Asked on May 13, 2013

Dark Wax Failure

Lisa CuddyJacRita
+13

Answered

After having tried dark wax to get a deeper look to ASCP Graphite, I'm giving up. It always turns out streaky. What do you do to get an more even look?
The red base coat shows through nicely on this pine dresser.
The red base coat shows through nicely on this pine dresser.
However the overall look is streaky and muddy looking. What am I doing wrong?
However the overall look is streaky and muddy looking. What am I doing wrong?
12 answers
  • KMS Woodworks
    on May 13, 2013

    This might be to due to over application, I have found multiple thin layers to work better. Paste wax is a blend of solvent and the solid waxes (carnauba, bee's etc) the solvent allows the wax to be applied in a thin even layer, once the solvent evaporates the wax solids are buffed out. Over application or not allowing the solvent to evaporate can lead to jerking and "sticking" when it is buffed out.

  • Thanks for the info, KMS Woodworks. I think you're right.

  • Thanks for the answers, but I'm still hoping for more ideas.

    • Lynn
      on Jan 27, 2014

      @Heather (New House New Home) I am going to paint over it and then try the the oil and see where that goes. Thanks again

  • The Paint Wagon
    on May 14, 2013

    UGH! If I could have 2 minutes with this Annie Sloan lady! I agree with KMS, looks like too much application and too much fussing. With solvent-based materials, the more you try to work it, the more gloppy (is that a word?) it tends to get. You're best with a light coat and walking away. You can also thin the wax with mineral spirits or paint thinner (making it translucent, like a glaze). It will allow it to set-up slower giving you more time to work it. Also you can take some of it off by wiping (hard) with a rag soaked in mineral spirits/paint thinner. Sometimes, I'll even slap the wax on with a chip brush all willy-nilly, let it set-up and then work it off with mineral spirits on a rag. For future projects, you can also use a lighter wax, but use Briwax or similar as it is the same product and costs a fraction of what ASCP is charging.

  • Heather, Annie Sloan suggests, and I have tried, going back with clear wax to blend and lighten any undesired patches of dark wax. This method works fairly well, but the suggestion on a previous post to make a dark glaze by adding mineral spirits to the dark wax so that you can just paint it on evenly may be your best solution. Maybe ask a friend who will tell you the truth and whose taste you trust to look at the piece and see if they like the piece as is. You may be too critical of your own work and the streaking may actually be attractive and interesting to others.

  • Thanks for the advice, The Painted Wagon.....I'm so frustrated with the dark wax. Haven't tried any other brands though. I actually prefer to use Minwax antiquing oil, but it doesn't set up well over the AS clear wax. I guess I could try putting it directly onto the wood and then waxing after it dries. That would give the piece a more even look. As far as over application is concerned, if you look at all the videos and tutorials they seem to use TONS of the dark wax and then work it off. That's what I attempted, but it obviously didn't work. I'm not giving up. I'll keep trying all the suggested methods. Thanks again.

  • Tammy@Deja Vue Designs
    on May 14, 2013

    I have had this happen before...you can thin this down with some mineral spirits. It even helps tone it down after you've let it dry on your piece. Dark wax is just really harsh...and I've not found a way to keep it from being too dark when applied alone

  • Paula Driesell
    on Jan 30, 2014

    I totally agree with Tammy! Put some mineral spirits in the dark wax and mix it up. It's actually more like a glaze and you have more time to play with it. I also think it gives most people what they are looking for. The dark wax is for really distressed pieces and should be used sparingly and to highlight certain places. If I'm using dark wax over the clear, I have a 0000 steel wool pad wiping right behind the the dark wax i just applied. I never, use a full load of dark wax and then take it all off. It's a waste of wax/money. Try the mineral spirits. I just did this on a french chair and love how it turned out. Check out my french chair post or the old dresser new life post.

  • Rita
    on Jan 30, 2014

    Two ideas. First, perhaps wax with clear and let it dry thoroughly. Then cut the dark wa with some of the clear wax and work in small areas. This worked for me when I, too, was making mud from beauty. Hope that helps. Let me know. I'm still learning.

  • Lisa Cuddy
    on Jan 30, 2014

    try rubbing in circles, using several thin coats instead of one heavy one

  • Jac
    on Jan 31, 2014

    I think Rita has your answer - clear wax first. The dark wax then won't grab hold so much.

  • Lisa Cuddy
    on Jan 31, 2014

    perhaps the wax is grabbing the brush strokes from the paint. Sand it a little more to get rid of them, then try light applications rubbed in circles. The piece is beautiful and you shouldn't criticize yourself so harshly.

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