Great Tips for Waxing Painted Furniture

My sister and I both used to dread waxing furniture when we first started painting furniture especially when using dark wax.  We spent over a year trying different brands and experimenting with different methods, techniques and suggestions with little improvement. 

I contacted several manufacturers and stockists try and figure out what I was doing wrong but never got the hang of achieving a solid finish.  I ended up more frustrated with each failed attempt, then I got sick, very sick, with what seemed like a never ending pneumonia.  This went on for four months before specialists figured out it was the chemicals I was working with that were causing the problems within my lungs. 

That was a blessing in disguise because it led me in search of products that are ALL natural, better not only for my health, but the health of everyone else around me me too.  I work in the house often, so not exposing my family to anything is essential. 

Of all the waxes I’ve tried, American Paint Company’s Clear and Dark Antiquing Waxes are my favorite.  They leave you with the nicest finishes and they’re the easiest to use.

American Paint Company's Clear Vintage Antiquing Wax Shizzle Design

American Paint Company’s Waxes (referred to as “Vintage Antiquing Wax”) are all natural.  They’re not made with toxic chemicals or horrible smelling ingredients found in many other waxes and finishes.

Have you ever taken the time to read the ingredients on your wax?  You haven’t?  Really?  If you haven’t – you should; especially if you’re using them without a respirator, in an enclosed area or around your family.  Your not using other waxes around your kids – are you?

Hmm – better go grab your can of wax and read the ingredients on the back.  If your wax makes the hairs on your nose curl when you open it, it’s probably bad for you and your family.  The ingredients should be listed on your can.  If they’re not – beware!  Either get rid of it or contact the company and demand to know what you’re exposing yourself to.

I experienced respiratory problems which cost me thousands in medical bills before I found out the exposure to chemicals in the products I had been using was the culprit.  Not that everyone will have those issues, but I certainly can’t use them and would never recommend those products to anyone working around children, anyone who’s pregnant, or has any type immune deficiency.

My doctor cut me off and said no more.  I was told to change my career or find a green alternative.  From that day forward, I have sought out healthier alternatives, choosing green whenever possible.

American Paint Company’s Wax

American Paint Company Deluxe Waxing Kit from Shizzle Design clear, light and dark antiquing wax, 1.5 brush, 2 detail wax brushes 3

American Paint Company’s Vintage Antiquing Waxes are non-petroleum based.  The ingredients are listed on the can so you don’t have to guess what’s in it.  They’re much easier to use than most other waxes and they don’t stink because they’re not laden with awful chemicals.

American Paint Company’s waxes are softer than a paste wax and glide on like butter.  They can be applied with a rag or a brush.  It’s a personal choice.  A lot of people like using rags to apply it but I have to have my favorite brushes.  Everyone has something they “HAVE” to have.  For me, it’s my pillow, my LaZboy, my heating pad and my brushes.  Everyone has “something” they have to have whether it be certain clothes, cars, ice cream…  

I don’t need fancy cars or fancy clothes, but I do have a thing for good brushes!

My two favorite wax brushes are our 1-1/2″ round waxing brush and our hand cut chipper brushes for detailing

1 and a half round wax brush shizzle design favorite

My favorite Wax Brush to date is still this 1-1/2″ Round Wax Brush

easiest way to wax painted furniture best wax American Paint Company Shizzle Design Michigan

I can cover some serious ground in just a few minutes using the 1-1/2″ Round Wax Brush then I use our hand cut all natural chip brushes to work wax into corners and detailed areas.

Our Hand Cut All Natural Chip Brushes

Brushes - hand cut wax brushes 2 copyright 2

available here

I’m light handed when I paint but when it comes to waxing, I’m not.  I work the wax into the paint, almost scrubbing it in with my brush.  The method in which wax is applied varies from one person to the next, some wipe on then wipe off (I don’t), other’s apply with a rag.  I recommend trying different methods to see what works best for you. 

I prefer to apply wax with brushes; the process is very quick.  I really scrub my wax into the paint to make sure it provides a thorough seal.  The color of the paint immediately deepens as the wax goes on so you can see where you’ve applied it and then it will lighten back up to it’s intended color once the wax has dried and is buffed.

I also choose to apply my wax generously however, I do NOT waste the wax by wiping it back off with a rag.  I work in sections scrubbing the wax into the paint.  I let it set a few minutes then continue onto the next section.  When my brush has less wax on it, I go back over the first areas and use the brush to sweep any wax that didn’t soak in onto the next area…  Does that make sense?  I can shoot a quick video it that would help. 

Because it brushes on so easily, you’ll be amazed how much time you save.  I’m not kidding!  I used to dread waxing, especially when working with dark wax, but now I look forward to it.  I know that sounds totally geeky, but I’m serious.  This stuff is awesome!

American Paint Company’s Clear & Dark Wax

American Paint Company’s Wax is available in Clear Antiquing Wax and Dark Antiquing Wax, more simply referred to as Clear Wax and Dark Wax.  I have a very limited supply of Light Wax (which has been retired) and will hoard all of it unless somebody wants some.  We have it at our Shizzle Design Paint Studio if you’re interested.

American Paint Company’s Clear Wax is my number one go to for finishes!

American Paint Company's Clear Vintage Antiquing Wax Shizzle Design

It is used to seal and protect.  It’s super easy to apply using a rag or brush and creates the most incredible finish.  I love the feel of a waxed piece of furniture when it’s done right which is so easy to do with this brand (directions are on the cans).  Cathy and I also include our personal tips with each purchase in the store and at our Online Shizzle Shop.

Your finished piece will feel silky smooth.  It won’t be tacky or sticky or smeary.  Is that even a word?  American Paint Company’s Clear Wax doesn’t change the color of the paint but it will create amazing depth of color as soon as you combine it with our clay and chalk based mineral paint.  Can you see the variations in color?

Two twin beds painted by Shizzle Design in West Michigan American Paint Company's Coral Reef and Orange Grove chalk clay mineral paint 2

This is more noticeable on more deeply pigmented colors than it is on whites and pastels, but regardless, the finish is amazing.  It’s the combination of our paint and wax that creates this magical finish!

2013-08-27 17.11.25

If you’d like to give your freshly painted piece of furniture an antiqued look, you’ll love American Paint Company’s Dark Wax!

American Paint Company’s Dark Wax

American Paint Company's Dark Vintage Antiquing Wax Shizzle Design

I know it looks weird but American Paint Company’s Dark Wax is by far the best available dark wax on the market.  It’s not sticky or tacky.  It goes on easily and buffs up to beautiful finish.

Shizzle Design Painted Furniture Grand Rapids Michigan black teal chalk clay paints console table CeCe Caldwell's Beckley Coal American Paint Company's Dark Antiquing Wax 4

The other nice thing about American Paint Company’s Dark Wax is that it’s pre-mixed.  You won’t have to thoroughly cut and stir and mix and blend a bunch of chunky lumpy layers of wax before you can use it which can mess up your finish if it’s not completely blended because American Paint Company’s Dark Wax is ready to use when you buy it.  You can give it a quick stir if it ever needs it, but that’s all it will ever need.

It won’t leave you with a smeary mess that doesn’t cure right.  You apply it, give it a quick buff and you’re done!

This is the best way to pop those amazing details on furniture, cabinets, lamps and picture frames.

French Provencial dresser painted in gray, white, layered chalk, clay paints Shizzle Design furniture during chalk clay painted furniture ideas

Dark Wax will affect the color of your paint if applied directly over it creating a more dramatic antiquing.  I prefer using it directly over dark colors such as Lincoln’s Hat, Wild Horses, Cannonball, Freedom Road… but I also love it over deeply saturated colors such as Peacock, Firework’s Red, Waistcoat, Bordello…  

American Paint Company's Dark Vintage Antiquing Wax Shizzle Design


American Paint Company’s Dark Wax over Peacock


American Paint Company's Peacock hand painted antique buffet Shizzle Design 2018 Chicago Drive Jenison MI  49428 teal layers drawer

American Paint Company’s Dark Wax over a wash of Waistcoat

waistcoat dresser shizzle design women's expo devos place grand rapids mi

If you want an antiqued look but are worried about changing your paint color or getting it too dark, the easiest way, in my opinion, is to seal your piece with Clear Wax then come back over it with a chipper brush dipped very lightly  in the Dark Wax.

French Provencial dresser painted in gray, white, layered chalk, clay paints Shizzle Design furniture during chalk clay painted furniture ideas colors American Grit

Another thing you an do is mix a little Clear and Dark wax together.  Mess around with it a little on a spare piece of wood or in an inconspicuous area of what you’re painting to see which method is easiest for you.

How do I care for my waxed piece of furniture?  

I recommend caring for a hand painted and waxed piece in much the same way as you care for a fine piece of wood furniture.  You’ve either put a lot of time into refinishing the piece yourself or you’ve invested a lot of money into paying someone else to create a one of a kind piece of art, so you want to take care of it.

It it’s a coffee or end table, use coasters.  If it’s a dining room table, put the pads on it and cover with a tablecloth ~ just like your mother did with her solid wood dining room table.

For every day cleaning, it can be wiped off with a dry or slightly damp cloth.  You don’t want to saturate the cloth with water an wipe down every single day because the constant exposure to water can start breaking down the wax.  If you’ve doing something like a kitchen table that is going to be used and abused daily, seal the top with American Paint Company’s Top Coat instead of the wax.  Looks milky white in the bottle but dries clear.

American Paint Company's Topcoat bottle Shizzle Design

One of the cool things I like about having a waxed piece is the ease of buffing out any imperfections.  For instance, you can wipe off marks by putting a little bit of American Paint Company’s Clear Wax onto a cloth and simply rubbing the spot.  It works similar to one of those magic erasers, poof ~ it’s gone.  The biggest thing you want to avoid with a waxed piece is oil, that’s why for kitchen tables and kitchen cabinets, I don’t recommend using wax.  It can and has been done, but I wouldn’t do it in my kitchen because I’m a messy cook.

French Country Armoire Shizzle Design, ideas, gray, painated furniture, for sale, chalk, American Paint Company, Michigan funky finish doors 23

Did you know…

  • Shizzle Design is a small family owned business in Jenison, Michigan.  My sister Cathy and I work, paint, ship and teach our chalk and clay paint workshops out of the same space where we paint all our furniture.  We are truly humbled to be known as a leader in the world of chalk and clay paints.
  • Cathy and I empower DIY’ers by sharing our years of experience.  Stop in for paint and we’ll offer you honest and knowledgeable answers for all your chalk and clay paint needs.
  • Did you know we are not paid employees of American Paint Company?  It typically takes me 10 hours to publish one of my blog posts.  Everything from shooting the photographs, writing the content, editing, cropping… is given freely.  The only way we make money is if someone purchases paint, workshops or painted furniture from us.  If you enjoy the information you get in our website, please share and let us know.
  • We are so blessed to have taught people from all over the United States and Canada.  Join us for one of our super fun hands-on chalk and clay paint workshops.  Learn in our casual & relaxed environment.  Click Paint Workshops to see a list of current classes offered.
  • Subscribe to Shizzle Design for tips, tutorials, ideas, pictures, videos for our furniture painted in all natural chalk and clay based mineral paints.
  • Did you know that you can get these sent directly to your inbox and that it’s FREE?  It is ~ what are you waiting for?  Enter your email in the right hand column of our blog to stay in the loop.
  • We have a Shizzle Design Facebook Page.  We share all sorts tips, ideas, photos EVERY DAY and offer special deals (which you’ll only know about if you’ve Liked our Facebook Page).
  • Pin our posts on Pinterest ~ Find all sorts of inspiration here.
  • We sell our painted furniture in our Shizzle Design Paint Studio at 2018 Chicago Drive, Jenison, MI 49428 and at Not So Shabby Antiques and Fine Furniture at 2975 West Shore Drive in Holland, Michigan
  • Shizzle Design is an Authorized Retailer for American Paint Company Paints.  We offer a large inventory of chalk and clay paint and supplies at our Shizzle Design Paint Shop /Studio,  2018 Chicago Drive, Jenison, MI  49428.  We also stock several other shops in the greater Grand Rapid’s area, to find out where, click LOCATIONS.  Not from Michigan?  No worries, we ship paint and paint supplies worldwide through our Online Shizzle Shop.

Click here to see Shizzle Design Painted Furniture Makeovers


Click here to see our Shizzle Tips, How To Tutorials & Video’s


Click here to see Funky Finishes


Linking up to these GREAT Parties!

Domestically Speaking – The Power of Paint Party
The Shabby Creek Cottage – Transformation Thursday
Miss Mustardseed – Furniture Feature Friday
Redoux – Friday Link Up Party
Homespun Happenings – Rustic Restorations Weekend
Funky Junk Interiors – Saturday Night Special
Silver Pennies – Silver Pennies Sundays
Knick of Time Interiors – Knick of Time Tuesday

a hui hou ~ Shelly

16 Replies to “Great Tips for Waxing Painted Furniture”

  1. Sounds like you are doing great since you have decided to stick with the American Paint Company. I think you made a wise move. Thanks for the advise on the wax. I love the idea that it is natural and creamy and not hard. Good luck and am looking forward to your next blog. Love your ideas.
    Betty Whatley

  2. Great tips, Shelly! You’re right, so many wax cans have red markings to warn of the danger involved in using them. I don’t think people really pay attention to this and they should! Thanks for sharing this post and all the great tips on waxing, maintaining it and using dark wax!

  3. I bought a kitchen table an chairs that is painted. The paint does not seem to want to adhere. Can i sand it an coat it with poly or something else?

    1. Hi Dee ~ it depends on what it is. If it has wax on it, you’ll want to remove the wax. If it’s lacquer, you can simply scratch up the surface and paint over it.

  4. Hi, l just painted a small vanity with an oil semi-gloss enamel in a burgundy color to match a mirror. The mirror is antique looking. My question is can I use a dark wax on it. I like to darken the vanity and make it look old. What do you think? Love your furniture!! Katie

  5. I’m making bookshelves right now and I painted them a beautiful metallic silver color. It’s called Champion Spray Paint. It went on well, but my problem is that it keeps coming off!!! I’ve left it to dry for weeks and still if you handle it your fingers come away all silvery. If I spray a coat of clear gloss on it it immediately looses the shine and metallic quality and goes to dull steel gray.

    In your experience can you put clear wax paste over a metallic paint and have the sheen still come through? Or will it become dull and matte?

  6. This sounds like a wonderful way to apply the wax, love the brush idea. My problem is that I have a black painted table with a flat finish and would like to know which product I should use. I wouldn’t want to try something without knowledge of what could happen to paint. Do you have any suggestions?

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