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Annie Sloan chalk paint – How to wax and buff wax – for boys

Listed under Annie Sloan, Blog, hand-painted kitchen, Mirka, paint Posted Nov 06 2013

Annie Sloan chalk paint is mainly for girls – but boys can use it too! Read a professional Traditional Painter’s practical tips on Annie Sloan chalk paint – How to wax and buff wax.

In general terms, you apply chalk paint to any surface with minimal preparation, sand (or not), wax a few times and buff.

Here’s how a painter boy tackled that.

Applying chalk paint

There is plenty of online instruction from lady decorators on how to apply the chalk paint to a piece of furniture – a nice synthetic brush, and just get it on, 2 coats in quick succession. For a distressed finish there is no need to be ultra careful with brush technique.

Painter boys who need to get the paint on fast and even for a flat finish, might like the Wooster FTP brush or any original Fox or Fox sash brush with Annie Sloan chalk paint. It is a very productive combination. The Picasso pictured is not really up to the task if you have a lot of items to paint. It is not firm enough.

The first coat dries in a matter of an hour, and will cover really really well on bare wood.

Second coat obliterates totally, for a nice full solid colour finish.

If aiming for specific colours, please bear in mind that clear wax will darken the paint a couple of shades, so account for that.

Sanding chalk paint

The chalk paint is very soft, so if you need to sand, and want to avoid dust galore, eg if you have applied a coat, see some dings and dents to fill, then if sanding back the filler you will create filler and chalk paint dust. Therefore use one of these tools for boys, ideally attached to a good vacuum. As an idea, the hand sander is a small investment of £33.07 including VAT and delivery from Hallmark Frauhlo

However, in most circumstances, the advice from Annie herself

I just want to tell you that I do not sand before I wax but ALWAYS sand after I have waxed… Much less dust – well none actually!! (Annie Sloan)

On the above dresser, after a first coat revealed obvious defects in the pine, I did spot filling on nail heads and had to sand back flush. Being ultra soft, it went back to bare wood around the nail head. No problem. A couple of quick touch-in coats of chalk paint before the topcoat and waxing… Very versatile.

Applying wax to chalk paint – the normal way

Chalk paint needs to be sealed. Buffed up wax is an effective and aesthetically pleasing sealant. It is also time consuming doing it the conventional way.

There are videos galore showing how to apply clear wax on tabletops and buff up using lint free rag and elbow grease. Wipe on, wait to dry, then buff with clean rag. It is the same principle over chalk paint.

Or you can apply dark wax (or wax tinted with chalk paint) with a brush and wipe off and buff with a rag.

Or apply dark wax with a brush and then brush on clear wax to create interesting distressed protective finishes. Here’s a video on dark wax/clear wax combination to create distressed paint finish with chalk paint

Apply wax to chalk paint and buff, the commercial boys way!

Another reminder, hopefully the paint colour you have chosen has taken account for the fact that the clear wax will darken the paint a couple of shades?

It is surprisingly difficult to find short sharp videos on how boys can apply Annie Sloan clear wax and buff it up without all that elbow grease.

Well, no video here, but here is one way to get productive and efficient with wax finishes on furniture or unfitted kitchen furniture or kitchen cabinets etc.

1 – Bain marie
Pour hot water into a suitable container and place your tin of wax in the water. Wait for the wax to melt a bit.

2 – Apply clear wax over a section of chalk paint with a clean rag. Not too liberal. In its soggy state, it goes a long way quickly.

3 – Before moving to next section, make sure there are no obvious smears and lumps left behind.

4 – When you have completely first coated the piece(s) you are working on, and the wax is dry to the touch, apply another coat of wax as above. Repeat. 3 coats is a good number.

6 – When the wax is all dry to the touch, out with the mother of all power tools! The Mirka CEROS orbital sander.

This sander is designed on the lines of the car body shop models. I have the 5″ size, and with a 6″sheepskin pad, and set on low speed, you are in business! Because the 6″ pad is oversize for the 5″ model, you can work the extra sheepskin into corners, nooks and crannies. Job done.

Give the wax a few days to harden off throughout its thickness, and you should get nice emails from customers saying how lovely the finish effect is.

Chalk paint is ideal for distressed effects, but having successfully done a more conventional flat paint finish on a complete kitchen, I guess there are no rules.

One rule I would like to break, is applying the wax. Can wax be sprayed? You bet. But see the comments below from a main supplier of spray wax.

North of the border, Cait of Carte Blanche is the authority on most things to do with preparing, applying and distressing Annie Sloan chalk paint. Gibson is the bain marie expert on production quantity waxing. And Jocelyne has compiled a great one-stop page of all things Annie Sloan chalk paint, where I am the waxing expert!

shabby chic chalk paintTraditional Painters regularly tackle furniture painting with chalk paint and have had good success using a protective coating with Tikkurila Kiva (clear water-borne).

For an added “ageing effect” the Ronseal varnish as seen here on this dressing table from Adam Bermingham in Ireland, has a yellowy tinge and adhered and protected really well.

See here for more examples of painted furniture, many of which could also be achieved with chalk paint and a bit of colour.

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56 comments to “Annie Sloan chalk paint – How to wax and buff wax – for boys”

  1. Leah

    Where can you get the Picasso brush from? Is there a similar type brush available in the standard diy stores (Wickes, Homebase, B & Q etc)? I’m using Annie Sloane for my kitchen and after a flat finish.

  2. Traditional Painter

    Hi no chance getting a Picasso in a DIY store, not even in a decorator merchant store. They are online here

    Don’t get me wrong, a Picasso will make you smile, it is so well balanced, holds a lot of paint and leaves a lovely finish, but on the last couple of furniture jobs with AS chalk paint I have been trialing a Wooster FTP, available from Brewers in Derby, and with lots of panelling to cover, I find it even better suited than the Picasso for this particular paint.

  3. Nancy Hutchison


    I am having trouble with the Annie Sloan dark wax… The steps I use are: I paint the furniture piece with Annie Sloan chalk paint, two or three coats… I then put a good layer of clear wax, buff it, then I have been putting the dark wax on and taking off the excess with the clear wax… the problem I’m having is; the dark wax looks streaky, especially on the sides of a dresser or a larger area, the drawers seems to be fine, but… please help, thank you.

  4. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    Hi Nancy

    You say a good layer of clear wax… if it is too good, ie too thick, it may dry patchy, and any unevenness / streakiness will be accentuated by the dark wax. Always apply a thin clear coating pushed into the chalk paint, (a lot of elbow grease straight out the can, or slightly less work if wax is melted in a bain marie ). Wipe off the clear wax hard “along the grain” with a clean cloth, leave it to harden for a few hours / next day. You don;t need to buff the clear wax before applying the dark wax.

    If you take a look at this video, it shows a larger panel that has been evenly waxed. The dark wax should be a “reflection” of that clear wax surface ie even. I think you are achieving the even clear wax coating on your drawers, which is making the dark waxing stage go well. But maybe you are not carrying your good technique through to the larger areas.


    As a side note, I often have emails from “engineers” who think they should be able to get a perfect flat finish with chalk paint. To a degree yes it should be even and not streaky, but by its nature, in painting terms, this system is closer to an even colour wash than to a dead matt laminate finish.

  5. lydia culver

    Hi can you tell me please what do you apply your ‘warm’ wax with. Ty!!

  6. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    A big lint free rag works for me on flat surfaces. Brush in detailed areas.

  7. Rich

    We did our kitchen cabinets and they came out great. We did not do the inside, but some paint got on the inside doors. how can I clean the paint completely off?

  8. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    Try a sharp scraper blade first. Dont gouge the wood.

    If that dosnt work, assuming you sealed chalk paint with wax, wipe off wax with KrudKutter Original. Once exposed, chalk paint will come off easily, say with a rough kitchen wiper or a blade.

  9. Lauren

    Hi there

    first off what a great blog!!

    Quick question is how much to buff on bare wood? I can see marks at certain angles on my piece. I put a coat of clear/dark mixed with a rag and wiped of excess and another coat a day later. Thank you!!

  10. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    Like any wood coating, for a perfect even finish, wax has to be applied evenly, dry even and be buffed evenly. So apply wax sparingly, wipe off excess and lay off a section at a time, in one movement from end to end. That is about as even as you are going to get the wax laid on. When you buff it, I would trust a machine buffer or sander with a sheepskin for best results. By hand with a rag, you have more uneven pressure going on. Is that any help?

  11. Catherine

    …… I don’t understand the boy girl distinctions made here???? Is it because I’m female?

  12. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    It was a long time ago but I seem to remember it was primarily me saying that fellow pro decorators, many of whom are male and many of whom look down at something as “easy to use” as chalk paint, are missing a trick and need to get over themselves. It is an “artsy” product and it is not marketed particularly at all to the decorating trade, but we can still get our power tools out and get involved…

  13. Jim

    What is the spray wax you refer to? The link doesn’t go to a specific product.

  14. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    I received this from Wood Finishes where the link used to go.

    Spraying wax was quite big business in the 90’s when pine furniture was more popular but there’s not many doing it any more. For that reason we withdrew the product and have probably only had 2 enquiries in 3 years.

    Our page has been removed now.

    With kind regards – Laurence

  15. Joanne

    Hello Andy,

    Great blog with great advice for the novice.

    I cannot afford an expensive hand tool to buff for a perfect finish can you suggest a budget machine that includes the woolly pads and that can sand too?

  16. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    Hi Joanne

    Try Flex tools for inexpensive (as well as expensive!) sanders. The sheepskin pad was from Mirka, a 6″. I am not familiar with real budget kit, it always seems to work out more expensive

  17. Clair

    Thanks for all the tips and advice about chalk painting. I’m just wondering- I have a piece of finished wooden furniture that’s a cherry wood colour. I’ve never like the cour of it but liked the piece. I was going to chalk paint it but it’s got decoupage on it and I don’t think It would be very successful. Im wondering if I could apply some dark wax to it to slightly darken the finish of the wood? Would the work or does the wax only work on top of chalk paint?

  18. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    There are a few options for sealing decoupage, the original medium is thinned down wood glue, or it could be a polyurethane or an acrylic varnish. Varnish would take wax without any issue. If wax affected wood glue, we would all be in trouble!

    I wouldn’t expect any issues, but as ever, please test in an out the way spot first.

  19. Clair

    Andy thank you so much for the quick response. I will try it out tomorrow. Your help is much appreciated! 🙂

  20. Becky

    I am in the middle of painting a bedroom set I am just about to complete my second coat of paint and wanted to use your waxing approach however my orbital sander is not a body shop model just a standard sander will this still work in the same way? Any help greatly appreciated.

  21. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    Hi, it is a matter of a quick test piece. The only real “issue” I can envisage is perhaps the speed of your sander. With a variable speed I would set on lowest speed to buff the wax initially, so you can get it set off without rubbing through. If you are concerned, you could hover it so to speak without pressure, just let the sheepskin skim over the surface no weight down on it. If you don’t feel in control of it, just do the process manually, elbow grease rarely fails.

  22. miller


    I have my chalk paint and I have my wardrobe to paint. I didn’t know I had wax. Do I have to wax? I bought Paris grey. By the sounds of it the wax may turn it into murky grey. I don’t want that. If I don’t wax what will happen? Many thanks.

  23. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    Your chalk paint will not go muddy if you use the soft wax, but if you don’t wax, the chalk paint won’t hang around long enough for you to enjoy it!! It has the durability of wax when waxed, but on its own, it is hopeless.

  24. Gill

    Hi, thanks for the informative post.
    I would love to re-vamp a shelving unit of mine with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. It is currently light oak with a kind of ‘laminated’ finish (very smooth).
    Do you think it would take? Also, would I need to sand after waxing? Is this just to give it a ‘distressed’ look? So if I wanted a nice clean finish, could I skip the sanding at the end? I’m soo bad/lazy when it comes to DIY so anything that isn’t necessary is just a waste of time in my book ????
    Thanks in advance.

  25. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    It is suitable for all surfaces like that. Annie Sloan recommends smoothing down after the first wax coat, as there will be no dust. If you have a dust extractor you can also sand the chalk paint smooth without a mess! It does sand down very smooth, but generally it seems to be sanded to create a distressed worn effect.

  26. Gee

    I have spray car wax, (bought my mistake by my son) could I use this over my chalk paint, it is only a smallish wooden corner tv unit, mostly hidden anyway.

  27. Gill

    Thanks for the reply, I’m definitely going to give it a go!

  28. Debbie

    I have a pine dresser that I want to paint a solid flat colour, I am confused now as to whether to paint using Little Green paint or Annie Sloan. It appears to have a wax over the pine so do I need to strip off the wax with the Krud Kutters cleaner for either paint or only Little Green? With the Annie Sloan do I then just paint the paint straight onto the pine without primer or undercoat?

  29. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    strip off the wax with the Krud Kutter cleaner for Little Greene (or any conventional paint)

    With the Annie Sloan, clean off any dust and muck, sand any rough areas. Otherwise I would paint straight onto smooth clean pine without primer or undercoat.

  30. Rachel C

    Im having trouble getting Annie sloan clear wax.. is there any other product that has similar effect?

  31. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    Check out this use of chalk paint protected with Patina a polyurethane gel we get in the UK. It isn’t water white like Annie Sloan clear wax, but if it is appropriate tinge, it is tough.

  32. judy

    Im using a caramel coloured chalk paint, and a clear wax. As soon as I touch the wax onto the paint I get a dark mark or smear that will not rub out, I tried a cloth to apply it as well and the same thing happens, I have only ever used white paint before. So what am I doing wrong?

  33. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    When you apply “clear wax” it does darken. Are you just trying one wipe and seeing this “smear” or is there a smear when you have waxed the whole surface?

  34. Margaret Redpath

    hi, what can i clean my cloths with after using annie sloan clear wax? thank you.

  35. Meri Predico

    Once I have painted with the chalk paint can I write something with chalk then put on the wax or will I have to cover the writing with something else

  36. Liz

    Hi, rather than furntiure I’m looking to update orange pine panelled walls in high-traffic areas of my home. Would the Annie Sloan chalk paint and the above techniques be suitable for the job I have in mind? I’m looking for a tidy matt look rather than distressed.
    Many thanks!

  37. Lesley

    Do you think Annie Sloan paint will stand up to wear in a kitchen. I intend to cover solid oak units.

  38. Joanne B

    This article contains useful information for the beginner, but it is incredibly sexist to the point of being offensive.

  39. Julia

    Joanne – you are kidding, right? Get over yourself,

  40. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    Hi @Margaret, look at soaking in a strong mix of degreaser. We use products like Pro Clean to dissolve cured wax on woodwork, so soaking should loosen the wax before washing.

    @Meri, waxing is quite a vigorous process so I can’t recommend writing on chalk paint with chalk

    @Liz you will get a tougher end result from preparing priming and a conventional premium grade eggshell, as mentioned throughout many case studies. Chalk paint is very easy to touch up, but as you mention specifically “high traffic”, I would say it is not the right spec here.

    @Lesley The level of traffic and how careful or not the users are is one aspect to consider when picking a paint to use. Waxed surfaces will not be as tough as the toughest acrylate paints, but just like the paintwork on your car, there is a limit to how hard you can hit any paint before it chips. To touch up chalk paint takes next to no time, which is a big bonus.

    The look of chalk paint compared to pristine immaculate matt paint finishes is an other consideration, which is a subjective choice.

    If painting oak, you want to check out the article on bleed through / leaching, https://traditionalpainter.com/annie-sloan-chalk-paint-bleed-through-beaten just so you know what to expect and what to do.

  41. gill

    I’ve sanded 1990’s pine bedside drawers with intention of a natural non shiny top and plinth with Annie Sloan painted sides and drawers. I have put knotting on the top surface. Do you know whether AS wax can be used without her paint and what is the colour finish likely to be with just using the clear wax? And, if the knotting solution will cause blotches under clear wax.
    Thanks in advance

  42. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    Hi Gill, the knotting is slightly pigmented and will show through a clear coating. If clear waxing straight on to natural timber, there is no call for knotting.

    The remedy is to sand the knotting out, leaving the top back evenly,

    If you were to clear wax over randomly knotted areas, you would see that clear wax will not obliterate any imperfections in the surface colour.

    It is clear to the extent that it is water wet, and gives natural timber a richer look. Annie Sloan wax is a carnauba based wax, which is common in the furniture world. http://www.anniesloan.com/annie-sloan-products/annie-sloan-waxes-and-finishes/annie-sloan-clear-soft-wax-217.html

  43. Jenny

    We have a disaster on our hands, please help! I have been painting 3 pieces with chalk paint for the last 3 days. I left for work today and my fiancé tried to help by applying clear wax to them all – he then left it on all day and now it won’t buff off, its a streaky white mess over black and green painted pieces. what can we do to fix this? or do we need to mineral spirit the pieces and start over?

  44. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    It sounds like the wax was applied very thick and although left on all day it probably still wasn’t dry when you tried to buff it? When it is dry, make sure it is as smooth as you would like, and then reapply the chalk paint. When the first coat has dried assess if you have the coverage you want, if not another diluted 10% coat will do it for a base. Then the trick is to apply thin layers of wax. Too little is better than too much, you can build up the layers and it will dry quickly between layers.

  45. Tom

    Hi Andy,
    I have 5 waxed and slightly grubby pine chairs to paint. My initial plan was to sand thoroughly(to remove wax), wipe with meths, prime with Zinsser123, one coat of Farrow&Ball Primer/Undercoat and then two coats of Farrow&Ball Eggshell. However, it has taken an hour to sand just one chair! I am starting to consider using chalk instead. Once chairs are de-greased and lightly abraded, am I right in thinking that I can apply chalk paint directly onto cleaned wax? Also, I have read on another website a recommendation to use polyeurathane water based varnish instead of wax over chalk paint for added durability and reduction of maintenance. Any advice on this? Many thanks, Tom

  46. Lori Green

    I was taught to put one coat of clear wax on first, then buff. Then If I wanted to use dark, to do it over clear, so it could be taken off with the clear if it was too dark. I see you put three coats of wax on before you buff and leave it for a few hours. I’ve even read where you should leave it on for 24 hours. Is it easy to buff doing it that way? I use my husbands electric buffer he bought to buff his boat! Works like a charm. But I haven’t ever put three coats on at once. Seems like a nice time saver though!!

  47. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    Wax is a very forgiving product; thin coats are best and only buff when it has dried enough to buff and not remove. Using a power tool in the way you describe certainly has its place, as does elbow grease and a bunch of clean cloths!

  48. Karen

    I iv used Anne’s chalky paint a few times now iv got the clear wax with brush how many coats before I sand?? Thank u so much x

  49. Jennifer S

    I’m torn about what to do with my chalk painted projects. I’ve been working on them for a few days, and it’s now time to wax. Do I sand the paint first? Or wax then sand? It seems silly to sand off the wax.

  50. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    Annie Sloan explained that the idea behind sanding the first coat of wax is to remove any nibs so it feels smooth to the touch, without creating any dust. It is absolutely not the intention to sand the wax off.

    From a pro decorator point of view, with dust extraction sanding, the chalk paint can easily be sanded back glassy smooth ready for a wipe with a tack cloth and then a couple of coats of wax.

  51. Viv Morf

    Can I use Little Greene absolute Matt over unwaxed Annie Sloan paint? I prefer the LG French grey to the AS paint that I’ve used.

  52. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    I wouldn’t. You could ask the store to supply you the chalk paint colours to mix close to the French Gray. When painted, protect with wax.

  53. Cindy

    I am going to chalk paint a pine piece to use as an Island in my kitchen. It will not be used as a work surface, just basically for more counter space. Would I be better off to use a polyurethane coat instead of the wax? I was told you can’t do poly over wax, so which finish would be the most protective? Thank you.

  54. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    You re right about polyurethane over wax and not convinced of a polyurethane varnish over chalk paint. Extra costings of wax for extra protection seems to be the route to go for chalk paint.

  55. Marj

    Hi, by sand after wax do you mean buff?

  56. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    Sand after wax: take a piece of 240 grade abrasive paper and sand it till it feels smooth to your touch. When it is smooth, you could then buff with a cloth or a sheepskin on a low revolution sander or polisher.

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