I don’t know about you but I love the painting aspect of up-cycling old furniture. Picking the colours, deciding which effect to put on my project and getting the look just right, and as most people know about me I’m a big user of Annie Sloan chalk paint.
This paint needs to be sealed in order to be hard wearing though and I really can’t say that I’m ever as excited about applying the wax finish to seal my project. It’s probably because I’m impatient but I thought I’d do some experimenting with some Shabby Chic waxing techniques to find the quickest and easiest way to get it done.
It’s Time To Make Shabby Chic Waxing Easier And Quicker!
I have to start this post with a bit of an apology, I’ve been meaning to write this for ages but this last week or two time has simply vanished. My eldest daughter leaves to work in Dubai in a few days, so I know I will be a snivelling mess and I also had the privilege of submitting some of my mouldings for a photo shoot for Country Homes & Interiors magazine to be featured in a makeover article that they are running. Don’t get me wrong, it’s been a really exciting few weeks but it has thrown my blogging schedule to the wind!
Never mind, I’m here now so on to the Shabby Chic waxing! As any of you that are members of my Facebook group ‘For The Love Of Shabby Chic” will know, we regularly post tips and hints for each other to improve on our Shabby Chic projects. I was intrigued by a post from one of my members, Michael at Shabby Chic Crazy, who said that he would heat his wax before doing any Shabby Chic waxing and thus making things a bit easier. Well I like easy so I thought I would experiment a little with this.
Michael mentioned to me that before he started any Shabby Chic waxing, he would place his pot of wax into a bowl of hot water (very sensible) to heat the wax up.
Unfortunately, for me the wax never properly melted using this technique and I thought I might take things to ‘the next level’!(not very sensible).
Now before I go on I must be very clear. I am in no way encouraging anyone to copy what I did next. I’m simply posting my experience here to show what happened for me.
I figured that the wax needed a little more heat to really liquefy so I dragged out an old tea light holder that I used to use to melt scented wax blocks to make the room smell nice. I know that wax is flammable so I very carefully placed the can over my little tea light candle. Yay! the wax is melting a little more!
Enter Husband “what are you doing?”
Me “I’m trying to melt this wax to make it easier to brush on”
Ape man Husband “I can help, hold on”
Ape man appears holding blow torch to heat the can.
End result!It did melt the wax though!Once again I would like to reiterate that in no way should you put a naked flame near spirit based wax, especially in an enclosed space with other solvents around. I’m trying this out so you don’t have to!
The serious point is that softening the wax really does make it easier to spread with a brush. I think for safety’s sake though it’s probably better that you use the pot of boiling water method where you place your can of wax (I used clear Briwax for this experiment) into a container and pour boiling water around the can.
This will soften things up enough to make it easier to spread. It may also help if you just warm up a small amount of wax at a time.
Moral of the story: Never let a man near wax with a blow lamp when Shabby Chic waxing!
Wax On, Wax Off, A General Guide To Shabby Chic Waxing
So, if like me you are big fan on Annie Sloan Chalk Paints for your Shabby Chic projects, you will probably know that this finish needs a clear coat to seal it and make it hard wearing.
Most people use some sort of soft wax in order to accomplish this as it gives a nice warmth and an age worn look to the piece.
For the most part Shabby Chic waxing is pretty simple. Once you have painted your piece of furniture with your ASCP and have the colour and texture that you want, take a good quality brush, roll it around in your can of wax and then begin to apply it thinly and evenly to your painted Shabby Chic project much the same way as you would paint. Try to run with the grain where possible as this will give a more natural finish.
The wax will need some time to harden. I try to leave mine overnight if possible but a few hours should suffice. Once the wax has hardened enough you will need to buff the surface to give it a little sheen and smooth out the finish.
I use a microfibre to buff my projects to a shine, but you can also use old cotton sheets, pillowcases, or old cotton T Shirts. No need to buy anything special, you will find what works best for you. There are also Microfibre Mitts available which I know lots of people use for buffing. I’ve never used them, but heard good reports!
If you are going to distress your project, This is the point at which you should do so. Sanding after the wax has dried will prevent the chalk paint from dispersing as dust as you sand it. You can sand before, but it does get very messy & dusty! I always distress after the wax has thoroughly dried & been buffed.
Once you are happy with your distressed look, re-wax any exposed edges to add some protection. and you’re done!
Dark Shabby Chic Waxing
Adding Dark wax to your Shabby Chic waxing project is a great way to add a lovely aged patina to the piece.
I’ll be covering this in my next post so be sure to stay tuned.
You can read it here: http://www.chicmouldings.com/dark-wax-everything-youll-ever-need-to-know
Until next time, happy Shabby Chic waxing!