Wax For Chalk Paint: Is It The Right Choice For Your Furniture?

Are you looking to give your furniture a makeover with chalk paint? If so, then you may be wondering if wax is the right choice of topcoat for you. Wax has been used as a topcoat for chalk painted furniture for years, but it’s not always the best option.

In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons of using wax for chalk paint and look at some alternatives that may be better suited to your needs. We will also provide tips on how to get the best results when using either wax or an alternative topcoat. Also, get more tips and tricks about using chalk paint for furniture here.

different brands of wax for chalk paint stacked

Most chalk paint companies recommend using wax as a topcoat to seal the chalk paint, but it’s honestly not the best option.

Check out the best Topcoats for Painting Furniture to learn more.

Let’s go over the not so well known pros and cons of wax for chalk paint.

Pros and Cons of Wax for Chalk Paint

When it comes to using wax for chalk painted furniture, there are both advantages and disadvantages that you should consider before deciding if it is the right choice for your project.

Pros for Using Wax on Chalk Paint

Using wax for chalk painted furniture can be a great way to give your furniture an extra layer of protection and enhance the color.

close up of applying soft wax on chalk painted furniture with wax brush

Wax is also known for providing a beautiful shine that can really make your furniture stand out.

Here are some more advantages of using wax as a topcoat.

  • Wax enhances the color of the paint
  • Can use dark wax to create an antiqued, deeper looking finish
  • Wax provides a layer of protection for your furniture, protecting it from dirt and damage for years to come.
  • Wax seals the paint, helping it to last longer than without wax applied.
  • Wax also gives chalk paint a beautiful shine.

But, before you decide if wax is the right choice for your project, it’s important to also understand the cons of using wax on chalk paint.

Cons for Using Wax on Chalk Paint

Applying wax correctly can be difficult, as it requires skill and patience.

If not applied correctly, wax will leave streaks or spots on the paint.

Regular maintenance is required with wax because it can easily wear off over time. It also stays tacky for multiple days after application.

If you don’t like what it looks like, you’ll need to wait at least 30 days before applying anything to the wax.

If you don’t wait, it will not stick and you will need to use mineral spirits to remove it before trying again.

  • Applying wax for chalk paint correctly can be a difficult task, as it requires skill and patience to get just the right amount in each coat.
  • Wax is also prone to discoloring over time as natural light and air exposure take their toll on its appearance.
  • If not applied correctly, wax can leave streaks or spots in your paint job.
  • Regular maintenance is required with wax because it can easily wear off over time
  • Wax is not a durable topcoat to really protect your painted furniture
  • Wax stays tacky for multiple days after application
  • Before the wax has cured completely (after 30 days) nothing can be applied over it as it will repel paint and other topcoats. The wax will have to be removed with mineral spirits before you paint over it.
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Best Wax for Chalk Painted Furniture

There are so many different paint brands that offer wax to go with their chalk paint. But which ones are the best wax?

Let me tell you, they are not created evenly! Some are definitely better than others.

I look for soft waxes that are easy to apply, wax that doesn’t have an odor, and wax that doesn’t leave as many streaks behind.

Here’s my list of the best chalk paints for chalk painted furniture.

But if those cons far outweigh the benefits of wax for you, here are some alternatives that you can use instead of wax.

Alternatives to Wax

Polyurethane is a popular choice for painted furniture that needs extra protection from dirt and wear. (All furniture painted with chalk paint needs extra protection… trust me!)

can of varathane waterbased polyurethane

It is very durable and can be applied in multiple layers for added protection, making it a great option for any painted furniture surface.

You can choose between oil-based or water-based polyurethane, though waterbased polyurethane (also known as polycrylic) is usually the better choice for painted furniture because it dries clear instead of in yellow, amber color.

Learn more about the Best Polyurethane for Furniture here.

Check out my comparison between Wax VS Polyurethane to help you decide how to seal your chalk paint.

Shellac is another popular choice for antique and wooden furniture with a stained finish, but it is not recommended as a topcoat for chalk paint because it has an undesirable yellowish tint and is not as durable as waterbased polyurethane.

spray can of clear shellac

Tips for Getting the Best Results with Chalk Paint

Let’s take a tiny step back. Before using topcoat on chalk paint, you need to paint the chalk paint on right? You want to get that right first.

When using chalk paint on furniture, here are a few tips you should follow to ensure the best results.

  1. Make sure to thoroughly clean the surface that you plan to paint before you begin.
  2. Lightly scuff sand your furniture to help the paint stick.
  3. Apply a coat of clear shellac before painting the chalk paint. The clear shellac will prevent bleedthrough stains from coming through your paint, and it will help the chalk paint stick.
  4. Prepare your chalk paint by stirring it properly and make sure there aren’t any lumps.
  5. Apply thin layers of the chalk paint and let them dry completely in between coats.
  6. Once the last coat of chalk paint is dry, lightly sand it with a fine-grit sandpaper to give the piece an aged look.
  7. Topcoat the chalk painted furniture.

Learn more about how to chalk paint furniture here.

Here are some more important things you need to know about using chalk paint for furniture.

How to Wax Chalk Painted Furniture

applying wax on the side of chalk painted furniture

Now let’s move on to topcoating the chalk paint with wax. Here’s how to wax chalk painted furniture:

1. Make sure the chalk paint is completely dry before waxing (24 hours is best).

2. Using a natural bristle brush, apply a thin layer of your chosen wax in an up and down motion to ensure even coverage.

3. Let the wax sit for approximately 15-20 minutes or longer if needed to absorb into the paint surface, then buff off any excess with a soft cloth until you reach your desired sheen.

4. Let the wax dry for at least a few days before using your furniture. The wax will most likely still be tacky.

How to Apply Polycrylic to Chalk Painted Furniture

applying polycrylic by hand with a sponge

If you don’t want to use wax to topcoat your chalk painted furniture, good for you!!

Your paint job will last longer and look and feel better with a polycrylic (waterbased polyurethane) topcoat instead of a wax topcoat.

Here’s how to apply polycrylic to chalk painted furniture:

1. Make sure the painted furniture is clean, dry and free of any dust before applying polycrylic.

2. Apply a thin layer of polycrylic with a brush or roller in an even, long, even strokes for best results.

3. Allow the first coat to dry for at least 2 hours before applying additional coats (3 coats are recommended for best durability).

4. If the surface isn’t completely smooth, sand in between coats with 400 grit sandpaper and remove the dust with a tack cloth before applying the next coat.

5. Let the last coat dry at least 24 hours before using your furniture.

Learn more about How to Apply Polycrylic here.

When it comes to protecting chalk paint, you have two main options: wax or polyacrylic.

Wax is great for adding a unique and beautiful patina but isn’t as durable in the long run, whereas polycrylic provides a more protective coating without sacrificing aesthetics.

No matter which option you choose, be sure to clean and prep your surface properly before painting with chalk paint, apply thin coats of paint that are allowed to dry completely between layers, sand lightly for an aged look if desired, then topcoat with either wax or waterbased Polycrylic.

Here’s how to How to Clean Furniture Before Painting.

And here’s How to Prepare Furniture For Painting.

With these simple steps under your belt, you can create stunningly beautiful furniture pieces that will last for years!

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