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Dark wax? How do I dark wax?

After I posted photos of the new bench yesterday, I’ve had a couple people ask me how I achieved the aged patina, and what to do with dark wax. I’ll try to explain it here, but will “show” you in my next post. I’m currently working on a small bench, and will use the same techniques – and photograph them, so you can “see” what I mean.

For the curvy white bench, I painted first with Annie Sloan chalk paint in Old White. I gave it a coat, wait ed for it to dry, and then gave it another coat.

Next I rubbed on Annie Sloan clear wax. Her waxes come in clear and dark, and have the consistency of Crisco. The clear wax leaves no color, but bonds with the paint to provide a protective seal. It definitely gives the paint a deeper hue, and just the tiniest bit of sheen. You can buff (rub with a clean cloth) the wax after a day of drying to give it a higher shine if you prefer (I did not do that).

So, I had rubbed the clear wax over the entire piece. I use a big wax brush to apply clear wax – it really got the wax into crevices and those turned spindle legs. Then I used fine sandpaper and distressed the edges by gently rubbing the white paint away until I could see the wood underneath. If I had planned to NOT patina the piece, I would have then just clear waxed the distressed areas again to give it the final seal. And I would have been done. But, since I thought the piece was just too bright white for the white fabric on the cushion, and the look I was going for was shabbier, I decided to try some dark wax.

It’s funny – I was afraid of dark wax before this project. And my plan for this bench was just a clear wax coat – no tricky business. But, like all the experts said at the Annie Sloan workshop I went to, “let the piece tell you what to do.” And it did. It called for dark wax.

To apply dark wax here’s what you do: you take a lint-free cloth (I purchased a bag of them from Lowes, and they are basically clean unused t-shirts torn into small pieces) and dap it into the tin of dark wax. Then you rub it on to a small space of your furniture. Always work in small spaces.  After you have rubbed it on, use a clean cloth to wipe it away. You’ll immediately notice the patina – or aged, brownish appearance. It especially settles into cracks, crevices and the places where you distressed. For a carved piece of wood, or furniture with a lot of detailing, the dark wax really emphasizes those beautiful areas!

So, I applied the dark wax with the cloth, and then rubbed off the excess. If there is too much patina in some places, you can actually take some of the clear wax on a cloth and rub it over the patina area and it removes it! The clear wax acts like an eraser! Pretty cool, huh?

“Wax on, wax off”…you know that reference, right? At least if you grew up with the original Karate Kid – not the cheesy, new version with the Will Smith kid that Saxon insisted was a girl. (but, that’s for another blog)

After you’ve wiped off all the dark wax, you are done. In my next post, I’ll provide the photos for each step, so you have a better understanding of what each part looks like.

Until then, happy painting!

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