1 Painting with Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan
1.1 What prep work is necessary before painting? Do I need to strip? Sand? Prime? Shellac?
NO stripping, No sanding, No priming, No Sealing!! Honest! Shellac is a sealer—no sealing is needed. Chalk Paint® adheres to the surface better than any primer. (Only use shellac if a bleed through problem occurs, which is very uncommon. This is an unnecessary extra step too. See the section on shellac for more details.)
Make sure your surface is free of rust (unless you want that to show through) and loose paint. Painting over loose paint will not stabilize the failing substrate. You will need to sand that.
If the surface has chipped off paint, varnish, or veneer and you want the end result to be smooth, you will need to fill in the low lying areas. We recommend using Wood Icing™--extra creamy and easier to use than typical wood putties, it is also more cost effective. Wood Icing™ can be stained or painted. If a super smooth surface isn’t necessarily desired, Chalk Paint® can be applied thickly, creating texture that will cover up the imperfections on the surface.
Other than that, make sure your surface is clean and free of dust, dirt and grease. Sometimes a damp cloth will suffice. Other times (like kitchen cabinets) we recommend cleaning thoroughly. Although some people choose to use dish soap, tsp or tsp alternative, we highly recommend a non-toxic cleaner that will not leave behind a residue. (Do NOT use oil soap to clean!) We have found the best cleaner to be Basic H. It is a highly concentrated, non-toxic cleaner that will not leave a residue. We recommend mixing according to the directions for degreasing and using the green scratch side of a Scotchbrite™ sponge. That abrasive sponge aids in getting the surface extra clean while slightly deglossing for the best adhesion possible.
1.2 How much will a project pot (sample pot) of paint cover? How much will a quart of paint cover?
It depends on the color of paint you’ve chosen as well as the color of the piece you are painting over and the technique you are using. If you are doing a light barely-there coverage, you will get a lot more coverage than doing pure white over black and wanting completely opaque coverage. For full coverage, here are the average coverage rates.
A project pot will cover 18-25 sf. That is equal to one very thin coat on your front door. And you’ll need more than one coat if you want solid coverage.
A quart will cover 150-200 sf. Painting two coats on a kitchen table and 4 chairs – or – an average sized dresser and 2 end tables is achievable.
1.3 How long do you wait between coats of paint?
If you are working in ambient temperatures, as long as the paint has dried to touch, you are fine to paint a second coat. Typically this is only about 10-15 minutes so when you’ve finished the first coat, the area where you started is probably dry enough to start your second. Unlike latex paint, there is no waiting several hours between coats. If working over plastic or glossy surfaces, waiting until the first coat is fully dry is recommended which may take up to an hour.
1.4 How much paint do I need to paint my kitchen cabinets?
It will vary depending upon the type and color of wood your cabinets are and the color you want to paint them. For maximum durability, we recommend doing a full coverage application to ensure there is enough paint for the wax to soak into. You can look at your square footage and know that a quart covers 150-200 square feet and buy accordingly. Or, to make things a little easier, count your doors and drawers. If you are going to paint 2-3 coats of paint doing the fronts and backs of the doors, and the surrounding box exterior, one quart will cover approximately a section of cabinets with 4-5 doors and 2-3 drawers.
1.5 How do I minimize brushstrokes? Do you sand between coats of paint? What if I want a super smooth surface? Should I add water to my paint?
Unless there is something you see that you find objectionable, there is no need to sand between coats of paint or to sand before waxing. Only if you see something that isn’t to your liking do you need to sand. Even if you want a super smooth finish, it is unlikely you’ll need to sand. Instead, be sure your application is light and do 2-3 thin layers spreading out the paint as far as it will go. The more you fuss with the paint, the less smooth it gets. Don’t be a perfectionist and overwork the paint if you want a really smooth finish—you’ll get just the opposite of what you want to achieve.
1.6 I want a really smooth finish without brushstrokes. Should I add water to my paint?
Adding water to your paint will just minimize the coverage you get from it. Using a damp brush can create a smoother finish. The tiniest bit of water goes a really long way.
Are you sure you don’t want any brush strokes? If so and you really do want a factory sprayed look, you will need to spray your paint or use something different. You can get a very smooth, professional hand painted finish (which typically costs at least 30-50% more if you were paying someone else to do it) that feels like silk and in our opinion, much more luxurious without watering down the paint and using a brush. Come into one of our Fleurish Home locations to see and feel our pieces to decide how you want to finish your project.
1.7 When should I sand if I want to distress my piece in that manner?
It is best to sand after one coat of wax. Wait a few minutes for the wax to set up, then use 220 grit sandpaper to rub back to another layer of paint or the original surface. After sanding, apply another thin layer of wax to bring the color back to life and protect the surface properly.
If you want a highly distressed look where most of the paint will be sanded away, go ahead and sand first as the paint sands back very quickly and easily before it has been waxed. 220 is still recommended. Anything coarser creates unattractive scratch marks that does not make the piece look authentically worn.
1.8 Can I use steel wool to distress or do I have to use sandpaper? Can I use a sanding block?
Because Chalk Paint® is very matte and absorbent using steel wool to distress will most likely leave dark carbon marks on your surface and is therefore not recommended. 220 sandpaper is best for distressing. You can use a sanding block if you want—you are the artisan and the final finish look is your choice! We at Fleurish Home prefer sandpaper over a sanding block because you can maintain more control over the surface area and degree to which you distress with sandpaper. We actually use very small pieces of sandpaper even when doing a large project. In our experience, we find we not only have greater control, but prettier more authentic aging and use far less sandpaper than when using larger pieces or sanding blocks.
Fleurish Pro Tip: You can use #0000 steel wool over your properly waxed surfaces to increase the sheen of your finish. It can also be used along with a little bit of wax to buff out accidental drink rings left on your waxed table top.
1.9 Can I wet distress instead of sanding? What about using baby wipes?
Wet distressing needs to be done on a piece that has been painted that same day to work best. We like using a Better than Cheesecloth™ towel because of the nice sturdy texture it has. Baby wipes will leave behind a residue and can also leave white streaks. We only recommend wet distressing for plastic, metal, or previously finished pieces and only in small areas. It is never a good idea to get large areas of wood really wet. Sanding is a better method for large areas of wood surfaces.
1.10 Can I paint my walls with Chalk Paint®? Do I have to seal them with wax? What about for a bathroom?
Chalk Paint® is a very matte finish paint. It works beautifully on walls and can be rolled, brushed, or troweled for different looks. You can leave it matte or finish with a coat or two of wax for a different look. Because of its very matte finish, in a bathroom you will most likely see where water has splashed so waxing might be the better choice. If a matte finish is desired, a suitable good quality wall paint would work best.
1.11 What technique is used when painting fabric?
Painting fabric can be done with Chalk Paint® because it is not a film forming paint. You are essentially dying the fabric in place by using plenty of water with the paint and building up the color slowly using 2-4 layers allowing each to dry thoroughly between coats. Natural fibers are most successful: cotton, linen, and silk. We recommend wetting the surface, then adding paint and additional water as needed to achieve a thin layer of color. After color saturation is achieved, sand lightly with 220-320 grit sandpaper and wipe with a damp cloth for a soft supple hand. A layer or two of wax can also be added after this step but will change the look and feel to something like a thin leather or vinyl. Leather and vinyl paint beautifully without added water but thin layers and adequate dry time between coats is the key to a successful end result. We do recommend wax as it will give the look, feel and protection of the original surface. Sanding is typically not necessary on leather and vinyl either.
1.12 What do you do if there is “bleed-through”?
Use shellac as it is a stain blocker and will block the tannins from continuing to bleed through. (See the section on shellac for more details.)
1.13 I just need one coat right? If I do one really good coat, will I need another coat?
You need to ask yourself what look you want to achieve as an end result and what it is you are painting to answer that question. Painting is an art, not a science and many different looks and styles are easily achieved with Annie Sloan products.
If you want solid coverage, you will need more than one coat. You will spend less time and use far less paint doing 2-3 thin coats than trying to cover completely in one coat.
1.14 Can I paint my fireplace surround? If so should I seal with wax or lacquer?
Check with your local building code as these vary by county, but Chalk Paint® is not considered flammable so it will be allowed in most cases. As with any paint, it can burn and release carbon dioxide so caution should always be exercised around open flames. If it is a wood burning fireplace and the area will get hot, the wax may get a bit sticky, but after wax has cured the flammable solvent in it has dissipated leaving only beeswax and carnauba so it is fine. Allow the wax to fully cure before using your fireplace. If you are painting the hearth and it may be sat and walked upon, lacquer may be a better choice as it is designed for floors whereas wax is not. You don’t have to seal the paint at all either if you don’t want to as it probably doesn’t get a lot of handling. You can burnish it with 400 grit sandpaper and wipe with a damp cloth if you want to create a light sheen without wax or lacquer.
1.15 Can I paint my brick or stone fireplace? Or any brick or stone for that matter? How should I seal it?
Chalk Paint® is perfect for brick and stone! To paint, we recommend dampening the surface with water. The initial pass can be done with a spray bottle or spritzer. You want the surface to be damp as it is very absorbent and by wetting it you will help the paint absorb better. Keep a container of water at the ready to dip your brush into as needed. Using an Annie Sloan natural bristle paint brush (trust me those nice fat brushes will help tremendously in getting the job done!) dip your brush into the water and paint a little on the area where you want to start to paint. You’ll work in 1-2 square foot sections. Now dip the same brush into some paint and apply to the same area where you painted your water. If the paint is grabbing and biting into the surface too hard where it is difficult to spread, dip your brush back into the water and paint some more water into that same area. This will help spread your paint. You want to build up a couple of thin layers so that it soaks into that brick or stone. You will be left with a surface that still looks like brick or stone but a new color! It will not have that gross shiny painted look from the 70s—it will be beautiful and natural looking. No need to seal with anything. Be sure to always check with your local building code if painting a fireplace as these vary by county, but Chalk Paint® is not considered flammable so it will be allowed in most cases. As with any paint, it can burn and release carbon dioxide so caution should always be exercised around open flames.
1.16 How can I make Graphite Chalk Paint® black?
You can’t. Graphite will never be pure black. Annie considers the color harsh and prefers the more historical soft iron ore color of Graphite. You can, however, deepen the color if you so desire. Graphite has a slightly blue undertone to it and that seems to be the objection from customers most of the time. You can counterbalance that by adding a bit of Barcelona Orange paint into your Graphite paint. Orange is opposite blue on the color wheel, which when mixed becomes brown—neutral. By eliminated the blue cast, the paint appears darker and definitely becomes more neutral. Be careful not to add too much or you’ll create a deep espresso brown. Adding one 4 oz sample jar to your 32 oz quart will give you a good ratio. You can apply a layer of dark or black wax over the paint but keep in mind that wax will never product a solid color rather it will give a slightly mottled appearance. Be aware that applying dark or black wax without clear can result in a blotchy look so we recommend sealing the paint with clear wax first and then applying a thin coat of dark or black wax. Never paint on your dark wax and leave it that way. Wax always needs to applied thinly, removing an excess from the surface. We have samples at every Fleurish Home store showing various ways we’ve heard people suggest to get Graphite darker. Come on in and take a look at them and decide which way you like it best!
1.17 Can I use a roller or sprayer to apply Chalk Paint®? Do you use a roller?
Sure! You can run Chalk Paint® through a sprayer. You may or may not need to thin it depending upon the color you are using and the size tip you have on your sprayer.
You can also roll on the paint if that is the look you like. Annie intended for her paint to be used as a hand painted decorative finish but you can create any look you like with it.
Fleurish Pro Tip: Because the paint dries very quickly, we sometimes will use a combination of roller and brush on large surfaces in order to get a really smooth application if that’s the look we are wanting to achieve. The pink roller kits we sell in the shop work best. Other rollers can leave weird textures or orange peel looks, similar to a poorly executed spray finish. To keep the hand brushes look, roll a thin coat of paint on the surface, then immediately brush over the surface using a paint brush loaded with a small amount of paint.
1.18 Do I really need to use a special brush to apply Chalk Paint®?
It isn’t a requirement of course but we do highly recommend using a natural bristle brush. Natural bristle brushes provide the best coverage of the paint and the Annie Sloan oval brushes are by far the best tool for the application of Chalk Paint®. Even using just the small sized brush, you will go back to the can less often and work more quickly. If your budget won’t allow the purchase at first, the second best option would be one of our inexpensive furniture paint brushes as a good “starter” brush. They are thicker and shed less than the throw-away chip brushes from the hardware store and do a better job than a polyester or nylon brush. You might consider getting a couple of them to complete your project. Although they can be washed and reused, they do tend to get saturated and become a little floppy after a while making painting a little more tedious. Once washed and dried, they bounce right back though. If you choose to use your latex paint brush, you most likely will need to paint at least one extra coat so the small investment in the furniture paint brush more than pays for itself in time and paint.
1.19 How do I wash my paint brush?
Because Chalk Paint® is a water-based paint, clean-up is soap and water. Rinse your brush until the water runs clear. If you are just changing colors, no need to clean further or let dry. Just squeeze out the excess water and shake out well to remove as much water as possible and you can begin painting again right away. When you are finished painting for a few hours or the day, we recommend cleaning with our Big Fat Lye™ soap. Natural bristle brushes need extra care to stay at their best. The hair can become dry and brittle causing breakage and excessive shedding so using this specially formulated soap will clean and condition your bristles without leaving a residue on them keeping your brush at its best.
1.20 Can I paint over the wax? What if I’ve waxed my piece and I change my mind about the color?
Typically the answer would be no because water based products like latex paint or poly will not adhere to wax—the wax would need to be removed first. However, the unique properties of Chalk Paint® make it possible to paint over wax even though it is a water-based product! Make sure the wax has fully dried before repainting with Chalk Paint®. You might consider sanding lightly if your wax is very shiny and the cure time may be a bit longer so just be extra gentle with your piece for a couple of weeks if you’ve painted over the wax. Otherwise, it’s no problem to do so making changing your mind easy.
1.21 I want to do a paint wash technique. How much water should I add to my paint?
There isn’t one ratio that works in all situations. It depends on the color you are using, how thick your paint is, the temperature in the room and the look you want. How opaque or sheer do you want it to be? That can change your ratio drastically!
We never recommend adding water directly to your paint can. If you want to water down your paint, put it in a separate container. If you will be storing it for later use, use distilled water or it might get a little stinky. The impurities and minerals in tap water won’t be harmful but they can make for an unpleasant order if stored for an extended period in a well-sealed container. You’ll have to play around with the ratios until you find something you like. This could potentially lead to a pretty large amount of watered down paint! Instead, we recommend another method. Keep a bowl of water with you as you work. Paint a coat of plain water on the surface of your piece, then paint on some paint over the water. Now you can make adjustments on the spot. If it’s too sheer, add some more paint. If it’s too opaque, add some more water. Wipe off any excess with a towel. You can always wash it all off with a damp towel and start all over again if you need to! You have the ultimate open time and flexibility using this method.
1.22 Do I need to take a workshop? Or can I just watch some tutorials on YouTube?
No, you don’t have to take a workshop. Everyone on our staff is happy to walk you through the basics of how to paint and wax. We also give you a free “Getting Started Guide” that Annie Sloan wrote as an overview. Annie has written several wonderful books about painting as well. We recommend “Quick and Easy Paint Transformations” as the best step by step guide to all the basics and more including simple crackle, distressing, waxing, gilding, etc. “Colour Recipes for Painted Furniture” takes everything to the next level by talking more about mixing colors and choosing complementary colors and adds painting and dying fabric to the repertoire.
Annie places a high value on hands-on workshops. Our workshop participants, even those that have a lot of previous painting experience, find the workshops very informative and inspiring. We provide you with instant feedback to help you tweak your techniques and make the most out of your painting experiences, ensure you are waxing properly, and inspire you with creative applications and color combinations.
YouTube and the various tutorials found on blogs can sometimes be helpful but other times well-intentioned individuals giving advice simply don’t have the education or technical background to be teaching others and can give poor instructions. We hate the idea of you resorting to YouTube so please remember that we are always available to answer questions and offer free technical support anytime. Call or email us so we can help take out that learning curve for you.
1.23 What if I change my mind, can I remove the paint?
Sure—a paint stripper can be used to remove any wax and paint. We recommend a safe citristrip type product but only if you want to return to unfinished wood and strip past all finishes on the piece. Otherwise, if you just want to change the color, you can just paint over it with a fresh coat of Chalk Paint® in a new color.
1.24 Can I paint my kitchen countertops with Chalk Paint®?
Technically yes. The paint will adhere to laminate and other countertop materials. A little extra prep is recommended if you decide to go that route. For kitchens though, just because you CAN do it doesn’t mean you maybe SHOULD do it. Although we have several clients that have done so successfully, extra caution needs to be taken in the care of a painted countertop. Like laminate countertops, avoid cutting on the surface or placing anything hot on it. Like wood countertops, avoid standing water for extended amounts of time.
2 Waxing with Soft Wax® by Annie Sloan
2.1 Do I have to wax or can I just paint? What about for outside?
Annie’s paint and wax are designed to work together as a two-part system. The paint being chalky, matte, and absorbent will show burnish marks and finger prints, etc. is left unsealed. Clear Soft Wax is designed to absorb into the layer of paint creating a finish that is cleanable, wipeable and durable. The paint can be used outside, but the wax is not meant for exteriors. It will get warm and sticky in the sun (think candle and heat!) and is not meant to have standing water on it for extended periods of time (think dew in the mornings, rain, etc.).
If the exterior surface will be highly used, keep in mind that any flat paint will show wear and use more than a glossier surface. You can burnish the paint with 400 grit sandpaper to add sheen and cleanability to the paint if you want. Marine grade spar varnish could also be used if a glossier surface is desired but most likely isn’t necessary.
2.2 Should I sand my paint before waxing?
You will find the wax absorbs into your paint much better if you have not sanded. Sanding the paint burnishes it, compacts it, and makes it less absorbent making the waxing process more difficult than it needs to be. This is an unnecessary extra step that creates more work.
2.3 Wax vs Annie Sloan Lacquer: Which should I use? Is the wax durable for cabinets and kitchen tables?
First of all, let me say that no coating (other than a thick epoxy which is sturdy but scratches easily) is made to have standing liquid on them. All wood surfaces, regardless of finish (stain, paint, poly, lacquer, wax, etc.) should be used in conjunction with writing pads, placemats or tablecloths, and coasters. If you don’t want to use those things, you need to find yourself a stone, metal or plastic surface that can hold up to that kind of usage.
Annie Sloan herself recommends using wax for all indoor applications except floors. We agree but that is up to the individual to decide for him or herself what is best for their project and lifestyle. We’ll give you the pros and cons to help you decide.
Annie Sloan Lacquer
Water-based varnish is a very hard durable coating.
It is easy to wash down surfaces sealed with water-based varnish.
If any damage to the surface should occur, it is not easy to touch up. That touch up place will be seen and will look repaired unless the entire surface is stripped, taking away all the clear coat and paint, making you refinish from scratch.
You must be very sure handed in applying any clear coat sealers like poly, varnish, or Annie Sloan Lacquer. Watch out for drips and runs! Do not over brush or the surface will look uneven and dull in areas. Be careful to not be heavy handed or the surface will be cloudy—that is irreversible. Be sure to stir regularly to ensure the flattening agent is evenly dispersed throughout the application. Never shake any clear coat as that produces air bubbles that will remain in your final finish.
Clear Chalk Paint® Wax
Easy to apply. Clear wax will not show overlap marks.
Easy to maintain and repair. If any damage to the surface should occur, it can be easily touched up. Remove the wax from the area where the booboo occurred with low odor mineral spirits (use the kind in the metal can, not the “safe” alternative in the plastic container). This will not remove the paint. Re-wax and it’s good as new again in a couple of minutes.
Should the wax wear away in high use areas (flatware drawer front, kitchen table, etc.), it can be re-waxed quickly and easily. How often do you need to re-wax? If the surface looks dull or doesn’t feel as smooth as it once did, try buffing with a buffing brush. If the sheen doesn’t return, it’s time to re-wax. You do not need to do everything, only the areas where the wax has worn down.
Once cured, wax is food safe and non-toxic.
Although wax dries hard, it isn’t as hard or thick as a varnish so you need be aware that there can be some on-going maintenance that you wouldn’t have with a varnish (unless damage occurs).
Dark and Black wax do not touch up easily—you will see overlap marks and where you’ve stopped and started your application. Washing dark waxes surfaces can wear away areas of the dark wax causing the surface to look uneven. Dark and Black wax can transfer onto your clothing as it doesn’t dry as hard as the clear and when warmed (by rubbing for example) can transfer more easily making it not the most practical choice for highly used areas like kitchen tables and cabinets. We don’t personally every recommend colored waxes for high use surfaces such as kitchen cabinets and tables. ONLY use CLEAR WAX for HIGH USE AREAS.
2.4 How do I apply clear wax?
You can apply the wax with a cloth or brush. A cloth will waste up to about 30% wax because it absorbs the wax almost as much as the paint does. This can make it difficult to know how much the cloth is absorbing vs how much your painted piece is absorbing. Corners and detailed areas may be difficult to wax using a cloth as well.
For clear wax, we recommend using a Waxwell™ or Waxine™ wax brush. This is the easiest method and there is almost no waste. The brushes are designed to massage the wax into the paint and do much of the work for you. You are not simply painting the wax on the surface, rather you are rubbing it into the paint with the same pressure you would use if you were rubbing lotion into your skin. No need to work hard or apply strong pressure. Massage it into the paint working in small sections—about one square foot at a time works well. Don’t overwork the wax and spend an excessive amount of time rubbing it in. When you do that, you are buffing the wax in place and leaving too much wax on the surface. And you are working too hard! After massaging the wax into this small area, immediately wipe off the excess using a lint-free cotton towel. We like the Better than Cheesecloth™ towels because they are sturdy and absorbent. The motion is similar to wiping crumbs from a table prior to washing it. You are NOT rubbing back and forth and buffing the wax at this point in the process. Excess wax will absorb into the cloth and/or move onto the next section of the piece to absorb into the paint there.
2.5 How do I apply white wax?
Because the white wax is very creamy and light, if you choose white wax you will apply it directly onto your paint instead of clear wax. You will get the best results if you have a bit of texture and brush strokes in your paint so there is something for the white to grab onto.
2.6 How do I apply the dark (golden brown) wax or black wax?
You can apply the dark or black wax with a cloth or brush. The dark or black wax will always be applied over a layer of clear wax. This can be done right away or at any point down the road. Some people find it easier to apply the dark/black wax over fairly fresh clear wax. Other people find it easier to apply dark/black wax to a clear waxed surface that has been buffed to a nice sheen. Experiment and decide which way you like it! This is an art—not a science. Rarely is there only one right way to do something when it comes to painting and waxing.
Because you are working over a sealed surface, the dark/black wax is applied differently than the clear. You are not massaging the dark/black wax into a surface. The dark/black wax is gliding on the clear wax surface. Our preferred method of application is a pointed Annie Sloan wax brush. The softer looser bristles work great to glide the wax on the surface quickly and easily. If that isn’t in the budget, use on of our furniture paint brushes. The 1”, 2”, and 3” sizes all work beautifully!
Fleurish Pro Tip: Add just a little bit of mineral spirits to your dark/black wax to make it easier to apply. The dark/black wax should quickly glide across your clear waxed surface. To give you more time to work with it, we like to get our dark/black wax just a little bit looser—making it the consistency of pudding. Don’t overdo it! It isn’t too much that you’ve broken down the wax to the degree that it is mostly mineral spirits (not a “glaze”) and no longer providing protection, it’s only enough to loosen it up a bit. We think you’ll love how much easier it is to control and manipulate!
2.7 What kind/ brand of wax brush should I use?
For clear and white wax, we recommend using a Waxwell™ or Waxine™ wax brush. This is the easiest method and there is almost no waste. The brushes are designed to massage the wax into the paint and do much of the work for you. Using a pointed Annie Sloan wax brush paints the wax on the surface and you will need to rub it into the paint using “plenty of clean cloths” (Annie’s words).
For dark/black wax, we recommend using an Annie Sloan pointed wax brush or one of our natural bristle flat furniture paint brushes.
2.8 How should I wash my wax brush? Can I use dish soap or mineral spirits? Or can I just store it in plastic wrap between uses?
First of all, NEVER soak a brush! This can cause irreparable damage and is unnecessary. We don’t recommend grease cutting dish soaps or mineral spirits unless you are in a pinch and those are your only options. The dish soap, in addition to cutting through the wax, also strips away the natural moisture in the hair of your brush. Much like shampooing your hair and skipping the conditioner, your bristles will become dry and brittle leading to excessive breakage and loss. Mineral spirits are harsh and cleaning with soap and water afterward is recommended so why do an extra step?
We recommend Big Fat Lye™ (or the smaller sized Little White Lye) soap. The soap is specially formulated for cleaning your brushes-- it will clean and condition your brush without leaving behind a residue that can later transfer over to your next project. This soap will keep your brush in its best condition. You’ve invested in good brushes—keep them in good shape!
Run your brush under warm water and then over your bar of soap and massage the soap into the bristles to build a lather. Rinse well. If your brush is extra waxy you may need to lather it up twice. Squeeze out all excess water and shake until no more water drips from the brush. Hang or lay on a towel to dry. A free care card containing these instructions is included with every Waxwell™ and Waxine™ purchase. We also care for our Annie Sloan wax and paint brushes and all other natural hair brushes using this same method.
Do not store your brush in plastic between uses. The wax will dry out near the ferrule and leave behind what looks like dandruff on your next project. Washing your brush is so fast and easy! You can even use your brush while it is still slightly damp without issue.
2.9 Do I just need one coat of wax or more?
One coat of wax is probably sufficient on most pieces. Take a look at the piece—if the sheen is uneven, you probably need a second coat of wax to even out the application.
2.10 Do I need a lot of wax to protect my cabinets?
Wax should always be used thinly—you will never use “a lot” of wax over Chalk Paint®. 2-3 thin coats is ideal for highly used surfaces such as cabinets and kitchen table tops.
2.11 How long between coats of wax?
It is best to wait 24 hours between coats of wax to allow the wax to dry fully.
Waxing Chalk Paint® is not like waxing your car. It is not a heavy layer that is later buffed off. It is not a topcoat sitting on the surface of the paint rather it is a thin layer that absorbs into the paint much like lotion absorbs into your skin. Applying more than one coat of wax is not done to get a thicker coat of wax rather it is to achieve even absorption. The wax will soak into the areas that need it and move on past the areas that have fully absorbed it already.
2.12 My wax looks streaky—did I use too much wax?
Not necessarily. Most likely, the wax application is just uneven. We recommend using a flat bottom style wax brush like the Waxine™ or Waxwell™ wax brush to apply the wax and immediately wiping off any excess with a Better than Cheesecloth™ towel to get the most even coverage. If it looks streaky, allow to dry overnight and then apply a second thin layer of wax. It will absorb where it needs to and move on where it is already fully absorbed into the paint.
2.13 How much wax should I use?
The 500mL tin of clear wax should cover approximately 3-4 quarts worth of paint.
The 100mL mini tin of clear wax will cover less than one quart of paint.
White wax is a bit less and the dark and black because they are used over the clear go much further.
2.14 When should I use colored wax? Is colored wax or clear wax better?
Clear wax is the “need it, want it, love it”! Clear wax will give you your protection and must always be used. Dark wax is an optional second layer of wax that will give you a warm, golden brown antiquing effect and aged patina and black wax will give you an industrial warehouse vibe.
The wax soaks into the absorbent layer of paint which is why you want to use clear to seal it. If you put dark/black wax straight onto the paint, it will stain the paint turning it dark and making it blotchy. So, it isn’t a matter of one being better. Clear wax is your sealer. Dark and black wax is more of a surface treatment and decorative effect. White wax will seal and give you a decorative effect but isn’t as forgiving as clear wax.
2.15 Can I use mineral spirits in my dark and black wax?
Yes! If your dark wax starts to get a little thick, you can add a splash of mineral spirits to soften it again. We caution again using a lot of mineral spirits with the dark wax to create a glaze though. Why? Because by rubbing this mixture over your clear wax you will remove some of it diminishing that protective layer. On light pieces this can lead to staining of the paint as well. Using a paint wash before waxing is a safer way to get that kind of look. So if you choose to use this mineral spirit/dark wax “glaze”, just be aware of the potential pitfalls and be cautious. Do not add mineral spirits to your clear or white wax. You will only diminish the protective qualities of the wax.
2.16 Can I use the dark/black wax straight over dark colors like Graphite?
Even over dark colors like Graphite, we still recommend clear wax first. The dark/black wax will bite into the paint and create an uneven blotchy application and is hard to manipulate without a layer of clear on first.
2.17 Do I have to buff my wax?
But don’t confuse buffing with removing excess wax during the application process. When applying wax, excess must be removed immediately. Buffing happens later, after the wax has fully dried—at least an hour, but as long as overnight. Buffing creates a beautiful soft sheen but if more of a matte finish is desired, you do not need to buff.
2.18 What is the difference between buffing and polishing? What is the process?
Buffing and polishing are the same thing—the words are synonyms. This is the process of rubbing wax that has been allowed to dry (we recommend at least an hour, Annie likes to wait overnight although that much time is not necessary and can sometimes make the process more laborious). Rubbing the wax vigorously helps harden the wax and creates a beautiful sheen. This step is not a requirement but it is recommended for high use surfaces as it does increase the durability of the wax. Buffing/polishing is NOT to be confused with removing excess wax during the application process. That is a different motion and is necessary.
2.19 My wax feels sticky and shows fingerprints. Can I fix it?
Yes! The wax was just applied a bit too heavy-handed. This is common for first time users especially. See the next question for remedy solutions.
2.20 How do I know if I used too much wax? What do I do if I used too much wax?
Your piece should feel dry to touch immediately. If it is tacky, sticky or wet, you’ve used too much wax. If it only a little heavy, allowing extra dry time/cure time may be enough. A little heavier, try buffing vigorously with a buffing brush. A little heavier still? Try a bit of fine sandpaper, 320 or 400 grit. This will warm the wax and the excess will clog up in the sandpaper. Really heavy wax that has remained tacky for more than a couple of days will require mineral spirits to remove the excess. Remember to turn your cloth often and use plenty of cloths. This will remove the wax but not the paint. A new, thin layer of wax may be necessary when you are done.
2.21 What if I apply the dark wax and change my mind? If it’s too dark can I remove the dark wax?
You can do a few different things. As long as you applied a coat of clear wax prior to applying your dark wax (as you should), you can correct it quite easily. If it’s a bit too dark, try using a cloth with the clear wax on it to remove some of the dark wax. The cloth is absorbent and the solvent in the clear wax will “erase” some of the dark wax without removing all the wax layers. If you don’t want any dark wax, mineral spirits can be used to remove it. Wipe off the wax with a cloth soaked in mineral spirits, turning the cloth often and changing cloths often. This will remove both the dark and clear wax so you will probably need to reapply some clear wax when you are done but your paint will remain intact.
3 LACQUER and OTHER TOPCOATS
3.1 What is the difference between lacquer and shellac? When should I be using these products?
Annie Sloan Lacquer is NOT lacquer. Unfortunately, it does not bear the best name and can be confusing. “Lacquer” is a very hard solvent based topcoat high in VOCs. Annie Sloan Lacquer is a water-based varnish, soap and water cleanup and differs from other water-based varnishes and polyurethanes in that it is a penetrating sealer made to soak into the paint rather than sit on top. Annie Sloan Lacquer is made to go hand in hand with Chalk Paint® as a sealer for the paint on floors and surfaces that will be walked on.
Shellac is a UV resistant stain blocker and odor blocker and sealer. Use shellac IF you notice bleed through from wood tannins to stop the tannins from coming through on your painted surface. This tannin bleed through is not common so only use shellac when that occurs. Shellac will also block musty or smoky odors in your “rescued” pieces of furniture.
Shellac is a wonderful sealer for imitation leaf. Because it is not water-based, it will not tarnish the metallic leaf. (Shellac is not oil based either, rather it is alcohol based and cleaned with ammonia or denatured alcohol.)
Shellac is a renewable resource, non-toxic when dry (It’s even been approved by the FDA as a candy coating! Fun fact!), an excellent primer and sanding sealer (although Chalk Paint® is even better if that will be your end product), and dries clear and quickly allowing you to get on with your project in short order. It has a shelf life of 1-3 years so it’s best to test older product before using. Spray a bit onto glass. If it hardens quickly, it is still good. If it remains tacky, it needs to be replaced.
On Zinsser® shellac, you can find the date coded as follows:
The batch code on the shellac should always be a 6- or 7 digit number, beginning with a letter. For example: S01231D
The first number after the letter will be the last digit in the year of manufacture
The second character will correspond to the month; O, N or D for October, November or December, otherwise the single number for the month.
The third and fourth numbers will relate to the actual day of the month.
In this case a batch code reading S01231D will have been made in the year 2010, in the month of January, on the 23rd day.
The Bullseye Shellac will have a shelf life of three years.
3.2 If I need to use shellac, how long does it need to dry before I paint over it?
Shellac dries in 15 minutes and can be recoated in 30-45 minutes.
3.3 Can I use poly or something similar instead of wax? What about on outdoor furniture?
We don’t ever recommend using poly because it is not a penetrating sealer—it will sit on top of the paint and eventually peel off. It can also change the color of your paint and possibly yellow over time depending on the type you use. For most pieces, Clear Soft Wax is our preferred method of finishing your project. For floors we recommend Annie Sloan Lacquer.
Although the paint is interior-exterior, neither the wax nor Annie Sloan Lacquer is intended for outdoor use. You can leave your pieces unsealed and they will wear naturally with time. If a sealer is desired, only marine spar varnish is made to withstand the elements.
3.4 How do you apply Annie Sloan Lacquer?
Start on the far end of the room and work your way out. No shoes on the floor—its best to work in stocking feet or wear booties over your shoes to be sure no marks get sealed into the finish. Use a high quality sponge roller designed for use with clear coats and a sponge brush for edging. Stir well before using—never shake it. Up to 10% water can be added to the first coat to ensure a thin layer is applied that will dry quickly. Let the first coat dry 1-2 hours. Apply the second coat in the same manner, full strength and allow to dry overnight before walking on it with shoes. You can place furniture on it the next day but do not slide the furniture across the floor! Your surface needs a couple weeks to cure hard.
3.5 Can I apply Craqueleur over wax?
No, wax is always the final step. Water-based products (like Craqueleur, poly, latex paint) will not adhere to wax.
3.6 How do you apply Craqueleur? Mine isn’t cracking.
Most likely it is cracking but you just can’t see it until you’ve completed all the steps.
Craqueleur is a two-step process. Be sure to do both steps in the correct order and allow step 1 to dry completely before applying step 2. Apply step 1 in a thin even coat across the entire surface. Apply step 2 in a thin even coat across the entire surface. To get the best results, use a hair dryer to heat the surface so that it dries more quickly. The heat also aids in the cracking. Sitting your piece in a sunny window can also work in the summertime although probably not in the winter. If you’ve done all of that there will be cracks. If you apply really really thin, the cracks will just be very small. Many times because the Craqueleur is a clear coat varnish, the cracks appear very subtle. Apply a coat of dark wax with a cloth allowing the wax to settle into the cracks while gently wiping off of the surface to fully expose the texture.
3.7 My Craqueleur has yellowed. I thought it was supposed to be clear.
It is clear. If, however, you apply step 2 too thickly, it will have a yellow cast.
4 VS OTHER PAINTS
4.1 Why is Annie Sloan best? Isn’t it just another brand of “chalk paint”? How is Annie Sloan different from the other chalky paints and furniture paints at other stores?
Annie Sloan IS Chalk Paint® period. Chalk Paint® is the brand name of Annie’s decorative paint. Just like Pepsi® is a brand of cola, Chalk Paint® is NOT a TYPE of paint. There is much confusion on the internet by uninformed or misinformed individuals that just don’t know any better. It is called Chalk Paint® for its chalky look and feel but that is the only similarity to other paints. Any paint with a flat finish could be described as “chalky” and most of these other paint (the box store brands for example) are repackaged flat finish latex house paint. There are other “mineral” paints on the market, some of which, like “lime paint” have been around for centuries. Lime paint was one of the inspirations behind the formulation of Annie’s decorative paint. These vary greatly in their composition, quality and workability. If formulated properly, a mineral binder creates a permanent bond to the surface rather than forming a film on top of the surface like latex acrylic does.
4.2 So can’t I just make my own “chalk paint”?
Chalk Paint® is not simply a paint with chalk added to it. It is not made by adding plaster of Paris or grout or even baking soda to an existing paint. Starting with a latex paint is the first issue—latex is a film forming paint whereas Chalk Paint® is not film forming. Chalk Paint® is breathable and flexible. Secondly, by adding ingredients to latex paint, you fluff up the paint making it a flatter finish and stretching how far it covers but you are also voiding any warranties by the manufacturer because now you have broken down the binder—the very thing that makes it stick—and diminished its ability to bond to the surface! Making your own paints at home can be a lot of fun, so for inspiration and ideas on paints that you can make at home, please refer to one of Annie Sloan’s many books about making paint and traditional paint recipes and consider trying one of those.
4.3 Does Chalk Paint® contain chalk?
All paints contain at least a little bit of “chalk” but that is not what makes Chalk Paint® special. It does not have a lot of chalk in it at all! Annie decided upon this name for her brand of decorative paint because of how her product looks and feels. Using a large amount of chalk actually makes for a poor quality product. Chalk does not make paint stick—it is not a binder. Keep in mind that combining the individual ingredients of any product do not always make for the same end result. For example a loaf of bread and a cake both contain the same ingredients with very different end products. And not every loaf of bread or cake is the same either. Many variable including the amounts and quality of each ingredient among other factors change the end product tremendously.
4.4 Are Chalk Paint® and milk paint the same thing? What’s the difference?
Milk paint is a type of paint that has been around for centuries using casein (milk protein), lime and pigments. It comes in powdered form (so-called milk paint sold in liquid form is not real milk paint) and must be mixed with water to create liquid paint. Because it contains milk protein, the paint has a short shelf life once mixed and works best if used the same day. It can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days if necessary but isn’t recommended. It has a flat finish and is environmentally friendly. It must be sealed for stability with wax or varnish. Milk paint works best over new wood. If painting over an existing finish, proper prep work is required (sanding at minimum) and a bonding agent should be added to the paint. The results can be somewhat unpredictable sometimes creating a “chippy” finish that mimics old paint chipping off of the surface.
Milk paint was one of the inspirations behind Annie Sloan’s unique formula for her Chalk Paint® decorative paint. It has the same flat finish and is also environmentally friendly with zero VOCs. It comes pre-mixed so each batch is consistent and will not spoil as long as it is well-sealed in an airtight container and not allowed to freeze. The bonding qualities of Chalk Paint® are unmatched by any other paint or primer on the market and no prep other than cleaning the surface is necessary prior to using.
4.5 Is Chalk Paint® the same as chalkboard paint?
Not at all! Chalk Paint® is matte enough that it can be used like a chalkboard but chalkboard paint is not an appropriate product for painting furniture or cabinets. Although the names may sound a bit similar, they are two totally different things.
5.1 Do I need to seal my gilding leaf? Do I need to seal my gilding wax?
Metallic leaf should be sealed with either shellac or wax. Clear or dark wax can be used.
Gilding wax is a wax, so no other sealer is needed. If you put another coat of wax on top, the solvent in that wax will remove some or all of the metallic wax. Wax is always the last step in any project: clear, then colored (including metallics).
6.1 Does Annie Sloan ever put products on sale?
Annie Sloan retailers are independent shops, not a franchise, so special events are up to the individual retail shop. Annie discourages discounting and will not allow her products to be sold on third party websites or decanting into different container—product integrity is of upmost importance. She does, however, encourage hands-on workshops and one way she has recommended thanking workshop participants is “rewarding” them with a 10% discount the day of the event. We agree and do participate in the initiative.
6.2 How do I care for my painted and waxed furniture?
Care is the same as with any wood furniture. That being said, there is much abuse being done out there unknowingly! Wood furniture should not be placed directly over or in front of vents or radiators. Wood furniture should not be placed in direct sunlight. These practices can damage the wood regardless of how they are finished.
Most furniture polishes should be avoided as they contain silicone which hinders the wood’s breathability and caused “build-up”. Dry dusting is best and the recommended cleaning method for painted and waxed surfaces. Should cleaning be required, a damp soapy cloth will work most of the time. More rigorous cleaning can be done successfully with a chamois to remove stains. If something more permanent has happened (Sharpie® marker, nail polish remover, etc.), the wax can be removed with mineral spirits (the real stuff in the metal can, not the “safe” alternative in the plastic container) which will remove the wax and the booboo along with it leaving the paint intact. (Mineral spirits removes solvent based products and will not remove water based products like Chalk Paint®.) Re-wax and your surface is good as new in a couple of minutes!