Wax? ….Or Nah?

Furniture Wax.  What comes close to giving us the feel we love? Maybe nothing, however we have to take a look at just how durable it is!  We send our pieces into the homes of others and well just hope and pray our work is outlasting their lifestyle! I would cringe to think I were doing anything to compromise the longevity of my work! I need a product to protect my painted finish! Have I been putting too much faith in this product to do that?

should I wax my painted furniture

Should we use Wax to protect our paint finish?

As I began unfolding this world of furniture refinishing,.. Of course one of the first things that caught my eye was Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  Highly recommended, popularly used to get that really beautiful old world to look on our furniture pieces. You can take the most modern piece of furniture and give it a very earthy feel, like it was chiseled from stone 2000 years ago.  

Okay maybe I exaggerate, but it’s incredibly fun to bring new life to old pieces of furniture. (Or old life to NEW pieces of furniture!) However, What really makes this paint special is the wax that is used to finish it. Clear wax as well as dark wax can be used together to create this awesome finish. BUT we have to keep in mind,.. it’s really only. a decorative finish.  It’s not a permanent Top Coat.  I once had a client explain to me how her grandchild had dropped butter toast on a table and when she wiped up the mess the finish came up! I thought that seemed absurd, but after mulling it over for a bit I decided it actually seemed completely possible since it’s only wax! There is nothing to permanently seal it right? It’s time to test this out, so I grabbed my econo size butter and I set out!

Testing out the Wax on Paint Finish

Official Before-You can see the glare nicely from the light above.  Now do not judge my photography, I was a wee young blogger when I did this! You will notice my amazing little squiggle line that helps you confirm all the photos are of the same spot. 😬 I should tell you as well, this piece had been sitting in my living room for over 7 months.  I had complete confidence the wax was fully cured!

wax used on paint

I took my finger and smudged some butter right down there and went shopping!

testing wax strength

Once I returned I grabbed a napkin and simply wiped it away.  No cleaner.  Only a clean napkin.

Wax on painted furniture-tested

This is what I was left with! Can you see what happened?!  Notice the lack of glare where the butter was, even over the lines of my amazing squiggles.  The wax literally just reabsorbed into the butter! 

Wax tested on painted furniture Here is another shot from above.  I would liken this to the same effect our hands may have on the painted finish.  Or of course any food items that contain greases or oils.  Its just such an extreme effect for such little effort. 

Wax tested on painted furniture

Well then, it completely makes sense but only reiterates my original thought. Wax is gorgeous and furniture!  However you need to be careful not to rely on it as the protective topcoat. This just isn’t how it’s best used.  In your own journey ask questions,… Do research,… Test and mess some stuff up. That’s how we learn and grow! Hopefully soon I will update you with the now what! 


UPDATE: On to the now what! Since then, I have tried SO many products! Personally I am not a fan of the buffing process so, moving away from wax was fine with me!  I was often coming across Polyvine in the Forums.  I really enjoyed using this! Its a varnish, and is stronger than a typical Polycrylic.  Plus Polyvine makes several varieties, one being a “wax Varnish” that is able to be buffed to a sheen! However, my favorite was the Hard wearing Varnish.

polyvine varnishNow its actually made for floors but seriously, if its durable enough for floors, AND cures in 16 hours-Im happy! However, my go to retailer ended up closing shop!  While you can absolutely purchase it on Amazon here πŸ‘‰πŸ½ Buy Polyvine Varnish πŸ‘ˆπŸ½ I ended up winning a giveaway and falling in love with Wise Owl Varnish.   

As I began researching them I found Wise Owl takes pride in truly coming up with the BEST products,.. no matter what the cost.  While cost effective for you,… lets just say sometimes it hits the profit margin.  BUT what they are left with is a product they KNOW we can trust.  Wise Owl Varnish is made using crystal clear acrylic resin.  It cant and wont yellow over time!  ALSO you get a hard as nails finish!!! I have been blown away by this stuff-so much so that I actually carry it now with their other products,.. I started searching in 2015 for the perfect product-and here I am now in 2017 letting you know what it is.

It comes in both Satin and Matte- though my absolute favorite way to use it is by mixing the two 50/50

Here you can see the sheen!  To me its just perfect. Sometimes I will spray this with my Homeright Finish Max.  No watering down necessary! Pour and Spray!

But with its self leveling properties, applying with a large brush like my B10 is so easy! Lovely right??
So, if you want an easy to use, no fail, hard as nails, non yellowing, crystal clear method for TRULY protecting your beautiful finish,. Grab you some Wise Owl Clear Varnish

Hope you found this helpful! Always feel free to contact me with questions.  I may not know the answer but I am happy to find it with you! Happy painting y’all!


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  • Pili Gomez

    I never use wax as a protective coat on table tops or anything that can be involved with stains. I once painted a garbage tin and sealed it with wax, and the second day it was horrible, it showed grease stains everywhere. So I painted it again and sealed it with poly, it lasted until it broke.

  • kostas kostadinou

    hello there…i ve just discovered the polyvine wax finish and it seems very a promissing product.but i have a question.can u use it over a waxed surface?and if i want to use a glaze should i do it between the varnishe's coats or after the final coat?thanks in advance πŸ™‚

  • Thea Osborne

    Yes! Polyvine has a "Wax Varnish" that adheres to wax. You can wax, and decorative wax then protect with their "Wax Varnish" If you glaze (rather than using decorative wax) I would personally do that over a coat of your choice of polyvine then protect with a second coat/ πŸ™‚

  • Jessica Wilson

    Hi Kostas, you shouldn't apply polyvine wax finish varnish over wax BUT I have customers who do it all the time as long as the wax has cured. When I glaze I do one coat of satin Wax Finish Varnish over the painted surface so that the porous paint doesn't unintentionally soak up the glaze, then I apply glaze to get your desired look, let glaze dry fully (Polyvine Scumble glaze has a very long open time so it takes about 24 hours to fully dry), then apply 2 coats of Wax Finish Varnish. Hope this helps!!

  • Jessica Wilson

    When I glaze over chalk-type paint I seal the painted surface with one coat of a satin poly like Wax Finish Varnish. Then I apply my glaze and manipulate the glaze to achieve my desired antiquing finish, and let the glaze fully dry (usually 24 hours depending on climate and the glaze's open time). After the glaze fully dries I apply 2 coats of Polyvine Wax Finish Varnish in either dead flat or satin depending on my shine preference for the piece I'm painting. Hope this helps!!

  • Aleta

    I’m fairly sure the result would be the same, but it looks like you used a vegetable oil product, and not butter (a dairy product)?

    • Thea Osborne

      Great Point! But yes, my thinking was a “oily” substance would cause this, like many of our cooking products!

  • Annette

    Thanks for the information, I am not a fan of wax on the top of my pieces at home either. You mentioned the home right sprayer. I was just looking at ordering one last night, does yours work good, is there a product you think is better at that price point?

    • Thea Osborne

      I actually recommend the Homeright Finish max and super finish max hands down. I get beautiful finishes with it!

  • Kim

    Hi, I came across this blog post when looking for something to protect my freshly painted desk surface. It was oak until 3-4 weeks ago and painted with Sherwin Williams self leveling paint. Will this product be a good solution so that I don’t get the scratches and nicks that come from everyday use, and which I’m fully expecting?? Thank you!

    • Thea Osborne

      Yes! and sorry for the delay. I use a similar paint and at least for the tops of dressers and high traffic areas, I will tend to use my varnish to protect it.

    • Erin

      Hello! I am paining the base of an oak dinner table white. Chalk paint (either name brand or homemade) is drawing me for the ability to skip sanding. My go-to thought is always sand and paint (with non chalk paint). In your opinion, what sort of paint and topcoat/sealer will give me the best protection on the white portion of the table? I am picturing people sitting at the table with shoes on and chipping paint off if it is chalk paint, we also have a toddler and two big dogs.. should I use paint from SW or a home improvement store and the clear varnish listed in this post? Thank you!!

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