalk paint? The best wax for chalk paint is moisture-resistant, weather-resistant, and durable. Waxes can be store-bought or homemade, and are commonly composed of substances that include beeswax, a mix of carnauba oil and linseed oil, or petroleum jelly.
Keep reading to learn more about putting the perfect wax finish on your next home project.
Is Chalk Paint Different From Regular Paints?
Chalk paint is different from traditional paints in a few ways. One of the benefits is that it doesn’t require any prep work. Even if they’re already painted, you can just go ahead and use chalk paint on your piece without worrying about damaging them.
Plus, because of its consistency, as chalk paint dries it’s less likely to drip than regular water-based paints.
That being said, chalk paint is a little tricky to work with, and it can be tough to get the perfect finish. But, when you find the right product for your needs, you’ll be on your way to gorgeous wood in no time.
Also, keep in mind that it must not be confused with “chalkboard” paint which creates surfaces where people can write on them using chalk.
To make things easier, we’ve rounded up some tips and tricks to work with chalk paint efficiently and get the desired outcome.
Best Types Of Wax For Chalk Paint
Furniture wax and clear wax are the best types of wax for chalk paint. In the best-case scenario, you can use clear furniture wax.
Below are short descriptions of furniture wax and clear wax. Once you know what each is, I’ll list the best clear furniture waxes for chalk paint in the following section.
Furniture Wax For Chalk Paint
Chalk paints work well on all surfaces, including furniture. So you can create those lush rich tones without all the mess while still being able to customize every detail from start to finish entirely.
The best furniture wax for chalk paint is a homemade solution like beeswax, a mixture of carnauba and linseed oil, or petroleum jelly.
So, how do you apply it? Just use the wax with a soft cloth and dry it until tacky before buffing with a lint-free cloth. However, only use petroleum jelly as a last resort because different types of food or drinks can stain it over time.
Also, take note that you’ll need to clean your furniture more often than if you use carnauba and/or linseed oil to make this recipe.
Fair warning: If you’re looking for an extremely high sheen (as would be found in most commercial furniture polishes), these homemade solutions will disappoint as they generally don’t create glossy solid effects.
Clear Wax For Chalk Paint
Clear wax is an incredible product for furniture and walls painted with chalk paint decorative paint. It can be used to seal the surface of your furniture.
Alternatively, it can also give a beautiful mellow finish to any chalkboard wall that you’re painting in your space.
The clear soft finishing wax from Soft Southern Strokes is the perfect way to seal and protect chalky finish furniture paint.
A few factors to consider when using chalk paint is what type of top coat you’ll use. However, when it comes to precise finishing products, there’s one problem they all suffer from: how do I apply this over the glossy surface?
These coatings contain small amounts of oils that dry into a natural hard film and are impervious to water. But these oils give everything an oily veneer and often disrupt the coating’s adherence with chalky surfaces.
The 3 Best Waxes For Chalk Paint
Below are the best waxes for chalk paint.
1. BB Frosch Clear Finishing Wax
My favorite premium finishing wax that works amazing for chalk paint is the BB Frosch clear wax. It is a unique, all-natural wax blend that is environmentally friendly.
The wax blend includes sustainably-sourced beeswax and mineral oil.
One of the best qualities of this clear finishing wax is that it dries quickly, so you only need to wait for about 20 minutes before using your furniture after applying the wax.
It is resistant to yellowing, so you don’t have to worry about white chalk paint changing color after using this wax.
A little goes a long way and is easy to apply thanks to its soft texture. It is also made in the USA.
2. Soft Southern Strokes Clear Finishing Wax
If you want a clear wax that doesn’t require a lot of buffing, then this natural finishing wax from Soft Southern Strokes is for you. The wax comes in an 8 oz container and is a great value.
My favorite aspect of this finishing wax for chalk is that it is petroleum distillate free, so it is non-toxic and safe to use around kids.
The blend of wax includes white beeswax, carnauba, walnut, and plant oils.
More patience is required to use this wax since it takes anywhere between 2-24 hours to fully dry. Don’t let the wait time discourage you, though, because the result is worth the wait.
3. Jolie Clear Finishing Wax
The matte finish clear finishing wax from Jolie Home is a premium wax that works wonderfully on top of chalk paint. The clear coat can be used as the final finish or as the first layer before you add a colored finish.
It is odorless, non-hazardous, and water-resistant, which makes it a great choice for furniture items that might undergo water spills (like nightstands and coffee tables).
One thing to keep in mind is that this is paraffin wax, so it likely contains petroleum distillate.
Benefits Of Using Wax With Chalk Paint
When it comes to sealing your chalk paint, you have a ton of options.
We think wax is the best option because not only does it create an attractive sheen on top that mimics old paints, but it also has strong durability and long-lasting effects.
Wax is a type of coating that can be applied to chalk paint. It helps the dry more quickly and provides protection for the surface the chalk paint was applied to.
Next we’ll discuss what wax can do for your project and how to apply it correctly.
The wax layer on a table or countertop can protect your surfaces from damage caused by spills. As a result, this makes it perfect for high-traffic areas like dining tables and kitchen counters.
It also prevents the paint from discoloration and fading.
A water-resistant wax will safeguard your favorite chalk paint, whether on a surface or any other accessories, from moisture. Therefore, there will be no more damage, dampening, mold, or mildew on the paint.
Waxing your outdoor furniture to withstand weather elements like dust and debris can make it a perfect solution for people who love their chalk-painted pieces outdoors!
Keeping them clean is easy with simple dusting and wiping every few weeks.
With wax, surfaces and furniture will last up to four times longer than if the paint were left unwaxed. This also means you won’t have to repaint or repair your things as often as you used to do until now.
How To Apply Wax To Chalk Paint
Once you’ve finished painting the furniture with chalk paint, you will need to seal it with wax.
To do this, you’ll need a stiff bristle brush to work in small portions at a time. Next, apply just a thin coat and wipe over the wax with a soft cloth.
Use the following steps to wax on like a pro.
Step 1: Let The Chalk Paint Dry Completely
Chalk paint is quick to dry but err on the safe side before starting the wax process. Allow your final coat of chalk paint a chance to rest overnight so that it’s completely dry when you start sanding and distressing.
Step 2: Make Sure The Clear Finishing Wax Is Compatible with The Chalk Paint
When making your chalk-style paint, look for a soft clear finishing wax that is intended for furniture. This will enable you to customize the application of dark and light-colored paints and create an overall protective barrier against dirt or other contaminants.
If you’re using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, choose the same brand’s wax production in order to get the best results with their product line.
In addition to drying quickly, it can be applied by brush without much hassle. Plus, using it correctly can take care of any unwanted smudging when wet.
At the same time, it allows pigments from one layer of coloring over another during the painting process. Now you can start applying this first coat.
Step 3: Scoop Out The Wax Into A Disposable Plate
Pick up 2-3 tbsp of wax from the tin with a disposable plastic knife, and spread it out on your plate. This will make it easier to pick up when you’re using the brush.
Be sure not to dip into the container with bristles or paint dust to keep any contaminants at bay.
The biggest mistake we all make while applying wax is using a lot of it at once. The correct way of using it is by taking a smaller amount and scoop it again when you need more.
How To Brush The Wax Onto The Surface
The final steps before the finished product are brushing the material in. Here’s how to best brush.
Step 1: Massage The Wax In Circular Motions
When you’re working with chalk paint, it can be challenging to avoid uneven patches. Thanks to waxing the furniture before painting, this will minimize and even out brush strokes so that they blend in more naturally.
For this, you need to work the brush in loose circular motions to distribute a thin layer of wax across the furniture’s surface.
If you work from side to side, be sure to follow the grain and apply steady pressure with your hands when rubbing it into wood or paint.
In addition, you can start by applying wax onto an area without any crevices first before getting too deep. Make sure the wax is evenly distributed before moving on to a different portion or next coat.
Step 2: Wipe The Waxed Surface With A Clean Cloth
As you are wiping over the waxed surface, be sure to use a lint-free cloth, or else it will leave behind fuzzy pieces of fabric.
You can choose either microfiber cloths (which have tiny fibers on one side), clean but old clothes such as shirts or jeans, cheesecloth, paper towels. Just make sure these won’t add extra fuzzies.
Once you’ve wiped all around with this wax in circular motions without any excess left behind, switch up gears by using big sweeps instead.
If there’s residue on the towel from previous strokes, no worries because we’ll do some final polishing later.
Step 3: Work In Small Sections Applying Small Amounts Of Wax
Take out only a little amount of wax onto the brush and buff it into the chalk paint. Then wipe over it several times with a cloth.
Later, you’ll be able to see where the wax has been applied since it increases the saturation of your chosen color’s pigments in this stage of painting.
Apply only one coat thin and even for best results on furniture smaller than about four feet long or two-and-a-half feet wide (on any size dresser).
For those more extensive pieces, like desks and tables, it is recommended that you work across them horizontally as you would when working stripe patterns.
In both cases, make sure not to overlap too far from previous sections so that there are no gaps left behind anywhere between coats.
Step 4: Leave The First Wax Coat To Dry For 24 Hours
After you’ve let your first coat of wax dry for 24 hours, it’s time to add another. But don’t forget that the next day is just as important.
Before adding any additional coats or polishing up your new finish with furniture polish, allow at least one more day for curing.
This process takes a total of 72 hours from start to finish.
If this sounds like too much waiting and worrying about whether everything will turn out okay in the end, we have good news!
If you are not feeling particularly confident yet about giving it a go on an entire piece alone, don’t worry! You can always do small sections instead by painting them separately onto cardboard.
Step 5: Apply An Additional Coat For Darker Finish
Apply one full coat of dark wax over the clear wax to achieve a tinted effect.
Once you’ve given your furniture piece 24 hours for its first layer to dry, follow it up with an optional one or two coats of darker color.
This will make it look more worn-in and well beaten down by time.
Be sure when applying each new layer that you’re more detailed as you wipe off certain areas while leaving other sections untouched, so they have noticeable streaks on them.
If you still have lingering questions, read on.
What Would Happen If You Don’t Wax The Chalk Paint?
If you don’t wax a surface that has been chalk painted, it will accumulate too much dirt and could eventually become discolored.
As time goes on, if you neglect to clean the piece as it continues to collect dirt, but eventually want it to look new again, it will like starting from scratch.
You’ll need to thoroughly clean the surface and then apply touch up paint – or even repaint the whole surface. A quality wax could have prevented this experience.
Can You Paint Over An Already Waxed Chalk Paint?
You can repaint an item that was previously chalk painted and waxed, but you must take the proper preparation steps and not just paint over the previously waxed surface.
The first step is removing any existing wax. Here is how to remove preexisting wax:
- Break down the wax from the surface by dipping a cloth in white spirit and rubbing it over the wax.
- Mix white vinegar and water in equal parts to create the perfect cleaning solution for removing the residue without harming any of your surfaces or materials. You can use another cloth dipped into this mixture to clean off all that built-up wax from around those hard-to-reach places. This also works well for knobs and hinges before replacing them with fresh soap again.
- Create your own cleaning agent: mix one cup of white vinegar with one tablespoon of cream of tartar. The end result will be about the perfect consistency for wiping away wax residue from the furniture. The process won’t require any harsh chemicals or expensive products.
- Wipe the excess unit with a damp cloth and dry it.
It’s all about the right finish. Whether you want a smooth, matte look or a glossy one to make your piece pop – it will depend on what type of paint and sealer is in use.
Also, you may need to sand down any rough surfaces before applying (or reapplying) another layer of chalkboard paint for that perfect finishing touch.