Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Reader Q & A ~ Common Problems

Thanks to my sweet and loyal readers, I receive tons of questions via email, blog comments, and Facebook.  Today, I want to take a second to cover a few of the most common issues readers contact me about, particularly problems they run into when reinventing pieces.

I watched your wax tutorial and was very careful not to use too much wax on my piece.  Even after all of that, the finish still looks streaky/uneven/blotchy….what did I do and how do I fix it?  This is, by far, the most common question I get from readers.  First, let me say that I know how frustrating this can be!  Let’s talk Annie Sloan clear wax since this is the product 99% of you with this issue are using.  It is normal for a freshly waxed piece to have this appearance.  Wax can take up to 30 days to fully cure, or harden.  I find that as long as I have buffed the piece well {no drag when wiping with a cloth} then the finish will even out as the wax cures.  This process typically takes a couple of weeks for most of my pieces.  If I’m being honest, I do run into the blotchy/streaky wax issue with the AS wax but rarely with other brands.  I still love this wax and use it often but if you are extremely frustrated, try another brand before you give up. 

Are there any other wax brands you use?  Yes.  Minwax Paste Wax, Briwax, and Johnson’s Paste Wax are all great options that are readily available.  CeCe Caldwell also has a wax that I hear great things about and hope to try soon.

Are there any alternatives to wax?  Yes.  You can use a wipe-on poly or polycrylic.  Polycrylic even comes in a spray can for easy application but it is a little pricey at almost $12 a can.  Just be sure not to use polyurethane or the like to seal a white or cream piece because it will cause yellowing.  Polycrylic or clear wax is a better choice.

I’m confused about distressing…do I wax first or distress first?  Either.  If using ASCP, Annie recommends waxing first then distressing {I say follow with another coat of wax after distressing}.  Others will say they think it is easier to distress first and follow with the wax.  Right now, I do both and don’t really have a preference.

If I’m using the dark wax, do I have to apply clear wax first?     Always, always, always apply a thin coat of clear wax before applying the dark wax.  If you apply dark wax directly to a freshly painted piece then it will stain the paint.  The layer of clear wax also makes the dark wax easier to work with.

Do I need to apply another layer of clear wax over my dark wax?  No.  Remember that clear wax acts as an eraser for the dark wax.  If you apply clear wax over your dark wax then you will remove all of the hard work you just did!

How many coats of wax do you apply?  I apply at least 2 thin coats of wax to most pieces.  I do prefer 3 coats on the top of a dining table or other surfaces that will have heavy use and moisture.

Will a waxed piece of furniture be durable and will I need to rewax it?  Wax gets a bad rap sometimes.  Once it fully cures, my waxed pieces are just as durable as those sealed with polycrylic.  Take for example our dining table.  It was painted and sealed with 3 coats of wax.  This is our main dining table where we eat family dinner every night and the favorite spot for art projects of the 3 and 5 year old!  I clean it with Greenworks cleaner and have had no issues.  I recommend rewaxing your pieces yearly, as needed.

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Can you mix chalk paint colors to create more options?  Yes.  I rarely use a straight color anymore.  The paints mix so easily so why not customize!  Just be sure to mix enough to cover your entire piece with 2 coats so you don’t have the headache of trying to match the exact shade.  {You can also mix chalk paint and latex…find out more here}

I love your wax brush but my stockist doesn’t carry it or I don’t know where to buy one?  Stylish Patina offers two sizes of these wax brushes in their online store.  I have the large brush.

What brush do you prefer to use for applying paint?  My go-to brush is my Purdy 2 1/2 inch sash brush {angled}.  If you take care of your brushes by rinsing them out after every use, it is worth paying a little more for a good quality brush that will last a long time.

Can I glaze over spray paint and do I wax it first?  You can apply glaze over any paint.  The only time I seal the piece with wax before glazing is if I am using chalk paint.  Otherwise I paint, glaze, then wax.  {You can find the glazing tutorial here

How do you paint super shiny pieces (think Queen Anne cherry pieces)?  Do you have to prep them?  I have to be honest in saying these are my least favorite pieces to paint.  Why you ask?  They are prone to bleed through and there is nothing more frustrating than that.  I prefer to use chalk paint on these pieces for the simple fact that it will adhere without having to prep the piece.  Sanding these pieces during the prep stage is just asking for bleed through to happen…trust me!  You can still distress the piece by sanding the edges but do not sand the piece prior to painting.  Just don’t!  If you are more patient than me and use latex then primer is your best friend.  You will need to lightly sand the clear coat to give the primer something to stick to and apply at least 2 coats of primer followed by 2 coats of paint.  Seal as you normally would.

In one of your tutorials you mentioned a distressing tutorial.  What happened to that?  This is one of those situations where you have good intentions but then life just moves faster than you sometimes.  Ever have those?  We rearranged our living room which took away my perfect filming spot!  Filming takes more effort than it appears to.  You have to have great light, open space, and quiet!  Unfortunately, I haven’t had a lot of time with that combo but I promise I will get to it.  Thanks for being patient with me.

Sheww…there were also lots of questions about the business side of things so I will cover those in an upcoming post.  Thank you all for being so supportive and encouraging in your comments and emails!  Keep the questions coming and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Happy Easter!

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.


  1. Thanks Cindy! You are sweet and informative as always! Have a wonderful Easter.

  2. Love all the answers! Thanks!

  3. Thanks Cindy! I've missed you, and definitely understand how busy you are! I just finished (last night) a mahogany bench. We took it down to bare wood and still had some spots bleed! Great post! Have a lovely Easter!
    God Bless!

  4. Anonymous3/28/2013

    I'm a new follower from Knoxville! Thank you for all your help and inspiration! I just finished my first piece, a cabinet for our TV and I was so pleased with how it turned out. I'm so glad I learned about AS chalk paint from you. I will continue to watch you for all the latest news. Have a blessed Easter!


  5. Thank you Cindy for all your help! I am gonna use the johnson paste wax for economical reasons. How do I do the dark distressing with that wax? Should I tint the wax? How about wax, glaze then wax again?

  6. Also do you have any ideas on how to convince my husband to let me paint the dark mahogany buffet we just purchased? LOL

  7. Anonymous4/08/2013

    I caught your tutorials on Pinterest and bought ASCP the next day and am hooked! Thank you!

  8. Anonymous4/09/2013

    You have by far the best tutorials I've seen! I'm marking your website, and eagerly waiting for the distressing tutorial as thats where I am having the most problem. Would love to see and hear more about using different grit sandpapers for different areas on the piece and the different looks. I want some very light distressing on the flat surfaces in broad areas, but don't like the look I often see of small, random worn away spots on flat surfaces...I don't think it looks natural. Anyway, I'll be checking back for the tutorial!

  9. Anonymous5/08/2013

    Hi Cindy, love your tutorials, very helpful. Just started to use ASCP and am hooked. would like to see you work on a piece of furniture using one of the darker colours; I used AS's burgandy on a bureau,but feel it doesnt look as good as I should like it to. Looking forward to your distressing tutorial you mentioned on YouTube.

  10. Hi Cindy, I am really loving your blog. Not to mention all your pieces are fabulous. I think we are neighbors, I'm in Mt. Juliet, TN Looking forward to seeing more posts and learning more about refinishing furniture. :)

  11. I am working on my first chalk paint project and have a question about waxing. If I am putting on more than one coat of wax, do I buff it between the coats or just after all the coats have been put on?

  12. Hi Cindy! Thank you for all your advice. One question though... If i do decide to use a poly acrylic to seal the furniture, do I also use clear wax first? And can I only poly the top of a piece and wax the rest or will that look bad? Thanks again!

  13. Anonymous10/02/2014

    Can I put polycrylic over fully cured soft wax? I am using dark wax for aging but want the sheen and durability of poly.

  14. I also watched wax tutorial and was very careful not to use too much wax on my piece. Even after all of that, the finish still looks uneven and how to fix it?

  15. Thanks for sharing some ideas about how to spray painted wrapping paper.

  16. Thank you Cindy for all your help! I am gonna use the johnson paste wax for economical reasons. How do I do the dark distressing with that wax? Should I tint the wax? How about wax, glaze then wax again?

  17. You have done a great job on this article. It’s very readable and highly intelligent. You have even managed to make it understandable and easy to read. You have some real writing talent. Thank you.

  18. Great tutorial. 2 coats of wax should be a minimum in my opinion if you want decent results.

  19. Hi Cindy,
    I love this tutorial because you wrote about painted wrapping paper. Thanks

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  21. I will be taking care of my own initial chalk color venture and possess any issue concerning waxing. Easily feel gaining multiple coating regarding feel, should i powerful that involving the layers or perhaps all things considered the particular layers are already wear?

  22. These are very pretty and most look easy to try!

  23. I have actually read a lot of your blog . I really enjoy what you are doing here. And truly, I love world-culture building. Thank's for sharing

  24. I agree with you that the paint mixing is the best ! It looks so much better !

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