Annie Sloan Clear Waxing Tips & Tricks

A few weeks ago I shared my top 10 chalk painting tips. To follow that up today I am sharing my tips and tricks for using Annie Sloan clear wax. Annie Sloan also carries dark wax, but I personally love the clear because it’s super easy to use once you get the hang of it. Plus clear wax works to intensify the color of your piece while sealing and protecting it. Keep in mind I’m not an expert in this area, but I’ve used it a few years now and this is the technique I was taught from our local store. Let’s get started!

How to Use Annie Sloan Clear Wax Tips & Tricks

So to get started I thought it would be helpful to share a basic step-by-step process of how you actually use the clear wax, in case you are brand new to the process.

Waxing Basics

First, invest in a good wax brush.  I have the basic flap top brush from Annie Sloan. Yes, it’s an investment and much more expensive than your average brush. BUT mine has lasted me about 2 years and it’s still in great shape.

Use a spoon or knife to scrape out a small portion of wax onto a plate or bowl. It’s best to avoid dipping your brush directly into the wax container, just to keep your wax fresh and clean. Using a plate is ideal because this allows you to spread the wax out evenly so you get an even application on your brush. Don’t get too much on your brush!

Waxing is unlike painting–think of it more like a polish. So you don’t want to apply wax like you would paint. Instead, think of it as pressing the wax in and focus on working the wax into your piece in circular motions.

How to Use Annie Sloan Clear Wax plus tips and tricks

How to Use Annie Sloan Clear Wax plus Tips and Tricks

How to Use Annie Sloan Clear Wax

Annie Sloan Clear Wax Tips and Tricks

Tips & Tricks to Use Annie Sloan Clear Wax

  1. Work in small areas, moving from one section of the furniture to another systematically. I generally try to section my piece off and finish one area before moving onto the next.
  2. Once you have buffed the wax into a small section, take a clean, soft cloth and rub off the excess wax. (I use an old white t-shirt). Also think of this process as further pressing the wax into the wood.
  3. After the wax dries completely you can go in with another layer and repeat the process again.
  4. Hot water and dish soap work fine to clean your brush. But if you really want to keep your brush in good condition I recommend using Scrubby Essentials soap. Just lather it up and rub your brush directly on the bar. This one is lavender and it smells amazing!
  5. If you cannot justify the price of a wax brush, you can use a soft rag to apply the wax. Just make sure you use a separate rag to wipe off the excess.
  6. After you have wiped off the wax, you can go back in and actually buff in the wax. This will create a more shiny appearance. This can also help avoid the blotchy look that sometimes happens if you have applied the wax unevenly.
  7. Apply the wax in thin coats. Do not put lots of wax on your brush at once, this will only end up in wasted product when it comes time to wipe it down. If you use too much wax it will end up sitting on your piece and never really absorb in–it’s just like lotion on your skin. Too much and you’re left with a greasy mess.
  8. When you first put the brush loaded with wax on your piece, start in a flat area. If you start in a spot with any texture/curves the wax will just load up in that area and you’ll end up with lots of wax stuck in a tiny little spot. Make sense?
  9. When you are done waxing, the surface should not be tacky–it should be very smooth and almost soft. I’ve made the mistake of leaving the surface with a tacky feeling and it wasn’t good.
  10. I suggest using 2-3 coats of wax if you’re working on the top of a table or bathroom vanity. If your piece looks blotchy, try going in again with a second thin layer to even it out (just make sure it dries completely first).

That’s all I have! Again, I’m no expert, but this is the technique I use and it’s worked well for me. Once you get the hang of it, using clear wax is super easy and quick. Let me know if you have any questions and happy waxing!

Also be sure to check a few of my other chalk painting posts here:

My Top 10 Chalk Painting Tips & Tricks

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint vs Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint

Chalk Paint Dining Table Makeover

Leave a Comment

29 Comments

  1. Amber wrote:

    Thanks for the tips! Good idea to take wax out on a separate plate. Wouldn’t have thought of that. – I just chalk painted a buffet about a month ago and just noticed some blotchy spots even though I waxed it. Now I know I need to go over it again and rub the wax in a little better. Yes, those brushes are quite an investment. I might get one someday after seeing yours and knowing they last if you take care of them.

    Posted 3.9.16 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Yes, definitely try to give it another thin coat and see if that helps. Or try to buff it in a little more. Thanks so much for reading Amber!

      Posted 3.9.16 Reply
  2. Katy wrote:

    I’m planning on painting my kitchen cabinets with chalk paint. I’m kinda nervous, but looking at tutorials and think if I take my time it will go well. Any advice on kitchen cabinets?

    Posted 3.9.16 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      I have never done kitchen cabinets, but from what I hear the process is exactly the same. Go for it! Chalk paint makes everything so much easier. I am actually planning to paint the vanity in our powder bathroom, so I will be sure to do a post about that if I notice any differences. Thanks for reading!

      Posted 3.9.16 Reply
    • Dorothy wrote:

      To prevent water damage from your work what would you do

      Posted 5.10.19 Reply
  3. Dyan wrote:

    Why would you even use wax? Do you use it instead of a shellac finish?

    Posted 3.9.16 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Great question! You would want to use the wax to follow up any chalk painting project. Left alone, chalk paint scratches easily and also chips easily–in my experience. The wax seals it and protects it to prevent that from happening. Plus chalk paint is dry, so the wax gives it a smoother appearance. Thanks for reading!

      Posted 3.9.16 Reply
  4. I’m grateful you decided to be sharing this. Feeling enlightened!

    Posted 4.6.16 Reply
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    Posted 5.7.16 Reply
  6. Kind of you to share!

    Mind if I translated a small portion of this post on my German blog? I’d definitely give you all due credit for it.

    Posted 5.19.16 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      of course Lanelle!

      Posted 5.19.16 Reply
      • Karen Scheetz wrote:

        When applying more than one coat of wax you don’t buff in between each one? Do you just use a tshirt to buff? Wish there was an easier way! Thank you. Karen

        Posted 6.29.17 Reply
        • Sarah wrote:

          Hi Karen, I have never buffed in between each coat of wax. Since you have to really buff it in when you apply the wax, I never thought it was necessary actually.

          Posted 6.29.17 Reply
          • Karen Scheetz wrote:

            When applying more than one coat of wax you don’t buff in between each one? Do you just use a tshirt to buff? Wish there was an easier way! Thank you. Karen

            Thank you. So you must really buff when applying the wax?

            Posted 6.30.17
  7. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.
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    Posted 6.13.16 Reply
  8. L Cutrone wrote:

    HELP! I chalk painting a farmhouse table white. Then I used a dark brown wax to give it some depth. Legs and girdle perfect. Then the top. Not so great! I used a clear wax to take some of the darkness off the top and now it is just blotchy and I don’t like it! What can I do???

    Posted 1.7.17 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Oh no! That’s no good. My suggestions would be to sand down the top and start completely over. Once you get that layer of wax off you should be able to repaint (if necessary) and start again. If you want to try again with the dark wax I’d suggest mixing a tiny bit of it with clear wax. You can always darken it up a bit as you go if you want to, but that’s a good place to start. And it should be easier to blend.

      Posted 1.7.17 Reply
  9. Lauren wrote:

    I just chalk painted a buffet and the wax left it feeling a little sticky. How do I fix that?

    Posted 7.19.17 Reply
  10. Deborah wrote:

    Can I use the wax stained finish, not chalk

    Posted 9.5.17 Reply
  11. Darcia Cowart wrote:

    I’ve just read through all of your articles. thank you so much for sharing all your helpful tips and tricks! Excellent articles.
    We are staging a home to sell. Since we will be moving to a coastal town and buying a Low Country Home I thought that chalk painting the furniture to update our look would be an economic fix and a wonderful way to be creative with a flair.
    I’m redoing a bed in the dark blue. Actually mixing the blue with the slate to darken it Navy. I picked up a picture frame at Michael’s with a rack in the center to hang pictures.
    I picked up a red cabinet and a black PB desk. So the desk and the picture frame will be done in the navy. Ill do the top of the desk with the navy and the legs with Louis Blue. (We shiplapped the wall behind the bed and its sooo stunning. Adding bar doors next and plan to use the chalk paint over a dark stained wood.)
    So I have a LOT of items to paint and wax. So I see that you have tried alternative chalk paints. Have you tried the alternative waxes, such as the home made bees wax ? It would be really helpful with as much surface space as I have to seal.
    Also, have you found a way to mix maybe the small sample Annie Sloan chalk paint with the can of Rustoleum chalk paint to create additional colors? The bed is huge so, saving on the chalk paint would be helpful.

    Posted 9.18.17 Reply
  12. Tara Torres wrote:

    Thanks for all the great tips!! Do you have any other clear and dark wax brands that you would recommend besides annie Sloan?

    Posted 12.3.17 Reply
  13. Christina wrote:

    My husband used wax to seal the chalk paint on a desk he finished. After 2 days the desk started to turn yellow in many areas. What happened? Is this fixable?

    Posted 2.21.18 Reply
  14. Shirley wrote:

    I painted my small accent table a week ago and the top is still tacky all the rest is fine. I used clear wax. It actually has smear marks on top like I can draw on it it’s so smeared!!! Help !!!!! Thought I put to much wax and redid it, no luck.

    Posted 9.24.18 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Hmm that’s weird! I’d try buffing it out with something like an old tee-shirt. Really rub it in and buff off the excess. Hopefully that helps!

      Posted 9.24.18 Reply
  15. Noreen wrote:

    My cupboard doors still feel tacky:( I used 2 coats clear Annie Sloan and 1 coat dark antique Annie Sloan over my chalk paint.im not sure how to fix it or what the long term effects would be if I left it like this?

    Posted 4.3.19 Reply
    • Sarah wrote:

      Let it cure for at least a week, that will probably help!

      Posted 4.3.19 Reply
  16. Jo wrote:

    I did the top of my coffee table and then waxed it. It’s very dull and spotty. Can I paint after I have waxed again?
    Should I put a top coat of some sort on it? Very informative I appreciate your help. Thank you

    Posted 6.8.19 Reply

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