Why Wax?

936831_172463932911661_910676578_nOkay, there are tons of waxing tutorials out there so by now you know how to do it and that it makes a lovely velvety finish.  But here is WHY wax is a great finishing choice:

Furniture waxes primarily consist of a wax base combined with oils and in some cases, certain chemicals that help to promote absorption, protection and durability.  Each component has a job to do.

Wax – it can be soft like beeswax or harder like carnauba or even a mix of both. Wax serves as the protection for the treatment underneath.

Oil – natural essential oils or petroleum-based, both kinds are used in furniture waxes. Petroleum and chemically enhanced oils have a discernible chemical odor that may require you to wear a mask. Naturally based oils can include scented oils but primarily consist of pure oils like jojoba and almond that will impart a nice finish.

Now, wax and oil don’t mix easily. In their natural forms, they will separate into layers. Furniture wax is well mixed and formulated to stay emulsified.

When you wax furniture painted with mineral paint, the paint absorbs the oils and the wax cures on top. Latex without a mineral base doesn’t take wax well because its plastic polymers are designed to form a seal on the paint. Mineral/clay/chalk paints work so well because they are micro porous and they absorb the oil quickly and evenly, leaving the wax on top for protection. This is why you need to wait 24 hours to cure your wax – if you buff right away, the oils will spread unevenly and you will get a blotchy wax finish.

Once you give the paint time to absorb the oil and the wax cures, the finish buffs to a fantastic sheen and the piece becomes considerably more durable.  The same principle applies to wood furniture that hasn’t been painted – it absorbs the oil leaving the wax to protect the surface.

Waxing requires reapplication depending on the use of the furniture and is not a reliable finish for a high-use piece like your dining room table. Just the act of wiping it down every day will wear the finish off in very little time. You can use wax over polyurethane but you will still need to reapply and maintain the waxed surface.

Polyurethane does not like to stick well to wax but, used lightly and over mineral paint, wax can be covered with polyurethane to protect the decorative finish it imparts.  A light hand should be used on the poly finish as well and that will mean a minimum of two thin coats of poly but the result will be beautiful and long-lasting.

 

Crackle finish made super-easy with Paint Minerals™

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Make any piece of wood look like it’s been around for ages with a simple mineral paint and white glue application.  Mineral paint works exceptionally well for making these finishes because it dries quickly and can be worked with in minutes. Because it’s porous, it accepts waxing and staining well too. (click on the thumbnails for larger images).

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Start with any piece of wood, new or not. Remove any stickers or loose pieces. Sand if you like but it’s not necessary.

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Coat the piece with a layer of white glue – this can be Elmers, Aleene’s, Dollar Store brand, etc. If it’s too thick, you can water it down.

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Once the glue becomes tacky and pretty much dry, you can coat it with a single coat of mineral paint. This is another reason to use mineral paint – you can’t go back over the piece after you paint the first time. It will cause the effect to fail so a coat of mineral paint covers the first time.

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Let the piece dry (or if you have no patience, like me, use a blow dryer) and watch the crackle happen. It dries quickly and the crackles will be random if your brushstrokes were haphazard and more uniform if they were straight. Cracks will be larger where you used more glue and more intricate where the glue was thinner.

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Now give it a nice sanding on the edges to distress. Use any sandpaper grit you like, the amount of distress is up to you. But remember, you are trying to make it look old!

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For this piece, I mixed black coffee glaze and brown stain with a little water to get a nice loose glaze, gave the piece a quick coat, then wiped it off.

Here’s the end result…01crackle

It’s as easy as that – in less than 20 minutes, this piece of wood went from new to old. Give it a try!

 

Storing mineral paint after mixing with Paint Minerals™

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You can store your paint indefinitely if you take a small amount of care. Mix in glass canning jars or plastic containers with lids that are tight. The paints you see in these photos have all been mixed for over 5 months – the green is well older than that. When your mixed paint settles, the components will layer. You’ll see a water layer and a paint layer.

The water will settle on top of the paint because it’s lighter. Use a container like I’ve described so that you can control the air in the jar. This makes a big difference in chalk-style and mineral paints. The more air in the jar, the thicker the paint will continue to get over time. However, it takes quite a while for the paint to get to a consistency that’s hard to work with. If you want your paint to be thicker or want to turn it into impasto, dip the corner of a paper towel into the water layer to remove the water.

air space water line copyTo retain the moisture and consistency of your mixture, place a layer of wax paper or cling wrap onto the top of the paint (don’t just lay it over the top of the jar). This minimizes air circulation and evaporation. Remember to seal the jar tightly.

When you are ready to use it again, simply remove the plastic or wax paper, shake the water back into the paint to re-mix and begin painting. If it’s too thick, you can add water, alcohol or Floetrol.

Because you can use Paint Minerals™ with all types of paint, you may find that some paints store better than others. Paints with built-in primers are already thick and will thicken more unless you use a layer of plastic or wax paper on the paint surface. However, leaving the paper layer off and allowing them to thicken slowly makes great impastos.

 

 

 

Finishing 101 – Wax or Poly?

When you use Paint Minerals to mix chalk and clay paints, you don’t have to finish them because they are latex based. There is always going to be some plasticity (and, therefore water resistance) because of the latex polymers so they can be left as they are or you can choose to seal them further with wax or polycrylic sealer. There are benefits to both.

The way you use an item should determine the way you finish it. If it’s an accessory, or lightly-used piece, waxing is an excellent and rich finish. For high-use pieces, polycrylic sealers will help keep scratches and dirt to a minimum. Both work with different types of furniture finishes including paints mixed with Paint Minerals.

POLYCRYLIC SEALER VS PASTE WAX

POLYCRYLIC SEALER

  • Polycrylic sealer is water-based, petroleum product which will seal the surface, making it durable and resistant to stains and other typical day-to-day damage.
  • Available in matte or gloss and has several color options.
  • Cures in a few hours.
  • To age, glaze or other faux finishing is needed.
  • Non-porous surface is dust and water resistant.
  • Sand lightly before re-finishing or re-painting to give the product something to adhere to.
  • Can be used over flat latex and mineral paints (i.e. chalk paint).
  • Available in spray or by the can, finish is fairly even but brushes may leave marks. Sealers can yellow over long periods of time. Should be reapplied every few years.
  • Can apply wax over it with no preparation.
  • Will not stick to waxed surfaces well. Sand lightly first, then wipe down thoroughly.

Polycrylic sealer is hardy and can withstand everyday wear and tear as well as cleaning. Use light coats and if necessary, lightly sand with fine sandpaper between coats. Use a quality sealer like Minwax Polycrylic to keep yellowing to a minimum. You can also mix gel and liquid stains into poly to make an aging finish.

PASTE WAX

  • Paste wax is wax-based products mixed with a solvent or mineral spirits. Often it contains carnauba or beeswax. It cures to a hard finish that can be buffed to your desired sheen.
  • Wax dries to a dull finish and cures in about 24 hours after which it should be buffed to shine.  Some waxes can be mixed with gel stains, powdered colors or paint.
  • Brown wax provides an instant aged glaze. Excess can be removed with clear wax.
  • Wax can soften in warm areas (like a sunny window or near the heat vent) and collect dust.
  • Remove wax with mineral spirits if you plan to apply latex or oil paint.
  • Can be used over flat latex and mineral paints (i.e. chalk paint).
  • Buffed surfaces are smooth.  Waxes can deepen or grey over time or become ‘cloudy’.  Re-waxing at least annually is recommended.
  • Can be applied over polycrylic sealer.
  • Polycrylic will not stick well to it without surface preparation.

Wax is a beautiful and unique finish.  It can be made to look old world or ultra modern. Shiny or matte. Very cool and feels great to the touch. It’s also a lot of work. Buffing ain’t easy on the arms so be prepared to give it the effort it deserves. Don’t get me wrong, it’s totally worth it. Always put a thin coat of clear wax on the entire project before you add any glaze or dark wax since they will stain your paint.  Paints mixed with Paint Minerals™ are porous so they absorb wax like skin absorbs lotion so push the first coat of clear wax in well.  Then your outer coats can be manipulated easily.  Remember though, that because there is a latex base, your wax will act somewhat differently and wipe off a little easier than from decorator chalk paint which is super absorbent and matte.

936831_172463932911661_910676578_nMy favorite wax is Minwax Furniture Paste and here’s why – it’s well-formulated, goes on smoothly and covers well but the best part is that it buffs beautifully and the shine is fantastic. The formulation works protectively and this matters most especially when your project will have daily use.  Additionally, Minwax accepts all of the other ‘things’ we do like distressing, gilding, dark waxing and more. You can add gel stain to it to color it and can paint over it again without removing it as well.  All in all, a great product and it can be found at any big box home improvement retailer and on Amazon.

For the first clear coat, I love Annie Sloan’s small wax brush – it’s natural bristled and flat so you get a large surface area done at once. I use a chip brush for dark waxing because I like to have a lot of control over dark waxes and often only use it in corners, crevices and pitted areas. I recommend that you watch some of the great videos on YouTube.  Waxing is a great finish but it takes a little practice and a considerable amount of elbow grease!

For dark waxing, If I don’t mix my own using gel stain (which I do A LOT), I use Annie Sloan for a couple of reasons – it’s extremely soft and workable – this is so important in dark wax. To be able to work with it and remove it is vital to the aging and distressing process so you want a wax that “plays nice”.  Other waxes like Fiddes are also great but I have a big can of Annie Sloan and haven’t used half of it so it will be a while before I buy more. You have to purchase it from a stockist and can find one in your area or online.

As I mentioned above, I like to use gel stain (and paint) to add color to wax, especially…Daddy Van’s.

Daddy Van’s wax is pure beeswax and citrus/lavender oil – it soaks into chalk paint beautifully and buffs to a matte finish. It’s not as soft as Annie Sloan and not as solid as Minwax. I find it to be the absolute best at removing dark wax. It’s also great for mixing gel stain and paint into to achieve a colored wax finish. I buy mine at Amazon. Oh, and it smells divine.

So that’s it – once again, I don’t limit myself to one particular brand of paint, wax or any other medium that may help me achieve what I want with a project (though I DO have my preferences). I try them all and you should too!

Chalk Paint 101

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An old brass lamp – no prep, no primer.

What is chalk paint?  The term “chalk paint” is generally associated with artist Annie Sloan who developed and sells a line of decorator paints called Chalk Paint. However, chalk paint is basically a paint base (in this case flat latex) with mineral additives that help to make it opaque and to bind better. The thicker, stickier paint is great for adhering to surfaces without preparation. These additives also cause the paint to be micro-porous which allows for (and often requires) some sort of finishing i.e. wax or polyurethane.

Why is it different?  Chalk or mineral paint is  great because it is a workhorse – it sticks to tons of surfaces without preparation or primer and it helps achieve many decorator-style finishes like shabby chic, vintage, crackle and more.  It dries quickly and leaves a matte finish.  It can be used on fabric (no finish is required), clay, wood, metal, even laminate. Yep – even laminate – just give it a quick sand to rough up the surface and go for it.

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Mineral paint recipe – three coats (though I only needed two) and dark wax.

What makes it special? Mineral paint is very easy to work with and very forgiving. It requires little preparation and no primer. In fact, Paint Minerals added to your latex makes great primer if you do need one! And it matches your paint perfectly of course. Mineral paint dries quickly and evenly. Any ridges or spots are easy to sand smooth.  Mineral paint can also be used to add texture by allowing it to get thick and develop ridges, pits and other yummy things to hold wax and add dimension. When you use Paint Minerals, you can simply add a little more to thicken your paint right way rather than waiting overnight.

Mineral paint is fun and easy. It’s not for every project but it is very versatile and when you make your own with Paint Minerals, there’s no end to the things you can do with it and not a drop of your paint gets wasted!