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

Welcome!! I’m Sarah-- mama to three kiddos + wife to my high school sweetheart. I'm usually over-caffeinated, browsing Amazon + running on lots of grace. Grab a snack + get comfy!

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  1. 3.9.16
    Amber said:

    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.

    • 3.9.16
      Sarah said:

      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!

  2. 3.9.16
    Katy said:

    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?

    • 3.9.16
      Sarah said:

      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!

    • 5.10.19
      Dorothy said:

      To prevent water damage from your work what would you do

  3. 3.9.16
    Dyan said:

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

    • 3.9.16
      Sarah said:

      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!

  4. 4.6.16

    I’m grateful you decided to be sharing this. Feeling enlightened!

  5. 5.7.16

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  6. 5.19.16

    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.

    • 5.19.16
      Sarah said:

      of course Lanelle!

      • 6.29.17
        Karen Scheetz said:

        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

        • 6.29.17
          Sarah said:

          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.

          • 6.30.17
            Karen Scheetz said:

            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?

  7. 6.13.16

    This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.
    I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post.
    Also, I have shared your site in my social networks!

  8. 1.7.17
    L Cutrone said:

    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???

    • 1.7.17
      Sarah said:

      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.

  9. 7.19.17
    Lauren said:

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

  10. 9.5.17
    Deborah said:

    Can I use the wax stained finish, not chalk

  11. 9.18.17
    Darcia Cowart said:

    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.

  12. 12.3.17
    Tara Torres said:

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

  13. 2.21.18
    Christina said:

    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?

  14. 9.24.18
    Shirley said:

    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.

    • 9.24.18
      Sarah said:

      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!

  15. 4.3.19
    Noreen said:

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

    • 4.3.19
      Sarah said:

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

  16. 6.8.19
    Jo said:

    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

  17. 7.28.19
    Sharon Wymer said:

    Hi Ive applied AS clear wax and 24 hrs later there are several areas with was streaks. Should I sand those areas, then repaint then wax again? Applying the wax is not easy. I found it impossible to see the wax going on, so just went through the motions of applying it and hoped it would absorb in, but it hasn’t in some areas and I’m disappointed.

  18. 5.4.20
    Rochelle said:

    Hi so I’ve used GraceMary chalk paint to paint my melamine wardrobes, 3ccoats in french gray and they came up amazing. I used a roller. Now I am applying Annie Sloan clear wax with a brush from a paper plate and I have applied one thin coat 2 hours ago and it looks terribly blotchy. I dont understand

  19. 5.7.20
    Suzanne said:

    How long does it take the wax to dry between coats?

  20. 8.27.20
    Claire said:

    Hi Sarah, I used Rust-Oleum clear finishing wax and it left a white residue all over my cabinet. Is this due to using to much wax ? Or is this a case of bad quality wax?

    Any idea how I can fix it? I’ve spent such a long time blending the piece, I would hate to have to start all over. 🙈

  21. 10.12.20
    Sandra said:

    Do you need a clear coat on top of wax to prevent dings in table

  22. 10.20.20
    Desiree Marcus said:

    I just used the AS clear wax for the first time on dining chairs. Although I thought I was being careful, I guess I used too much so after 3 days, the chairs feel tacky. Is there any way to fix this??

  23. 11.4.20
    Amy Hand said:

    My dark wax has dried out in the container can I still use it ? Will mineral spirits fix it

  24. 12.11.20
    Pauline said:

    I love the information

  25. 1.4.21
    Mary Kasnowicz said:

    I have painted my kitchen cabinets but did not use chalk paint. Can I still use your wax to preserve or aid in grease marks? Thank you

  26. 4.2.21
    Connie said:

    Thank you so much for the step by step instructions!! And how to clean that expensive brush. I’ll read your other posts. 👍🏻😊

  27. 5.31.21
    Donna Hickox said:

    I have a milky white finish. I think I put to much wax? How do I correct it. I don’t want to sand and do over because I have transfers on dresser. My 1st piece I’ve done

  28. 9.30.22
    S Regil said:

    Hi Sarah,
    Question…between wax layers, I know before applying the next layer it needs to dry. Is the drying time a few hours or more before the next wax coat is applied?

    Thank you! Shannon

  29. 10.17.23
    Marcy said:

    How long does it take for the wax to dry/cure?

  30. 1.9.24
    Laurie said:

    The wax is streaking and I can’t seem to fix it. I put it on and wiped it off. Put it on again thinking I missed spots. Still streaks. I used a mf cloth that was slightly damp and that helped somewhat. I put a third coat on and am letting it sit overnight bf wiping. Looks streaky. Any suggestions? It’s a white coffee table that I am working with.

  31. 2.2.24
    Sylvie Bernier said:

    Very good suggestion to put a portion of wax on a plate in order to keep the wax clean!
    Question: Once my kitchen cupboards have had 2 coats of wax should I worry about re-waxing once a year or just gently clean and rub?

  32. 4.7.24
    Ruth said:

    I did not sand before painting. After using paint with Sloan paint. Transfer pain well to the dresser and dried. Day after apply clear wax but color transferred to brush and white cloth. What did I do wrong.