How to use black wax on furniture for impact

Black wax can have a dramatic impact on a piece of furniture. It takes something monotone and plain and gives it dimension and character.

This footstool was £5 from a charity shop. It was something my parents spotted for me. It’s always great to have family and friends on the treasure hunt too!

The footstool before painting and wax

As I mentioned in my how to find free furniture post, telling friends and family about your hobby/interest/business, multiplies the eyes for finding bargains.

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I separated the cushion from the base using an impact driver.

I won’t go into the process of reupholstering the footstool because you can check that out in this post.

Needless to say, there were hundreds of staples and pins keeping it all together!

The footstool with the base and cushion separated

With the base now on its own, I gave it a thorough clean with Dixie Belle’s White Lightning. I added some to a tub of warm water and used a cloth to get into the nooks and crannies.

I then gave it a second rinse with clean water to remove any leftover cleaner.

Cleaning with a micro fibre cloth

As the wood was dark, there was a risk that tannins would bleed through the paint and make it look stained. Sometimes it won’t show for weeks or months so it’s best to avoid and just use a primer at the start.

I used one coat of the water-based primer by Zinsser. I’ve recently converted to the water-based version because it’s so easy to clean up after rather than dealing with chemicals which you can’t put down the sink.

One coat of primer on the base

A pop of colour

I had a craving to use this beautiful mustard colour by Fusion Mineral Paint. It was only after I dressed my son one day when I was working on it, that I became suspicious as to why I had chosen it!

Fusion Mineral Paint in Mustard

I ended up painting two full coats with a couple of small touch ups. Yellow quite often has poor coverage, similar to white, so I was pleasantly surprised by how dense it was.

A world apart from how many coats went into the white bird cabinet transformation!

After two coats of Fusion paint

Black wax for impact

To give the piece protection, I started with a coat of Rust-oleum clear wax using Annie Sloan’s wax brush. The bristles are so thick, it feels like excellent quality.

First coat of clear wax before the black wax

Clear wax as the first layer creates a barrier between the dark wax and the paint so you can always remove the dark wax if you don’t like it.

If you do add too much dark wax, use a cloth with clear wax and buff it off like your very own eraser tool.

Essentially you’re giving yourself the ability to make mistakes and I’m always a fan of that!

I added Annie Sloan’s black wax with another wax brush and used a microfibre cloth to wipe it back to get the look I wanted.

Adding the black wax to furniture with a brush

I label my wax brushes as either for clear or dark wax so that I don’t get them mixed up and accidentally add dark wax to a piece that I don’t intend to.

Even though I wash them well with warm water and soap, it’s not worth the risk of messing up a nearly finished piece.

Black wax on furniture looks the most impressive when the piece has nice details for the wax to settle into. When I saw the rings around the legs of this footstool, I immediately thought wax would add impact.

Buffing off the excess black wax on furniture with a cloth

You can add as many layers of wax as you like. It’s better to start subtle and wipe it back quickly and add more later if you want it to be bolder.

For comparison, here are the legs at different states of completion. The top front has no wax. The top back has wax that has been buffed with a cloth. The bottom two legs have wax brushed on but not yet buffed.

Base of furniture at different stages of waxing

It’s a good way of working out what style you like.

Brown wax would also look great with the mustard colour and would be more subtle.

Wax takes a few weeks to properly cure and harden. Only then will you have a really durable piece of furniture.

Finishing touches

I reattached the newly-upholstered cushion. I really like how the base matches the pops of yellow on the bees.

You may recognise the same bee fabric that I used for this footstool. That’s because it sells like hot cakes for me and I do love a good cake.

Finished close up of the black wax

Which do you prefer, the yellow legs or the original black?

Finished close up of one leg with black wax to enhance the details

It will be interesting to see if the yellow base helps this sell more or less quickly.

The final piece with black wax on furniture

Another piece I added black wax to is this purple console table. It was recently bought by a family restoring a farmhouse. What a great new lease of life for it!

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1 month ago

Lovely to see the process, thank you for sharing your techniques and tips.

1 month ago

I love this little bee stool. It is just so darling. Anything with bees (like my mudroom), I just love!