The Wonders of Wax

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If you have spent any amount of time with me talking topcoats, you will know within 30 seconds that I am a wax girl.

I have written blog posts and gotten on my soap box during workshops and demos listing the benefits of wax. So, I don’t feel the need to rehash much of what I’ve stated so frequently (If you are interested you can read about my wax tips here, here and here).

Instead, I thought I’d talk a bit more about the differences between the colored waxes and variations in the application process now that I’ve had a chance to work with all the different shades of the new Annie Sloan waxes.

Dresser, White, Blue-3

Louis Blue and Old White Chalk Paint® with a clear and dark wax finish

We sell and regularly work with two different wax products. The first is a beeswax that we carry as part of the Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint line. The second is the Annie Sloan Soft Waxes. Although they are both wax topcoats, the application and finished result is quite different. Here’s how I break it down:

Miss Mustard Seed’s Wax

Beeswax

  • MMS Wax has the consistency of very soft butter which makes the application process incredibly easy.
  • It comes in four different formulas; a clear furniture wax, a lavender scented furniture wax (that is also clear), white wax and an antiquing wax. MMS Beeswax is applied in what I typically refer to as a more traditional wax application…meaning, that you brush it on and massage it into the paint finish, allow it to set up for about 20-30 minutes and then buff it off. I make an exception when using white wax and antiquing wax and typically wipe it off right after applying it so that I can exercise more control over the color saturation.
  • There are very, VERY few circumstances that I will use a rag over a brush to apply wax. But, one of those is when I’m using MMS White Wax. I have found that there is something in the formula of the White Wax that causes it to stick in my wax brushes, even when I clean them with my awesome brush soap. I will usually opt for a disposable rag to apply white wax so that I don’t have to mess with cleaning a messy wax brush when I’m finished.
  • White Wax is pretty dramatic. If you are going for a very heavy white-washed look, it’s the way to go. But, if you want a more subtle finish with the white wax, you need to use some of the clear furniture wax to soften the look.
  • The same point holds true when using Antiquing Wax. As a stand alone wax, it will dramatically richen the look of your paint finish, but if you want a more subtle antiqued patina, a little bit of the clear furniture wax allows you to move the dark antiquing wax with more control and ease.
  • I’ve also noticed that over the years, the batches of Miss Mustard Seed’s Antiquing Wax likely use different color pigments from one batch to another so there are subtle color differences. One batch may be a bit more on the dark brown side while a previous batch may have had more grey tones.

When it’s all said and done, Miss Mustard Seed’s Wax offers a wonderfully protective finish that is very easy to apply and it has a matte look and feel.

Buffet, Chalkboard-11

Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint in Shutter Gray and Ironstone with clear furniture wax

Annie Sloan Soft Wax

PaintClass-31

  • Annie Sloan Soft Wax has the consistency (and even the look) of Crisco. It’s nice and smooth to apply, but not as soft and creamy as MMS Beeswax.
  • Annie Sloan Soft Wax has a different application process from any other furniture wax that I’ve ever used. The Soft Wax is applied in sections and then immediately wiped off. You want to allow the wax to harden for several hours (I usually wait overnight) then polish it with a soft cloth.
  • The new White Wax offers a very soft and subtle white wash effect. It is not nearly as pronounced as Miss Mustard Seed’s White Wax, therefore a bit easier to manipulate as a stand alone product (meaning, you don’t need clear wax to move the white wax around or help it to blend). I love how the White Wax settles into carved details of wood furniture without being overly dramatic on the flatter surfaces. And, Annie’s White Wax is much easier to clean out of the wax brush than MMS White Wax.
  • Both Annie Sloan Dark Wax and Black Wax must be used with Clear Wax in order to prevent it from staining the paint finish (Of course, Graphite is the paint color that serves as the exception to that rule). I like to mix the Dark and Black Wax with Clear Wax when applying it, although on certain occasions I’ll put a layer of clear wax and then a layer of either dark or black. It just depends what look I’m going for and how much time I have to work on a piece. You can go for a much more subtle dark or black wax effect by using more clear with it, or vice versa.

Your furniture painted with Annie Sloan Paint and paired with her Soft Wax will have beautiful and lustrous sheen to them that can only be achieved when you pair her products together.

Dresser, Granny Smith Green-10

Clear wax mixed with paint to create a colored wax finish

Which begs the question, can you mix the product lines?

Yes…and, no.

Anytime you start mixing different product lines, you always want to test an area of what you are painting to make sure that the two products will be symbiotic. You just never know what may be in one product that compromises the integrity or finish of another product. So, as a general rule of thumb I recommend that you stick with products in the same line (On a side note, I strongly discourage using Briwax or Minwax Finishing Paste as a top coat on either of these product lines as I’ve seen some pretty dramatic negative results).

That being said, I can sometimes be a bit of rule breaker!

Table, Grey, White Wax-4

French Linen Chalk Paint® with Miss Mustard Seed’s White Wax

I have paired Annie Sloan Soft Wax as a top coat to Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint and vice versa. In doing so, I was hoping to achieve a similar sheen on MMSMP as I get with Annie Sloan Paint. That wasn’t the case and I have since learned that the ONLY WAY to achieve the characteristic “Annie Sloan Look” is to pair her products.

Unlike any other product on the market, wax has the capability of not only serving a functional purpose in protecting your piece of furniture, but  also as a very decorative and artistic element.  So, the next time you are working on a piece of furniture, I challenge you to stretch your artistic abilities and find new ways to use the wax decoratively….whether you incorporate some shading, add color or mix waxes. And, if you are so inclined, we offer a two hour waxing workshop dedicated to the many finishes you can achieve using both wax products!

as and mms wax