how to wax furniture, part 2

Oh, it’s Friday, peeps!!!  I’ve had a fun-filled week of painting pieces & getting my Spring craft on.  I had to take advantage of all that painting & pop in for a quick tutorial.

Most of the questions I receive in my inbox are related to painting & sealing furniture.  Since the chalk paint craze began, most of the questions revolve around how to wax furniture.

Kinda like when Nate Berkus asked me if I was a waxer.


perfectly imperfect | how to wax furniture


In all seriousness, I thought it was time to do another quick demo, and to address some of the most common troubleshooting questions.


There are different times to use different sealants, but here’s the thing:  if we apply them in the right way, give the finish time to cure, and realize we’re dealing with hand-painted furniture, we’ll be happy with whichever finish we choose.

The trunk you see in this video (waxed with Annie Sloan Soft Wax in Clear) is totally smooth now, and the wax is curing as we speak…after 1 day, I was able to run my hand over it without any tackiness.

What I will tell you is I love furniture wax (Annie Sloan & Minwax Paste Finishing Wax are my faves)…and you can get a shiny finish using it by buffing when your piece is ready.


I’ll do a quick video to show you how I buff it when it’s ready…feel free to ask any questions in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer any I can!

***P.S.  If you liked this video, you’ll probably like this post that has 2 of my most viewed chalk paint/wax tutorials.

how to paint furniture ebook at perfectly imperfect

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75 Responses to how to wax furniture, part 2

  1. Christina March 16, 2012 at 7:31 am #

    Now I am inspired to take a leap and paint the dresser in my daughter’s room. Soonish.
    Any tips on where to get the chalk paint? I may have missed that post.

    • perfectlyimperfect March 16, 2012 at 7:42 am #

      Hey Christina! Awesome! Head to to find a stockist for your location….and you can read the other chalk paint post for some faq’s. Thanks so much for reading! :-)

  2. Dawn March 16, 2012 at 7:37 am #

    Thanks so much for this video. I have watched your first one and really learned a lot and have been having a lot of success with waxing but I recently did a large buffet and the top I think I over waxed. It isn’t as nice as other furniture I have done. I think it was such a big space that I got carried away. I also don’t have one of those wonderful brushes, but living here in Canada we only have two places that even carry Annie Sloan products. One is about 4000 kilometers away but luckily the other is about 200 kilometers and on the way to my daughters house. I think I will get a brush before I attempt another large piece of furniture. I look forward to the buffing video.

    • perfectlyimperfect March 16, 2012 at 7:55 am #

      Hey Dawn!
      I hope that video will help, too! How does the finish feel now? It it tacky or pretty smooth? You might be able to buff it out, if it’s not too thick or still tacky. If not, you can always remove the wax with mineral spirits, and it shouldn’t ruin the chalk paint. You can also paint directly over the wax, and start back over. Hope that helps! :-)

      • Dawn March 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

        Thanks for the suggestions, I decided to just buff it like crazy and that seems to be doing the trick. It is not tacky any more and is nice and smooth with just enough shine. I also appreciate the input on outlets in my area that sell Annie Sloan paint, one of them is closer to me than the one I had traveled to so I am a happy person right now.

    • Melissa Riche March 18, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

      Hi Dawn – the list of stockists in Canada is growing all the time. Check back in with on a regular basis to find if there’s anyone closer. There are six in Canada, and that could double in a month… I realize Canada is a big place, but you can get one of the retailers to ship to you too. The map is being updated regularly.
      Melissa Riche, PR for Annie Sloan North America

  3. Joanna March 16, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    Such a helpful video! Thank you! But I have to tell you, I am aching to try Annie Sloan paint, but I am in Huntsville Alabama and don’t have a clue where to get it!! Any ideas?!

    • perfectlyimperfect March 16, 2012 at 8:23 am #

      Thanks, Joanna! I’m not sure which stockist–try going to to find the right stockist, and if you have trouble, let me know and I’ll ask Patty. :-)

    • Laura S. November 1, 2012 at 8:07 am #

      Hi Joanna, I’m just outside of Hsv and had checked out Annie Sloan’s website myself and here is the nearest retailer that she has listed on her site for hereabouts:
      Vintage West
      1889 US Highway 278 West
      Cullman, AL 35057
      Phone; 256 339 1334
      Hours; Tues – Fri 11am – 6pm or by appointment.
      From Sept 1st, 2nd & 4th Sat of each month
      Teresa Daniel;

  4. Deb Owen March 16, 2012 at 8:20 am #

    Great Video tips! Have you used the Annie Sloan wax over anything other than chalk paint such as stained woods, milk paints, or other water based latex type paints? Thanks! Have a great weekend!

    • perfectlyimperfect March 16, 2012 at 8:22 am #

      I have, Deb! It’s worked great on everything I’ve tried it on–latex, raw wood, stained wood. :-)

      • shanda August 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

        Yea! I have been looking for the answer to this very question for an HOUR. I just bought some clear wax today but I have put myself on a self-imposed ban from buying anymore paint because I am busting at the seams (OK, well… I couldn’t resist the sample pot of Florence nor could I resist the $1 sample of some adorable pink paint at Lowe’s). I still love all my low-VOC latex paint, and I don’t do a lot of distressing, so I want to continue to use my latex but also a protective wax I could use indoors. Thanks!

  5. Katy March 16, 2012 at 8:47 am #

    Thank you for this timely video! How did you know I just finished the second coat of Paris gray on my dresser? Great timing!

    I think the waxing part has always intimidated me. I believe it’s because I don’t have the brush you do. I am planning to get it this week. Is it okay to wait a week or so between painting and waxing? Thank you Shaunna!

  6. Gina March 16, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    Wow…I think I need a brush. =/ The video was very helpful! I have only waxed one piece but like you said, it can be a workout! The buffing is what wore me out. =P Thanks! :)

  7. NatureGirl March 16, 2012 at 8:58 am #

    That was SO helpful!!! Thank you….

  8. Lana hardwick March 16, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    Loved the video! I have painted a lot of furniture with chalk paint but never invested in a wax brush, I think I was scared of You have inspired me to get one..I see now why my furniture has a “waxy” buildup..I am heading to Pelham (to faux studio designs) today to pick up more paint, so I will also purchase a wax brush also…Thanks for showing me that I really need a wax brush…

  9. Jennie Fawbush March 16, 2012 at 10:10 am #

    Like the Karate Kid: “Wax on, wax off!”

    Thanks for these helpful tutorials!

  10. Anneke {RustiChic} March 16, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Thanks for these great tips! I’m getting ready to wax a large hutch and not really looking forward to it! lol BUT, I’ve taken the shortcut of using Polycrylic on ASCP and it’s just not as nice as the wax! It is worth all that work!

  11. Laura Ingalls Gunn March 16, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    Great tips! I have spent the last few days scanning the Annie Sloan website on “How to wax” and googling
    “How to buff” and was coming up empty handed.

    Thank you so much. I will be looking forward to your next video.

  12. Aimee Jongejan March 16, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Do you know if minwax is similar to the ASCP wax?

  13. jessica@fourgenerationsoneroof March 16, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    I’ll be heading back later when I have more time to watch the video but you always have the best ASCP stuff, videos ect. Just love it! I used the dark wax on the reclaimed piece of lumber on the media console we made and oh my goodness, it was awesome!

  14. Karen March 16, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    I am about to tackle an antique sideboard with asp and have both clear and dark waxes. My first project…a bit nervous! A couple questions…it already is painted (baby blue). I don’t want that color to show when I distress & antique it. (I’m painting it duck egg) should I base coat another color…or when I sand do I just need to use stronger grit so it go clear to the wood? 2nd question….I was a bit confused on the waxing of both clear & dark. It looked like you had to put the dark wax on right away before the clear dried….almost simultaneously. I only have one wax brush. Can you do all the clear first & then do the dark….so you can wash your brush and use the same brush (I don’t have a local store!) Thanks so much! Post was so helpful!

    • perfectlyimperfect March 16, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

      Hey Karen! You should be fine on edges, but you might have to sand a little harder on the smooth surfaces. In this video, I’m only using clear wax…sorry if that was unclear. I would wait about 24 hours to apply the dark wax, so it doesn’t stain your paint. You might be able to apply it sooner that this, but to be sure, that’s a safe time frame. I think Annie suggests using separate brushes…sometimes I’ll use the same, though, washing thoroughly in between uses. Hope that helps! :-)

      • Karen March 16, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

        Thank you so much! I obviously misinterpreted on the waxing…glad I asked! So glad I saw this video before tackling this…I’ve been worried about it turning out (although it currently has an awful paint job on it…so can’t really “ruin it” it)!

  15. Kara March 16, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    Shaunna you totally read my mind!!! I was just googling this last night and there is not a whole lot of info out there. Thanks so much, I can’t wait to try chalk paint!

  16. Dorothy March 16, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    This is a big help-thanks, Shaunna. But I’d watch it if only for your cute little accent!

  17. Kim March 16, 2012 at 6:53 pm #

    The video was just what i needed….thank you. If this isbpart 2, where do I find part 1?
    I have just started painting some of my own furniture with ASCP and I love it. However my first project (bar stools) waxing is not as smooth as I think it should be. It’s not tacky but when you rub your hand across it I get this ever so slight resistance. Any idea what may be going on?

  18. TamiK March 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    Thanks so much for your video’s I learn so much from you !!!!

  19. Lisa March 16, 2012 at 8:55 pm #

    Perfect timing for this video! I just finished staining a piece for my son’s room and now need to wax…first time. Great tutorial and learned a lot. BTW – I just adore your accent and LOVE your blog :)

  20. Blair March 16, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    Thank you! Thank you! I have been looking everywhere online for a video like this. I viewed your earlier one on dark waxing, but needed the extra tutorial on putting the clear wax on. One thing I still need to know–how do you clean your wax brushes? I have tried using vegetable oil, but I am not sure that I get all of the oil out of the brush. Any tips? Thank ya!

    • perfectlyimperfect March 17, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

      Hey Blair! I usually use warm water and vegetable oil, then follow with a gentle soap (I’ve used johnson’s) and warm water. It stays a little oily, but not much–the bristles stay soft and flexible. That’s the main thing. I hope that helps! :-)

  21. Jessica Singletary March 16, 2012 at 9:38 pm #

    Shaunna, thanks so much for the video! It helps to see it rather than read about it. I’ve had some issues with the wax & understanding exactly how to apply it. I learned a lot from this video & can’t wait to paint & wax another piece of furniture! And by the way I simply love your accent!

  22. Gina March 17, 2012 at 5:20 am #

    Gotta get that brush!! I have done a few pieces with ASCP and her waxes. My most recent one gave me a fit though…perhaps I was impatient? I also tried to make my own chalk paint recently just because I did not need a whole quart of a particular color…..what a pain! I believe it is worth it to buy ASCP!

  23. chris from Midwest Cottage and Finds March 17, 2012 at 7:27 am #

    Great video–and I love your e-book..It is my GO TO for painting…One question-Above you said to wax with the clear wax first-and wait 24 hours before applying the dark wax. On one of your earlier videos on waxing you are waxing with clear wax and following immediately with dark…Is that on top of the first layer of clear wax that has been on for 24 hours? Thanks so much for all you share with us… have no idea how many people you touch!

    • perfectlyimperfect March 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

      Thank you, Chris! You’re super sweet…I’ve done both to answer your question. When I’ve wanted it to be darker, I’ll dark wax right after I apply clear (or maybe an hour after). When I’ve wanted it to be very subtle, I’ll wait several (up to 24) hours before using dark wax. Just see what works for you! :-)

  24. Debbie March 17, 2012 at 7:35 am #

    Thank you so much for another awesome video. I have not tackled anything yet with ascp, still in the gathering info stage. You have been so helpful and are giving me the confidence to believe I can do this. Thank you for a great blog and wealth of wonderful information!

  25. Lana March 17, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    Great tutorial on waxing. Love your accent! It looks like you use the wax brush from Lady Butterburg.
    Its too bad she does not ship the brushes to Canada. Can’t wait to see the next video on buffing and distressing.

  26. Heidi@AllThatBringsJoy March 17, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    Thanks so much for the video! It was great. I feel pretty confident while using the clear wax lately but I’m still scared to death to open up my dark wax because I can never get it on evenly and end up ruining my project. I had thought that I was supposed to apply the dark wax immediately after applying the clear wax but I see above that I should wait 24 hours? Do you think that’s why my dark wax wasn’t going on evenly? Or is it even possible to just get a nice even coat of the dark wax on? I usually want to use it just to darken the color of the chalk paint and achieve a different color all together.

    • perfectlyimperfect March 17, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

      Hey Heidi! Yes, try waiting a while before applying. If it applies unevenly, then you can add some clear to it, and be able to wipe it back off. Again, it’s simply a matter of playing around with it to see what works for you. I usually prefer to wait a while to apply dark wax…I seem to have more control that way. Hope that helps (P.S. see my reply to Erin for the order I wax/distress.) :-)

      • Heidi@AllThatBringsJoy March 20, 2012 at 3:25 am #

        Thank you so much for your response, I know you’re plenty busy it means a lot that you take the time to answer so many questions!! :)

  27. Erin March 17, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    Thanks for the video, but I’m confused…well been confused b/c I have read/watched too much on Chalk painting and waxing and everyone does it differently. I want to ask you though, b/c I love the way your furniture turns out…

    In your other videos I interpreted that you paint with your chalk paint (1 or 2 coats dependent), then distress, then wax clear (working it down into paint, wiping off excess), sometimes put on a second coat of clear (same as above), and then if desired wax with dark wax (waiting 24 hours after clear wax(or paint?) and working it in and wiping off excess), wait 21 days and buff. However now I’m unclear to if these steps are in the correct order. It seems like in this latest video you said paint, clear wax, THEN distress, clear wax again and if desired dark wax, finally buffing 21 days later. Do you distress before or after applying the clear wax? Am I going crazy or what…?!?!? :) And was that wait 24 hours to apply dark wax after painting or 24 hours after applying the final coat of clear wax?

    Just ordered the wax brush this week and can’t wait to see how it works. I haven’t been happy how my waxing has looked, so maybe I’m doing it wrong or maybe it will just be aided with the brush!
    Love your blog and your work!

    • Heidi@AllThatBringsJoy March 17, 2012 at 9:37 am #

      I had thought to distress THAN wax as well and was confused when this time she mentioned distressing after waxing, so you’re not going crazy :)

    • perfectlyimperfect March 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

      Thank you, Erin! I do both…Annie Sloan trains to wax, then distress. I’ve mostly distressed, then waxed…try both and see which you prefer. You won’t mess it up either way. :-)

      • Erin March 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm #

        Thank you Shaunna!

        And was that wait 24 hours to dark wax after painting or 24 hours after applying clear wax?

        It’s wait 21 days to buff, after final wax (whether clear or dark wax), correct?


        • perfectlyimperfect March 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm #

          Hey Erin! You can wait up to 24 hours–not necessarily, though. I’ve done it both ways, waited and done it within a few hours…just play with it and see what works for you! Then, with buffing…you can buff when it’s lost its tackiness. It takes 21 days for the wax to cure…meaning harden and come to full durability. Hope that helps! :-)

  28. Deb Martell March 17, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    Loved that!!! And was just thinking I need to watch another waxing tutorial! Excellent and I will look forward to the rest :)

  29. Nancy Nelson March 17, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    I love your tutorials and this product. Can you use Annie Sloan or min wax waxes on painted cabinets? Mine are painted and then have a glaze on top of the oil based paint. I love the finish the wax gives the wood and I was thinking it might help to protect the finish of my cabinets.

  30. Nancy Nelson March 18, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    After waxing how long do you have to wait to buff???????? 21 days???? I painted a piece with 2 coats, waxed with clear and dark, buffed it when it was barely tacky (about two hours) and I love the luster finish. Did I buff too soon?

    • perfectlyimperfect March 19, 2012 at 10:10 am #

      No, Nancy, you did the right thing! I buff when it’s not tacky or like you, barely so. 21 days is how long the wax takes to fully harden and cure. So…you might not want toddlers climbing on the top in that 21 days. :-) Hope that helps! :-)

  31. Megan March 19, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    You are super awesome! My question on waxing is what should the wax on the furniture feel like when it is wall done (dried, buffed, everything)? Should it feel like there is wax on it? Or move like a latex painted piece? Somewhere in between?
    I am starting to wonder if my dresser is overwaxed, I can feel the wax and when anything bumps it, it will leave a mark….I painted and waxed it months ago.

  32. Tina March 27, 2012 at 8:23 am #

    Oh goody! Thanks for directing me to this post!

  33. Rhonda April 13, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    Thanks for all your tutorials. I appreciate it so much as I am a newby to all this adictive furniture refinishing stuff! You are simply adorable. Thanks again!

  34. cheryl April 15, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    quick question…. your latest waxing video said that you would do another when it was dry for the buffing process (on the trunk). Have you done that video yet? Also…I LOVE your is the absolute best. Every Saturday morning I drink my coffee and read all posts for the week. What a treat. CHERYL

    • perfectlyimperfect April 16, 2012 at 8:00 am #

      Hey Cheryl! What a lovely thing to say–that’s wonderful of you. I haven’t done the buffing video yet…hopefully within the next week or two. :-)

  35. Emily April 15, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    I am so glad I saved this link… I just adopted an old steamer trunk and read last night that a paste wax is the recommended finish to protect. I’ve got WEEKS of buffing before I’m ready for the wax step, but I really appreciate the info and will invest in a good wax brush when I’m ready to jump in.
    Now to think about the wood strips on this trunk… do I want to dry brush white on them? And exactly how shiny will she (I guess I’m taking to naming furniture as well as plants, now. Maybe I need kids.) clean up to?

  36. Wendy June 1, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    Hi Shaunna, I’m a big fan of yours! and I am impatiently waiting for your Buffing video. Any ideas when you will post it?

  37. Pam June 11, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    Hi! I waxed with Annie Sloan soft wax for the first time last night and I am pretty sure I put too much on. It is still tacky this morning and I am scared! What should I do to fix this?
    Thank you!

  38. Tracey July 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    Thanks so much for the video on waxing! You have soooo many great tips. Can you give me some advise on how long curing time is for the Minwax? It dries pretty fast, but I’m not sure on the curing time. I WAS listening when you talked about your dining room table! LOL

  39. jenny at dapperhouse August 21, 2012 at 7:28 am #

    LOVE your videos! You are a natural and have GREAT information! Thank you for your time, experience and knowledge. Much appreciated.

  40. Kathy Schultz August 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    I do not have a wax brush and I cannot find a dealer near me and I have some furniture ready to be waxed. What do I do? I need to get it all done so it can start curing because it is for a baby room and the baby is due in November but I am also having surgery on my wrist next month. Help. Any suggestions

    • perfectlyimperfect August 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

      Hey Kathy! We have an online shop and have the wax brushes in stock! :-)

  41. Karen September 13, 2012 at 3:16 pm #

    This video was so helpful! Thanks Shaunna! I’m in the process of waxing an armoire that I painted with latex paint. How many coats of clear wax would you recommend doing? Also, do you buff in between coats of wax or just one time at the end?

  42. Amy @ My Front Porch September 29, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

    I watched this video and started working on waxing my first piece of furniture. It was a black buffet and I painted over it with two coats of Annie Sloan’s Old White. When I painted it, the black was covered completely. Then I put the wax on (I used Annie Sloan’s Clear Wax and one of her brushes) and it is almost like it rubbed some of the paint off. Now you can see through some of the black through the white (almost like it would look if I didn’t put enough coats of paint on it.) It’s like the wax rubbed some of the paint off. Have you ever had this happen? I’m super frustrated because I’ve gone to all this work and it doesn’t look very nice :(

  43. Laura S. November 1, 2012 at 8:27 am #

    Hi, Did you ever make the follow up video on buffing?

  44. donna December 6, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

    I thought you made your version of chalk paint, would you mind sharing that version? Thank you :)

  45. furniture December 31, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    Hey there! I’ve been following your site for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Iowa. Just wanted to tell you keep up the great work!

  46. Liddi March 4, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Hi Shaunna! Great work! When you apply the wax to the chalk paint does some of the paint come off on the brush? Mine is! Am I doing something wrong or is normal and how do you clean your was brush?


    • perfectlyimperfect March 5, 2013 at 11:28 am #

      Hey Liddi,
      Sometimes it can…but it should be more of a tint…not removing paint. It’s just because the paint is so chalky…but again, it shouldn’t be actually removing paint. If so, there might be some kind oily topcoat applied on the original finish. Cleaning the wax brush can be done with dawn and water…or mineral spirits. Hope this helps! :-)

  47. cindy young April 12, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

    I am trying to get info on the buffing process. I watched the video where you waxed the trunk, but I cannot find the buffing video.

  48. Nancy B July 17, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Thank you for posting this tutorial. I’m getting ready to try furniture wax for the first time and found this video hugely helpful. I don’t have a wax brush yet and I think I’ll wait until I get one. I finished painting my piece this morning. Is it OK to wait a week or two before waxing? Thanks again! I can’t wait to have time to look around your site some more. :)

  49. paige March 8, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    your tutorials have been a LIFESAVER for me!! thank you thank you!

    here’s my question for you.
    just painted a rarely used dining room ( original blonde–the table, not me! ha!).
    got my hubby to help on the wax part. we gave a serious workout to press into the paint our wax. like my arm is sore and then we wiped it off. maybe too hard? but used light amount pressed in hard & wiped off.
    wondered if we wiped it off so hard it actually was a buff effect?
    do i do this again in 5-6 or 24 hours?
    or buff off. how’s buff different from the wipe off part?
    or just one coat of wax?
    thank you a billion.

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