In an effort to help others, I’ve decided to start answering frequently asked questions here. You’ll be able to find lots of valuable information, troubleshooting ideas, and helpful tips. I answer the questions as honestly as I can based on my knowledge of our products, although this in no way should be taken as a representation of any other person or company. If you can’t find an answer to a question you have, get in touch! I’d love to help you with your project!
I see a white haze on dark colors after I wet distress. How do I get rid of that?
The white haze you’re seeing is from chalk residue. You can sometimes get a halo effect around areas that are wet distressed depending on how often you rinse out your rag and how much of the rag is touching adjacent areas while you distress. To eliminate this in the future, it’s best to rinse your rag often and the biggest thing is, once you’re finished with the entire piece, take a clean rag and very gently wipe down in the direction of the grain on each section to blend it all in. Let dry. If you still see any white haze, rinse out and gently wipe again until you’ve wiped it all away. If you wax over it, it will be locked in and visible.
My best recommendation since you’ve already sealed it in with wax is to knock down the wax with a little Denatured Alcohol and repaint. It really varies from person to person. I’m very light handed when I paint and when I distress so I never ran into this until I started teaching classes. That’s when one of my students brought it to my attention with a red piece she was working on. For her, it was that she was making random circles in areas which resulted in a halo ring. If you’re doing something like that when you distress, the best advice I can give is to use more random criss-cross strokes with your rag and wipe down when everything is finished to blend.
Which do I apply first, wax or satin sealer?
Firstly, I can’t emphasize how important using the right brush is to getting an awesome finish. For applying wax, I use two different brushes, a 1-1/2″ round wax brush and for detailed areas and corners, I use a hand cut chipper brush. If your brushes are straight out of the hardware store, I recommend cutting the length of the bristle in half. That will give you the right firmness. Straight of out the box, they’re way too flimsy. We have a special cutting tool here and offer the brushes hand cut and ready to go if that’s not your thing.
But Wax ALWAYS should be the last step. Applying any type of clear coat over wax will set you up for a disaster. It will start flaking and peeling; if not immediately, eventually.
Liquid clear top coat vs. wax? Which do you prefer?
I used to dread waxing when I used to use many other brands of wax. There were times I was ready to drop from pure exhaustion and anxiety. I seemed to ruin each piece every time I put dark wax on it then would spend days on end trying to remove, thin out, spread out or even out the streaks or splotches of dark wax. I tried so many different recommendations from stockists but no matter what I tried, it never seemed to cure properly. It just kept smearing, and then there’s the horrible smell/chemicals.
Anyway, American Paint Company’s wax is ENTIRELY different! Waxing has now become my favorite part of the renovation. Seriously, I love this wax! I can get so much more superior of a finish using it than I could before. It feels great, leaves a beautiful finish and is all natural to boot!
APC is the only company whose dark wax is just as easy to use as the clear. You don’t have to cut it with anything prior to applying it and if you’re applying it over a vibrant color or dark color, you can apply it directly over the raw paint (test it on something else first, to make sure you like the color change, let dry and buff too). My favorite combination for dresser tops lately is mixing a Wild Horses with either Freedom Road, Cannonball or Lincoln’s Hat and then applying the dark wax directly over that. It’s such a rich combination.
I still recommend doing a test on something else before applying it all over the actual painted piece of furniture to make sure it’s the color you want. On whites and pastels, I still recommend applying a coat of clear wax first. This allows more control so you’ll be able to wipe back some of the dark if you’ve applied too much.
APC does have a great topcoat which you can use instead of the wax but my personal preference is wax for most pieces. I just think it gives a piece more of a hand rubbed look and feel and in my opinion; it seems more custom than a topcoat which resembles more of a polyurethane (though Topcoat will not yellow like urethane’s do when you apply them over paint). That’s just me, there are tons of people who are much more comfortable and prefer the Topcoat. It’s really a personal preference but the type of use also makes a difference.
Something that’s going to get a lot of wipe downs such as a kitchen table or cabinets is better coated in topcoat because the water will start breaking the wax down over time. If you treat your freshly painted piece similar to how you would a fine piece of wood furniture, coasters for example, and don’t let sweaty glasses sit on it or don’t drag sharp objects across it… then you’re fine with wax. Sometimes I think people are looking for a product that will perform like a marble counter for durability but in the end, it’s still a painted surface which needs to be handled with care.
How can I get rid of brushstrokes?
You should be able smooth any brushstrokes out with sand paper.
Can I paint over wax?
Yes, you can paint over wax with our paint. It’s best to cut the wax with a little Denatured Alcohol (you can pick that up at your local Home Depot, Lowes, or your local hardware store. It will be in the paint department near the mineral spirits). Once you’ve done that, apply a coat of clear shellac, let dry (it dries fast) and then paint away.
I paint over wax without the extra steps if I’m changing the side of something but I probably shouldn’t advise that. I’m very light handed with how I layer paint and wax but everyone is different with their application which can yield different results. I recommend the Denatured Alcohol and shellac to be on the safe side, especially on something that’s going to take a lot of abuse like a table or the top of any other piece.