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You can only make two mistakes when waxing! Putting too much on and buffing too soon. The secret...thin coats and lots of clean rags. 


Q. How do I clean my brush after I have used it to apply Soft Wax?

A. Your brushes used to apply Annie Sloan Soft Wax can be easily cleaned with very warm water and a grease cutting soap. This method is good if the wax is still fresh on the brush. If you find the wax has hardened on your brush, soak the bristles in low-odor mineral spirits for approximately 5 minutes to dissolve the wax, and then wash the brush.


Q. What is the best way to apply Soft Dark Wax on a long, flat surface?

A. When applying Annie Sloan Soft Dark Wax over clear wax on a long, flat surface mix the Soft Dark Wax with non-cloudy mineral spirits.  Use a 1.5:1 ratio, wax to mineral spirits. Add contents to a serparate glass container and stir well until mixture is like pancake batter. You will have more time to apply the dark wax over a long surface. Wipe back with a sweeping motion. Apply a second coat if a darker appearance is preferred. Store the mixture in a glass container.  If needed, add mineral spirtis to get mixture back to pancake batter consistency.  


Q. My finish feels sticky and leaves fingerprints. What can I do?

A. Don’t worry if this happens. It is easily fixed by simply applying another thin layer of wax. The new layer of wax will soften or “melt” the underlying wax. Work in manageable sections at the time and remove all of the excess wax with clean soft cloths as your go. Have several cloths available and change to a clean one when the old one becomes clogged with wax.


Q. I placed a water glass on my new finish and it left a mark. How do I repair this?

A. Annie Sloan Soft Wax offers water resistance but it is not waterproof. Spills should be wiped up as soon as possible. If spills remain on the surface, the moisture can penetrate through the wax coating and leave a mark. These marks should disappear as the moisture evaporates, but if not you can use a bit of Soft Wax on a soft cloth to rub it out.


Q. Can I apply another clear protective material over Soft Wax?

A. Once Annie Sloan Soft Wax is applied; no other protective finish can be applied to your project. Attempting to add another coating, such as Annie Sloan Lacquer, varnish, or polyurethane, over a wax finish is futile.


Q. I would like to apply another layer of Soft Wax for additional protection, but will this cause the wax to build up, making the surface sticky?

A. Annie Sloan Soft Wax builds up only if you fail to remove all of the excess wax after each application. Each time you apply a new coat of wax, the solvents in it dissolve the underlying wax, making one new mixture. When you remove all of the excess wax you will be left with the wax that is stuck on the surface. It’s easy to remove the excess wax by wiping it away with a clean absorbent cloth. You will want to have several cloths on hand and switch to a clean one when your old one becomes clogged with wax.


Q. How do I care for my new finish?

A. Furniture finished with Chalk Paint® decorative paint and Annie Sloan Soft Wax stand up very well to everyday wear and tear. Treat your furniture with respect. Allow your new finish to harden and cure 30 days or longer before placing items that may scratch the surface. Avoid excessive water. Use coasters under water glasses and placemats on dining tables. Clean with a soft cloth and avoid all liquid furniture polishes. To clean marks or stains, use a slightly damp cloth or chamois with a little mild soap. Keep your piece away from extreme temperatures or humidity. Waxes dissolve in alcohol, so using wax on bars is not advisable!


Q. How long will it take for my new finish to harden and cure?

A. Chalk Paint® decorative paint will take approximately 30 days to harden and cure, a process that takes significantly longer than drying, and Annie Sloan Soft Wax will take about 4 to 6 weeks. All finishes prefer warm, dry conditions during the curing process. Cold temperatures, high humidity, and application thickness will extend drying and curing time substantially. You can use your newly finished piece during the curing process; however, it should be treated gently and with respect. Avoid placing objects that would scratch or otherwise damage the surface. Wipe up any spills immediately and avoid any harsh cleaning.


Q. Now that I have painted a table for our kitchen with Chalk Paint®, I want to put a durable finish on it that I can clean frequently. We have kids and we all tend to be kind of rough on things. What should I use?

A. Annie Sloan Soft Wax, once hardened and cured, provides a durable finish that is easy to maintain. Apply two or three coats of Soft Wax for protection, allowing each coat to dry 24 hours before applying the next to get the extra durability you need. You can easily maintain your finish by simply wiping the surface with a soft cloth and mild soap and water, and refresh every now and again with a light application of wax as needed. When scratches, stains, and watermarks happen to your wax finish, they are easily fixed with just a bit more wax rubbed into the marked area with a soft cloth.


Q. Can Soft Wax be used on outside projects?

A. Annie Sloan Soft Wax should be used on interior projects only. It is not suitable for outdoor use.


Q. I finished my project with Chalk Paint® and Soft Wax and now I’ve changed my mind about the color. Can I paint over my finish?

A. Of course! One of the key features about working with Chalk Paint® decorative paint is it’s easy to change your mind. You can apply another coat or two of Chalk Paint® over your previous finish, and then seal your new paint layers with Annie Sloan Soft Wax.


Q. I use spray furniture polish when dusting my furniture. I recently tried to paint one of my pieces with Chalk Paint® and the paint cracked in some spots. How can I fix this?

A. Many spray furniture polishes contain dimethicone, a silicone used as a film former to protect surfaces. This silicone can cause cracks to appear in your paint layers, especially along edges. Sand the affected areas with fine grit sandpaper and then seal the surface, including the remaining paint, with one or two coats of shellac, a natural non-toxic sealer, applied with a cloth pad. Shellac dries in minutes, and you can then get on with your painting!


Q. What is the best way to apply Soft Wax?

A. Annie Sloan Soft Wax should always be applied in thin layers using a brush or cloth, gently spreading and pushing the wax into the underlying paint so it absorbs (just like hand cream!). Work in manageable sections and remove the excess wax with clean absorbent cloths as you go. Change to a clean cloth frequently as an old one can become clogged with wax and become ineffective. Let the remaining thin layer of wax dry before buffing. This process can be as little as 10 – 20 minutes, but 2 hours or even overnight can sometimes be best. You will know when the wax is dry when the surface no longer feels cool or damp to the touch. Once dry you can buff with soft cotton cloths. Buffing lightly will produce a satin sheen, while more vigorous buffing can produce a higher sheen or even a gloss. If the wax has been properly applied and all of the excess wax has been removed, your finish should feel dry, and never oily or sticky.




Extra tips for applying soft wax

With a soft, clean, cotton cloth, apply the furniture paste wax by first dipping the cloth into the can of wax. Now, rub the wax on in a circular motion over the wood surface. Rub it vigorously and spread the wax on thinly. The next step is to buff the paste wax, but when should you do that? This is one of the great mysteries about waxing. Not really, it’s simple. You are waiting for the solvents in the furniture paste wax to evaporate. What determines that is what kind of solvent was used in the paste wax. Was it a fast or slow evaporating solvent? And what is the environment like that you are waxing in; hot, cold, humid….etc., all of these things will affect the drying time and how the wax buffs out. The point is that there is no exact time to begin buffing the paste wax. Could be five minutes, twenty minutes or more. Most of the time it’s about ten or fifteen minutes, if all the conditions are right and the proper amount of paste wax is applied. You will know the wax is ready to buff when it looks dry or hazed over. When the wax is ready, take another clean cloth and buff the surface. Buffing lightly will produce a satin sheen; while more buffing can produce a higher sheen or even a gloss. If you try and buff the wax too soon, before the solvent has fully evaporated, you will effectively be stripping the wax from the surface. This is the reason a poorly waxed surface appears to have shiny and dull areas. If the solvent in the paste wax has not fully evaporated the buffing cloth will pick up the solvent and use it like a wax stripper, removing any dry wax as you attempt to buff the surface. If the paste wax is left on too long, it simply is harder to buff out. In any case, one should not be alarmed; this can easily be corrected in either instance by simply applying another coat of paste wax.


Copyright © 2006, Robin Richardson. All Rights Reserved.

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