How to Apply Wax to Chalk Paint

One of the reasons why DIY furniture flippers choose chalk paint is its beautiful chalky, matte finish. It can be easily distressed as well, making it a great choice for giving furniture a rustic, weathered look. 

But the one major downside of chalk paint is that it’s not as durable as the other furniture paints. It scratches scuffs easily, and it can be rubbed off with a damp towel and a bit of elbow grease. That’s why it’s important that you seal chalk-painted furniture with a top coat to protect it.

Among all the top coats available, finishing wax is the most popular for chalk paint. 

In this post, you’ll learn how to apply wax to chalk paint.


A finishing wax top coat on a chalk-painted surface provides added protection and durability, prolonging the life of the chalk paint. You can apply it with either a round brush or a clean lint-free cloth or rag.

Applying Chalk Paint Wax (with a Brush or Rag)

Any DIY enthusiast with experience with chalk paint can tell you what happens if you don’t wax chalk paint; it gets scuffed and scratched very easily. 

Applying wax to protect your chalk paint finish is key. Below are the supplies and steps you need to do so:

Tools and Supplies

  • Clear finishing wax intended for furniture (Annie Sloan Chalk paint wax is a great choice)
  • (Optional) Dark finishing wax  
  • Clean rag, wax brush, or a similar round brush (for applying wax)
  • Lint-free cloth or rag (for removing excess wax)
  • (Optional) Lint-free cloth/rag or polishing brush (for buffing wax)
  • (Optional) Paper plate

Step 1. Let the last coat of chalk paint dry completely

Before you can apply wax to a chalk-painted surface, you’ll need to make sure that the chalk paint is dry first. Wait 24 hours after applying the last coat of paint. 

If you chose to distress your chalk paint before applying the wax, make sure to clean the surface of any paint dust before applying wax to the chalk paint.

Step 2. Scoop out a dollop of wax and place it on a paper plate (Optional)

If you don’t want to directly dip your brush into the can of wax, you can scoop out a dollop of the wax with a disposable plastic knife. Wipe your scooped-out wax onto a paper plate.

If you’re fine with dipping your brush into the can of wax, you can skip this step.

Step 3. Load up some wax onto the tip of a brush

Dip the brush into the wax, making sure that you only get just a small amount of wax on the bristles. Don’t load up too much wax as it can result in unevenness in the finish. Apply small amounts at a time. 

Alternatively, you can use a clean rag to apply your wax. You can lightly dip the end of your rag into your can of wax to pick up a small amount of wax.

Step 4. Brush the wax onto the painted surface

Apply the wax in loose crisscross or side-to-side motions with your brush. If using a rag, lightly wipe the wax on in loose circular motions.

Apply wax in small sections at a time so that you can ensure even coverage on the furniture and so that you don’t miss areas. 

Step 5. Remove any excess wax using a clean lint-free cloth

Lightly wipe off any excess wax built up on your furniture. Often, this buildup is in the corners and crevasses of your furniture. Be careful not to rub or scrub the surface too hard when wiping away excess wax. Doing so may result in an uneven sheen.

After removing the excess wax, try lightly running your finger along the surface of your painted furniture. If there’s a trail or streak from your finger, there is probably too much wax on the surface. Continue to wipe the excess wax from the area again.

Step 6. Apply dark wax (Optional)

If you want to give your furniture an aged look without distressing it, you can do so with dark wax. You can only apply dark wax to a chalk-painted surface after applying one coat of clear wax. 

Applying dark wax is a similar process to applying clear wax. You can also choose to only apply dark wax on selected areas. Use a fresh cloth to wipe away excess dark paint as you go. 

Step 7. Let the wax cure completely

You don’t need to buff your wax. But if you want to, let the wax dry for 24 hours or overnight before buffing it. If not, allow the wax to cure in a dust-free location with good ventilation. Allow the wax to cure for two weeks before moving the furniture to any high-traffic areas of the house.

How Soon Can You Wax After Applying Chalk Paint?

Before you apply wax to chalk paint, you must make sure that the chalk paint is completely dry. And while chalk paint dries quickly, you should let it sit overnight or at least 24 hours before applying wax or any other protective top coat. If the chalk paint isn’t fully dry, there’s the risk of rubbing off some of the chalk paint as you apply the wax. 

Some would say that waiting 24 hours to wax after applying your chalk paint is overkill and that you can apply wax much sooner. However, although chalk paint dries quickly, temperature, humidity, and airflow can have a large impact on chalk paint’s dry time. That said it’s best to err on the side of caution and allow your chalk paint to dry and harden a bit before moving on to next steps. 

If you plan to distress your chalk paint, you should do so before applying chalk paint wax. This allows for the greatest flexibility. After all, if you unintentionally remove too much chalk paint on one spot while distressing you can easily give it a quick touch-up by applying more chalk paint. This is not possible if the chalk paint is already sealed with wax or another top coat.

How Many Coats of Wax on Chalk Paint?

Two thin layers of wax is sufficient for chalk painted surfaces. You can apply three coats for extra durability, but any more than that is overkill. Use a brush or rag to apply the additional coat of clear wax.

If you plan to use dark wax, always apply a thin layer or two of clear wax before applying one layer of dark wax. If you apply dark wax directly to chalk paint, the dark wax will seep into the paint, making it difficult to remove excess dark wax. 

As a rule of thumb for dark wax, you should apply it immediately after applying the coat of clear wax. Always use a different brush or rag for dark wax. 

How Long Between Coats of Wax on Chalk Paint?

You should only apply your second coat of wax after the first coat dries and cures for a bit. Before you apply the second coat of clear wax, let the previous coat cure for at least 24 hours first.

If you fail to let your first layer of wax cure for long enough, you may end up just spreading around your first coat of wax when applying the second coat, leaving to an uneven wax finish. 

If you’re applying dark wax over clear wax, then you should immediately apply it while the clear wax is still fresh. For additional coats of dark wax, let the previous coat dry first for at least an hour.

What to Use to Buff Wax on Chalk Paint

Not everyone wants to buff wax on chalk paint. In fact, many love the look of matte wax on chalk paint since it compliments chalk paint’s matte finish. Buffing is essentially a way to make chalk paint glossy, and polished. 

To buff chalk paint wax, you can use a lint-free cloth or rag, or a polishing brush. If you want a more heavy-duty buffing tool, you can use a buffing brush. It will make the process easier and more convenient.

Allow your coat of wax to dry for at least 24 hours before buffing it. Using a rag or polish brush, buff the wax in small circular motions. Apply steady pressure while buffing as this will help you achieve a consistent sheen across the entire painted surface. The more you buff, the glossier your wax will become.

Buffing chalk paint wax will give the painted furniture a semi-gloss finish. But again, if you already like the soft matte finish of dried chalk paint wax, don’t bother buffing your furniture. 

Do You Buff Between Coats of Wax on Chalk Paint?

You only need to buff the final coat of wax. Buffing in between coats is just an unnecessary step, and can cause uneven sheens on the painted surface. You should remove excess wax in-between coats instead.



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