Chalk-style paint is such an easy and fun way to transform old furniture into something that looks like an expensive designer piece. This decorative paint is popular with home crafters and professional interior designers alike.
Key Takeaways – The Best Wax Brands
There are three top brands. These brands are Krylon, Annie Sloan, and Behr. If you’re short on time I’ll just go ahead and recommend Annie Sloan, but the specific type listed below. If you want to know more about why instead of just knowing which is the best chalk paint wax, then make sure to read through the whole article.
Once you’ve taken the time and effort to paint a beautiful piece of furniture, you still need to protect the paint job. The best way to protect chalk paint is with a wax sealant. This finishing step is crucial to create a durable surface and prevent the paint from scratches and chipping.
I’d suggest using a high-quality chalk paint before using the wax. You can see which chalk paints are the best here.
What Is Chalk Paint Wax?
Chalk paint wax is a lightweight protective wax coating that gives a subtle sheen to your chalk-painted projects. Unlike a glossy sealant, which you absolutely don’t want to use with chalk paints, a wax sealer will give you a deep velvety finish.
One of the best features of a wax sealant is that it is completely non-toxic! Unlike using a lacquer or shellac finish on your painted furniture, you won’t need to apply chalk paint wax outdoors, and it’s safe for your children and pets to be around. There is virtually no odor, also.
Chalk paint waxes are usually clear, but they are also available in shades of dark brown, milky white, and even black.
The clear and white waxes are applied in layers directly to the painted surfaces. They won’t affect the color of your painted projects, except to deepen the color a little bit.
Darker waxes are applied over a layer of clear wax. They are applied over the cured wax surface, then mostly wiped off to create a patina or “antiqued” look.
If you don’t want to use a dark wax to create a patina, you can also add just a drop of two of a coordinating chalk paint to some wax, mix thoroughly, then use that as a sealant. You can achieve some fun looks with this technique. Try using a deep green tinted wax over a light blue painted surface, or a dark blue tinted wax over gray paint. The contrast will be subtle, but it brings out details beautifully!
You can layer chalk paint wax up to two or three thin layers to fully protect your project. If you’ve painted something that will be frequently touched, such as the top of a table, you want to use at least three layers to get a good seal and the best possible protection. This can be an exercise in patience, as each chalk paint wax layer needs to dry fully for 24-48 hours before you can add the next layer.
How Do You Use Chalk Paint Wax As A Top Coat?
Applying a wax finish to your chalk painted project takes a bit of patience, but the end result is well worth it! Before you apply the wax, make sure your painted piece is absolutely dry. Clean it with a lint free cloth to remove any fine bits of dust. You might want to remove any hardware such as drawer pulls or knobs.
You can use either a special “wax brush” or a soft, lint-free cloth to apply your wax. An old cut-up t-shirt is perfect for this. There are many brands of chalk paint wax sealant available, and they vary slightly in their consistency.
It’s a good idea to read through any instructions for the brand you purchase, but here are the basic techniques.
The key to getting a flawless wax finish on your painted project is to apply the wax in very thin coats. If you apply the wax too thick, you’ll get a dull finish with white streaky spots. “Less is more” is a good thing to keep in mind when applying each coat of wax!
Even if you plan to use a darker wax or tinted wax to provide a slightly contrasted patina, your first wax coat should always be done with clear wax.
Tips to Make Waxing Easier
Depending on the brand of chalk paint wax you use, it might be easier to have some of the wax on a paper plate instead of dipping your cloth or brush directly into the can of wax.
Dab the ends of your wax brush in the wax, or bunch up your cloth and rub it through the wax. Now you want to rub the wax onto your painted furniture.
You don’t have to use a circular motion, you can wipe the wax along the wood grain direction if you prefer. Just be sure it is applied evenly and thinly, using steady pressure.
Because you’re applying thin coats, this might take a little bit longer than the actual painting did.
The wax sealant will actually absorb into the pores of the chalk paint, just like when you apply moisturizer to your skin.
In fact, if you think of how you apply lotion while you’re applying your wax sealant, you’ll probably avoid using too much at a time.
Pay attention to corners and small areas and corners. You want to be sure to get the wax in there, but not too much that you’ll have globs of waxy buildup.
Next, take a clean lint-free cloth and gently wipe over the waxed areas to remove any excess. This step is so important! If you don’t wipe off the excess, you could end up with blotches or streaks on your painted project. Once that’s done, now you wait.
Let the wax dry/harden for at least 24 hours before applying the next coat.
How to Get a Darker Wax Coat
If you want to use a darker or tinted wax after your clear coat(s), the process is almost the same. For this process though, it’s easier to work in sections rather than waxing the entire painted piece of furniture at once.
You’ll want to brush or wipe the darker wax onto a section of your project following the direction of the wood grain.
Again, make sure you’re using a very thin coat of wax. Then, using a soft cloth, immediately wipe off the excess wax.
The results should be a slight darkening of most of your painted surface, with darker wax in the corners and in more intricate details. This final look can make your furniture appear to be a vintage heirloom or an eye-catching designer piece.
Once you’ve applied your final coat of wax, and it has dried for 24 hours, you can then buff it for a final bit of sheen.
This step isn’t necessary, but it does add a professional-looking finish. You’re not applying more wax with this step of the process.
Once you’re satisfied with the way your chalk paint project looks after a few coats of wax sealant, simply take a clean, soft cloth and buff it gently using a small circular motion. You won’t get a glossy finish (which you don’t want with chalk paint anyway), but it will give a soft satin glow to your completed project.
After buffing, you can go ahead and reattach any hardware, and then you can enjoy your newly transformed piece of furniture.
Although you only need to let the wax sealant dry for a day between coats, it actually takes three to four weeks for it to fully cure.
During that time, you can use your furniture, but be careful about putting anything heavy on tables or dresser tops until the curing process is complete.
Which Chalk Paint Wax Brand Is The Best?
There are nearly as many brands of chalk paint wax available as there are brands of chalk style paint. Most of them utilize the same basic techniques for application. Here are a few comparisons of some of the most popular brands.
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Wax
Annie Sloan is the original inventor of chalk paint, and her brand includes not only paints but a variety of wax sealants. This brand of chalk paint wax is easy to apply, with a consistency like soft butter. It has very little odor, and is water repellent. This wax sealant is sold in 120ml, 500ml, and 2.5 liter quantities. It’s nice that you can buy a smaller quantity so you don’t have to purchase more than you’ll use.
Annie Sloan chalk paint wax is available in clear, white, dark, and black finishes. She also has a selection of “Gilding Wax” that can be applied to give slight metallic accents to the corner or carved detailing on a piece of furniture.
Behr Premium Wax
Behr Premium wax is available in clear (for a satin finish), white (for a white-washed finish), and dark (for an antiqued finish).
This wax is a little bit harder/dryer than the Annie Sloan brand, and while the end results are lovely you do have to be extra careful about applying this wax too heavily.
Behr Premium Wax will dry very streaky if not applied in careful thin coats. It is only sold in 8-ounce cans, but a little bit of this wax goes a very long way. Bear Premium Wax is sold exclusively at Home Depot. If you’re not close to a Home Depot store, you can also order it from their website.
Krylon Chalky Finish Clear Sealing Wax
Krylon is a well-known paint brand that sells chalk paints in both cans and in spray paints. Their sealing wax is available in both clear, for an ultra-matte finish, and “dark” for a more antique/vintage appearance. It is sold in 16 ounce cans, and like all chalk paint wax sealants, a little bit of this product goes a long way.
The texture of the Krylon brand is a bit more “liquidy” than other brands. Some online reviews mention that unless you apply a very thin layer, this wax tends to dry with a slightly yellow finish. This might not be noticeable on some colors, but if you want your white or any pale neutral shade to remain true, you might want to be aware of possible yellowing.
How Much Is Chalk Paint Wax?
Different brands of chalk paint wax can vary in price, but not as much as different brands of chalk paint. Here is a comparison of the three brands described in this article:
Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Wax: a 120ml can costs $16.
Behr Premium Wax: an 8 ounce can costs $14.98
Krylon Chalky Finish Clear Sealing Wax: a 16 ounce can costs $24.98
As you can see, there is not a huge difference in the prices between each brand. Since it’s best to use very thin coats of wax to seal your chalk paint projects, one can is capable of covering a large piece of furniture
There are nearly as many brands of chalk paint wax as there are brands of chalk paint. There are only three compared in this article. Before buying any brand it’s a good idea to look at online reviews from every day crafters.
Of the three brands we’ve compared, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Wax comes out as a winner. It’s easy to use, is made from non-toxic ingredients, and has almost no odor.
The variety of colors offers so many possibilities to make your chalk paint projects into something extraordinary. Annie Sloan’s website also has useful instructions and videos on the best way to use her products.
Regardless of which brand you buy, using a wax finish will protect and preserve your chalk-painted projects for many years.