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Wax On, Wax Off


Wax on, wax off… I could almost feel Mr. Myagi watching over my shoulder as I was working in my garage this week.  Fortunately, I wasn’t forced to wax a car like the Karate Kid.  I was trying out a new technique on a piano I painted, using Annie Sloan’s Clear and Dark Wax.

If you’ve been following my posts for any length of time, you know that I often give things a distressed look when I’m done painting.  It gives an added dimension.  It takes something flat and gives it character.  But there are many ways to achieve that look.


One of the easiest distressing techniques for me, is to take a damp sponge and apply a couple of drops of black or brown paint, then lightly rub it over the edges of whatever I’m painting.  It takes a little practice to get just the right amount on, but it’s fast and inexpensive.

paint on sponge


Another technique is to use glaze.  Glaze is clear, so you can have it tinted whatever color you choose.  It’s fairly easy to apply as well.  You can just roll or brush it on, then wipe off any excess.  If you want it darker, you keep layering it on.  Easy Peasy.

I was going to use glaze on the piano I worked on, when I learned about Annie Sloan’s SoftWax.  First of all, Annie Sloan is known for making Chalk Paint, which is WAY COOL because it requires no sanding or priming.  But Annie (I like to think we’re on a first-name basis) also makes Clear and Dark Wax.  The Clear Wax you apply as a protective covering after you paint a piece of furniture.  (It’s kind of like using Minwax, only it’s completely clear and has no heavy fumes.  Or it’s like using a spray polyurethane, which I highly recommend.)  

So here’s how the Annie Sloan distressing technique works:  You first apply the Clear Wax, giving your piece a nice smooth finish that is now protected.  

clear wax

Then, you take the Dark Wax and apply it liberally to the areas you want highlighted.  They even make a special brush just for pounding in the color, although I didn’t buy one. I used just a regular old paint brush that was perfect for getting into the grooves of this bead board.

dark wax


Once you have your Dark Wax on, you put some Clear Wax on a clean cotton cloth (I used an old T-shirt) and use it to wipe off any excess Dark Wax.  Take off as much or as little of the Dark Wax as you want.  Hence the “Wax On, Wax Off.”



The process is pretty easy and fail-proof, so I would definitely recommend it for anyone who’s distressing furniture for the first time.  But Annie Sloan products are pricey ($27 for just one can of wax) AND they’re not easy to find either.  I live in the 5th largest city in America, and there were only four shops in all of Phoenix that sold it.  (To find a location nearest you go to 

Annie Sloan 1

Audrey’s at 11649 N. Cave Creek Rd. in Phoenix

  I ended up driving 45 minutes to get what I needed, but it was worth the drive because I’m not only happy with the finished product, I found a new boutique to go to for inspiration.  It’s called Audrey’s and they carry some of the best up-cycled and repurposed furniture I’ve seen, not to mention great chandeliers, vintage clothing, and other knick knacks.  Here’s a couple of pictures of furniture using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Wax.


blue end table

I’ll be posting pictures and a video tutorial of what I painted very soon.  For now, just “wax on, wax off” Daniel Son.  You’ll be ready for that Karate Kid crane stance in no time!


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Painting children's rooms, exterior murals, exterior paint, faux finishes, interior murals, canvases, holiday canvases, wooden plaques, beds, cabinets, dressers, furniture, party decorations, props, and other DIY crafts!