Why you shouldn’t be afraid of Dark Wax

The dark waxes can be so intimidating—full disclosure, we still get a rush of nerves every time we use it. It’s not because it is hard to use, it’s because it seems to produce different results on every piece. The depth of the grain, the length of time it is left on, and whether or not you applied a good, even coat of clear wax will determine how it looks. It’s sort of a high risk, high reward decision, but the effects it can produce are well worth the threat of deciding you liked it better before and having to. use clear wax as an eraser (or worse, having to repaint.)

If you aren’t ready to take the plunge and use it on your whole piece, then there are less nerve racking ways of easing yourself into it. Keep reading below for our best tips on using Chalk Paint Dark Wax to achieve a variety of effects.

  1. We always tell our customers to use a layer of clear wax as a buffer between your paint and your dark or black wax. Without this, the tinted waxes will stain the paint and can often muddy the colors—especially the lighter ones! We’ve done this two ways. We have applied clear wax, wiped it off and applied the dark wax after that (wiping off excess again). Or, the easier way to do it, it to apply the clear wax to a section of your piece, but instead of wiping, apply the dark wax on top of wet wax and then wipe. Check out these videos of Annie Sloan herself, using the tinted waxes both ways!

  2. Did you know you can mix wax colors together? Try mixing 50% clear wax and 50% dark wax if you find the dark wax to be to much of a contrast. Add a little more dark or clear wax as you see fit. (This can also be done with the Black wax, of course!)
  3. The third way we like to use dark wax, without committing fully is to use it to highlight details in our pieces. To do this, start by applying a layer of clear wax, wiping off excess. Then, using a artists’ brush, apply the dark wax only in the recessed areas or low points of your piece.

This photo shows the piece before any dark wax was used. Although we liked it how it was, the addition of dark wax adds so much depth

Can you see the difference? This piece had amazing lines and detail, but before the dark wax was added, they were lost. It’s such a simple way to take your transformation to the next level.

Check out the full Before & After, courtesy of one of our Painters in Residence, Tricia.


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