28 Oct

Tint Your Own Furniture Wax

DIY Tinted Wax

On the heels of my alternative to chalk paint post re: my beloved mineral paint, I thought it would be a good idea to put together a quick blurb about the icing on the painted furniture cake – paste wax.

Yes, like chalk paint, there are many different options out there to seal and protect your labor of love. No, I have not tried them all – mainly because I’m cheap and more inclined to employ a tad more elbow grease to err on the side of pocket-book-friendly when it comes to time vs money. Plus, I like being able to run out for supplies as needed (and grab a coffee along the way). You just can’t do that with a lot of the other options since they require ordering and shipping and waiting – bah, my attention span has no patience for that – and there’s no coffee reward involved.

An unexpected benefit of opting for the ‘harder to work with kind’ is that I am rocking some svelte underarms these days, just saying.

Anyhow, early on I heard that sealing certain paint colors with clear paste wax can/will result in the tint yellowing over time. I’ve not personally experienced this (because I poly anything I paint white and then wax if needed) but enough of the ‘pros’ have warned against it that I take heed. The general recommendation is to use a tinted wax as an alternative but my local Menards only stocks the clear kind.

So what is a furniture flipper to do?

DIY Tinted Wax

Do it yourself of course.

DIY Dark Wax Supplies

Grab a glass jar and scoop a spoonful or two of the clear solid paste wax into it.

Step 1: Put wax in jar in water

Then, fill a pot with water and place the glass jar inside over medium high heat. Bring to a slight boil.

Step 2: Melt wax

Next, open the windows and turn on the overhead exhaust while the wax melts down (this will only take a few minutes). Trust me on this one or you, too, will have a cranky, sensitive-nosed spouse asking what in the hell you did to stink up the place, again. (I don’t mind the smell or maybe I’m just immune.)

Step 3: Add stain

Once melted, remove the jar from the water (don’t forget to use a mitt – it will be hot!) and place on a heat-safe surface.

Step 4: Let cool to harden

Immediately spoon-in a couple scoops of stain (I prefer oil-based to water-based stain but either will do) and swirl the jar around to mix with the melted wax. Set it off to the side and finish up your painting and distressing while it cools and hardens.

Step 5: Let wax solidify

Banzai! Now you’re ready to wax.

Wait. What’s that? You’re not sure how to wax over mineral paint?

No problem – I’ll show you!

(Note: The wax applied in this video is clear, not tinted. However, on my dog bed redo there’s a noticeable color change from DIY Tinted Wax.)

Now, typically I will let my piece cure for a day and then re-wax for added durability. I instruct all my clients not to use Pledge or other polishing sprays on my pieces. A weekly rubdown with a microfiber cloth (Norwex is my pick) will keep the wax buffed up and looking pretty.

Remember though, that while wax is meant to produce a fine furnishings finish it’s not practical for use on high-traffic items. It won’t provide much protection against water/moisture and will require reapplication over time. So, don’t go waxing up your dining room table unless you’ve poly’d it first okay grasshopper?

“Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything.”  – Mr. Miyagi.

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15 thoughts on “Tint Your Own Furniture Wax

  1. Hi Dee, at your suggestion I ordered a sample of the minerals. Just used it to paint an old end table, loved the smoothness of the paint even before I sanded/distressed it! Big thanks for that tip!

    About tinting the wax….the only stain i have is a gel stain. Do you think it would work mixed with the wax? ?

    • Yes but you’ll have to thin it down with mineral spirits first. Gel stain has polymers added that will gunk up the wax. What I’d do first is wax the piece with clear wax, buff and let rest over night before repeating with dark wax.

  2. Dee, have you ever tinted a wax green? So bla on my new piece (wish I would have done it myself) and considering some green to make it not such a lump?

    • I haven’t and to be honest I don’t even use colored wax much now at all. Instead, I prefer to thin down some stain with mineral spirits and wash the color over paint for an aged effect.

  3. I just pour a dab of stain directly to the wax in a small bowl and blend it together. Seems to work real nice. Anyone have experience doing this versus melting? Im curious if the results are better?

  4. Have you ever tried tinting your wax with the actual paint color to prevent yellowing? Would it deepen the paint color?

    • I have only tinted my wax (and poly) with stain Jill. I'll check around my inner circle to see if anyone else has done it with paint & let you know what their thoughts were.

  5. I have painted a bookcase with DIY chalk paint in white. I have Minwax finishing paste to use, but wondered about the yellowing over time you mentioned. With the formula of stain you used, how much darker did it make your piece? I couldn't quite tell from the pics. Thanks!

    • When I paint something white (and want it to remain white) I seal it with polyacrylic. You can wax over the poly for added protection and to tone down the sheen. Just make sure the poly is completely dry first. The poly will seal the piece so yellowing shouldn't be an issue down the road. As far as color choices for tinting my own wax I am partial to Minwax's Ebony stain. It takes on a nice grey tone when combined with the clear wax and deposits an aged patina to the wood (over paint or stain). Over white it produces a soft grey 'cooling' effect. You can see how using a brown like Cypress alters the color on this dog bed I painted. I hope that answers your question – my overall suggestion would be to take a sample board, paint it the color of your bookcase and then experiment with different wax mixtures. It shouldn't take too long for you to find one you love.

      • Thanks Dee, your answer was just what I needed! Thanks for the link to the dog bed too (it's adorable), gives me a good idea of the brown stain on white.

  6. Dee.. that is amazing. I mean the part about the mineral stuff. We've been trying to make chalk paint with grout and it comes out miserable so we ended up buying Annie Sloan paint.. here in Connecticut it's $40. a quart!! A little steep. Does this paint dry fast? Take care, Linda

    • Linda – I am not kidding when I say that yesterday I painted the backs (so plain & boring) of 3 entertainment center doors (so standard size) and by the time I was done w/the third, the first was ready for a second coat. So YES! it dries amazingly fast. Plus, the minerals 'plump' up the paint and makes a sample pint go for MILES. It is SO worth the minimal cost and I promise you will never use that other stuff again.

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