One of the most common questions we hear is, “How do I know which finish to use on my piece?” Many people think that the only finish available for chalk+clay paint is wax. While our Waxing Cream or Clear Wax is great to use, there are alternatives that many find easier to use, less maintenance, and more durable. So how do you choose?
I always ask someone about the piece they are painting and how it will be used. If the answer is something such a tabletop, cabinets, or anything else that will receive a lot of use and abuse, my answer is always the same: Endurance. Endurance is our all-natural, water-based poly that provides the most protection. It is an easy to use, wipe or brush on sealer. You can use up to six (thin) coats for maximum protection, especially on tabletops. This is the same sealer that is built into our Stain+Finish line, as well.
A little less durable, but still a great protection, is our Satin Finish. Satin Finish is also a sealer that is applied either with a brush or wiped on. As the name implies, it has a slight sheen when dry and gives a smooth appearance.
Our Flat Matte is a water-resistant finish (when used on wood) that leaves the chalky-like feel but with protection. Flat Matte, like traditional flat paint, helps hide imperfections, as it doesn’t reflect light. It is also used often on primitive pieces to retain the traditional look.
With any of these brush on sealers, the application should be a damp brush or cloth and in thin layers. For example, I like to use a foam brush. I dip the brush into the sealer and “smoosh” the excess out. If you apply too much at one time, you may re-wet the paint and it will “move” or seem to wipe off. Pooling of excess product in cracks and crevices may also occur. Thin coats dry and cure quicker than thick coats and will provide more durability.
“Wait… I still want to wax! Which one do I use?”
No worries! We have you covered!
Clear Wax is a very traditional mineral-based paint wax. It is smooth, buttery and very soft. Application of the Clear Wax is easiest with a soft-bristled brush or a lint-free cloth. While it does not take much Clear Wax, many people, especially when first beginning to wax, over apply. This can lead to a splotchy appearance. Only apply enough to see the deepening of color. After several hours, you can buff the wax with a clean, dry lint-free cloth to achieve a shine.
Waxing Cream, while similar in ingredients, has a slightly drier texture. With Waxing Cream, application is the same. However, much less is needed and you can buff immediately to a shine. You don’t have to wait for it to dry. In addition, Waxing Cream will cure to a harder finish than the Clear Wax.
With any type of wax, you will often need to reapply a maintenance coat after 6-12 months, depending on several factors, such as use, temperature/humidity where it’s stored, and how it has been cleaned.
With ANY of the finishes, you should take care of your piece, as it is still a hand painted piece of furniture. Wipe up spills, use coasters, and clean the piece with a gentle cleaner — often, just a cloth damp with soapy water is all you need. Harsh chemicals, acids (vinegars, salad dressings, juices, etc) can eat through natural finishes, so take care to clean them up quickly.
I hope this has helped answer that question you may be thinking while you are painting your next piece!