I’m often asked about how I get that beautiful patina on my finished pieces. So, I’m going to teach you my process to a beautiful patina that will set your finished projects heads above anyone else’s. It’s all in the method you use for waxing and buffing, which are the two most misunderstood steps when using Chalk Paint®.
Annie Sloan Soft Waxes are not your hardware store waxes. They are soft (think Crisco) and were developed by Annie to be absorbed by her paint. They will give your projects all the protection most will ever need. Just remember that it takes a few weeks for both the paint and wax to fully cure and harden.
STEP ONE – APPLY CLEAR WAX*
After you have painted and let dry (one or two coats – I personally almost always use two coats), apply the Clear Soft Wax using either a soft cloth or, my favorite, the Ultimate Wax Brush. You should be gently “pushing” the wax into the paint, making sure to cover the entire surface with Soft Clear Wax. I love to use the Ultimate Wax Brush (pictured above) for this because it gets into every nook and cranny and you don’t waste the wax – only the ends of the brush should have wax on it. (I always feel as though I am putting too much wax on the surface when I use a cloth.) The Wax Brush will last forever if cleaned after each use – I couldn’t wax without it!
STEP TWO – WIPE OFF EXCESS WAX
Next, take a clean soft cloth and wipe off any excess wax, using gentle pressure to push the wax into the paint. You want the paint to absorb the wax, like putting on hand lotion. You should not have a thick layer of wax on the surface after this step. And, make sure to do this step before the wax dries. This means that you will most likely be waxing in sections. Remember that you are not buffing at this stage.
STEP THREE – APPLY DARK WAX*
If you are using the Soft Dark Wax, now is the time to apply it. You will want to apply the Dark Wax while the Clear Wax is still moist. This helps you control the amount of Dark Wax that goes onto the piece. If you put too much Dark Wax on, you can remove excess Dark Wax by gently rubbing it off. Never put Dark Wax directly onto your pieces before applying Clear Wax – it will be absorbed into the paint and turn your project completely brown! I use the small Ultimate Wax Brush for this step if I am only applying Dark Wax in crevices and the Wax Brush if I am applying wax all over the piece. Again, you can use a soft cloth to apply the Soft Wax, I just prefer the brushes. Apply the Dark Wax to areas that would naturally have seen aging or the entire piece, it’s up to you.
Note: Make sure to have separate brushes for both Clear and Dark Waxes. If you are finding the Dark Wax difficult to apply, a trick that I often use is to thin the Dark Wax with a little no-odor mineral spirits to make a glaze. I find that this makes the Dark Wax application a bit easier.
*This applies to Chalk Paint® Black Wax too. If using Chalk Paint® White Wax, no need to apply Clear Wax first.
STEP FOUR – BUFF & POLISH
After letting the wax dry (you are actually waiting for the solvents to evaporate), I use my secret weapon – the Sanding/Buffing Sponge. Buffing the wax into the paint with a very, very fine (600 – 800 or 800 – 1000 grit) sandpaper will make all the difference in how your piece will look and feel. (This is a very high grit that I sell at my shop). I also use a clean lint free soft cloth to polish as I buff. And if necessary, I will rub a bit more wax into the surface with the cloth I used to wipe off the excess wax. You will get the feel of this process quickly.
Note: If you buff too soon, you are actually stripping the wax from the surface and this is why you may see shiny and dull areas. It may take just a few minutes or a few hours, just be sure it is dry to the touch. I don’t like to wait overnight as I think it is harder to buff the longer I wait.
For most projects use either one coat of Clear Soft Wax or if you wish to have more of an antiqued look use one coat of Clear Soft Wax followed by one coat of Dark Soft Wax.
Your finished product should feel silky smooth and will have a patina that will be the envy of everyone and will set your work above all the rest. I have tried all the methods and find this to be the best.
REMEMBER TO: WAX ON, WAX OFF, BUFF!
Video on Using Soft Clear Wax – To see my video of how to apply Soft Clear Wax, click the photo below.
If you would like to learn more, please join me in one of my Chalk Paint® Workshops where you will receive hands-on training to achieve this.