Back to Top

Top Coat Protection Options for Chalky Painted Furniture

Is a top coat always necessary to protect your chalk painted furniture? Which sealer is better, poly or wax? What is the best product to use? I'm addressing those common questions.
white chalky painted dresser

 Affiliate links are provided for your convenience. You can find my full disclosure policy here. 

Chalk Painted Furniture

If you're brand new to chalk paint, and are wondering what the hype is about and why you should even use chalk paint, I recommend you start by reading Chalk Paint 101, written for the chalk paint newbie, and Chalk Paint 201, a review of specific chalk paint brands. 

If you have already been using chalk paint to makeover your furniture and are interested in saving a lot of money, you can find out how to make your own DIY chalk paint in store sample paint pots for about $3.

Chalk paint is a fun and budget-friendly way to transform old, dated (even damaged) furniture pieces! 

Just think about it...Great Aunt Myrtle's dark and dated bedroom suite that has been languishing in your garage or basement for years can now be brought into the light with a chalky paint transformation! Or that piece you spotted in the thrift store that was a fabulous price but was covered in water rings and spots...not a problem when you cover it up with a couple coats of chalky paint!

But once you've painted it, now what?

Using a top coat or sealer is a hot topic in the chalk paint world! I get asked constantly whether a top coat is necessary, what is the best product to use, what's the difference between poly and wax and when should each be used.

I haven't tried every option that's out there (that goes for both chalk type paints as well as top coat options). I wish I could say I've tried them all, but as you know, paint supplies are expensive and numerous, and I pride myself on being a budget-conscious shopper and blogger.

That said, I have tried several brands and I'm happy to share my experiences with you in this post. You might be surprised to find that there are so many affordable options to protect your painted furniture!

I'll be sharing my favorites with you today, including why I like them, and the best use for them...because not all top coats are created equal, and different pieces require different protection.

Why do I Need to Protect My Furniture with a Top Coat?

One of the qualities that sets chalk paint apart is its matte, chalky finish. So you may be asking yourself why you would want to cover that up or potentially ruin it with a top coat.

You're absolutely right...we don't want to cover up that great matte, chalky finish with something super-shiny and lacquer-like! And there are products that you can use that retain that matte finish! We'll get to those in a sec.

But the real question is: do you really want to have to paint your furniture again in a year or two or five?A top coat is a sealant, it will seal and protect your chalk paint from being ruined by moisture or sticky fingers or even weather. Aside from protection, a top coat will further enhance the color of your chalk painted furniture. This is especially desirable for bright pieces or pieces with a lot of contrast.

There are instances when I don't think a top coat is necessary, and I'll share those in a little bit, but Most furniture that you've painted with chalk paint will benefit from a top coat.

In my 10+ years of painting furniture with chalk paint, I have found several affordable products that can be used to protect your chalk painted furniture by enhancing it and helping it to look its best!

Best Budget Top Coats for Quality Furniture Protection

Now that we know why the majority of chalk painted furniture needs the protection of a topcoat, let's take a look at the products to use. There are both waxes and polys, and there are times when you might want to use one or the other.

What is the difference between a wax and a poly top coat?

I figure you might be wondering this right about now. There are two main differences:

1. The first is durability. Poly top coats are hands down more durable and offer the ultimate protection for your painted furniture.

2. The second difference has to do with the application. Waxes are applied with a rag or brush and must be buffed; poly top coats are brushed on and allowed to dry and cure. No buffing! For the best protection, they do require multiple light coats.


To help you understand when to use a poly top coat, here's a general rule:

If your painted furniture will come into contact with water, food and grubby little hands on a daily basis, a poly top coat will give your piece the best protection!

Let's take a look at some of my favorite budget brands of top coats to protect your painted furniture. We'll start with the waxes.

Wax Top Coat Options


My Favorite Paste Wax
Minwax Furniture Paste

Available in both a clear and a dark wax, this is the product I used on every single piece when I first started painting furniture. It's inexpensive, easily found, and does a fantastic job of protecting your chalk painted furniture.

I used Minwax dark paste wax on this  driftwood painted nightstand. The beauty of using wax is that the dark paste wax can be used over a clear wax when you want to age or antique a piece!


This product is a solid wax, so you need to apply it with a rag. You wipe it on in small sections and then buff it off (bonus arm workout! 💪).

Buffing works the wax into the chalk paint, and also gives the piece a beautiful sheen. Not shiny. Not highly polished. Not lacquered-looking. But a gentle, time-honored sheen. Buffing also removes any excess wax that you may have applied, allowing the product to cure and harden.

NOTE: When using dark wax, always apply a layer of clear wax first. That waxy clear layer will allow you to manipulate the dark wax and remove some if it's too much. The only time I don't follow this step is if the piece I'm waxing is already dark.

For right around $10, Minwax Paste Wax is a great option for chalky-painted furniture!

Other popular paste waxes that have been around for decades include SC Johnson Paste Wax (I've used and like it, it is very inexpensive but it has a very strong odor), Briwax, Fiddes and Sons. Most chalk paint companies offer a paste-type wax as well.

Bottom Line I recommend a paste wax for items that will get minimal to moderate use. Chairs, benches, picture frames, lamps, decor that will hang on the wall, even cabinets. You absolutely can use wax on tabletops, but just keep in mind you will need to reapply it a couple times a year to achieve the best protection. As with all top coat options, a cure time of about two weeks is recommended for the ultimate protection (follow instructions on product).

Here are some other chalky painted furniture pieces that I finished with paste wax. You can click on the below links to read more about each project.



My Favorite Cream Wax
DecoArt Americana Decor Creme Wax
There are liquid waxes as well, and they're creamy rather than solid. Rather than apply with a rag, you brush the cream wax on. It's a thick, milky liquid that quickly dries, and then you buff it (just like with the paste wax) to work it into the painted furniture and bring out that delightful sheen.

Cream wax is also easy to use and a little goes a long way. DecoArt also offers a range of dark waxes which I recommend for items that have lots of grooves and crevices (it's much easier to apply with a brush than a rag!)

Since first writing this post, I've noticed a lot of other waxes that are available. Just do a search on Amazon. There are stick-type waxes, gliding waxes, soft waxes, etc. It would take forever for me to personally review them all so I'm sticking to the basic, solids and cream waxes.

Which is best? Solid or cream wax? 
That is entirely personal preference and depends on you! Do you prefer to paint it on or would applying wax with a rag be easier? Keep in mind that both will require buffing...remember, buffing not only removes any excess wax you may have applied, but it works the wax into the chalk paint, giving it the best protection. The finished look is the same.

This stenciled coffee table was finished with creme wax.


Bottom Line Cream waxes are easy to apply with a brush, although waxed pieces will still need to be buffed. They are another great option for pieces that will get light to moderate use. As with all top coat options, a cure time of about 2 weeks is recommended for the ultimate protection (follow instructions included on product). If your piece has a lot of grooves and decorative appliques that you want to paint, I'd recommend using a cream wax as a brush will get into those tiny spaces much easier than a rag!

I've used cream wax to protect painted home decor projects as well, like this hand-painted laundry room definition sign.  Although this sign doesn't really get touched, the wax brightened and enhanced the paint, and provides a smooth finish, making it easy to dust!


Poly Top Coat Options


We're leaving the waxes behind now and moving on to the top coats known as polys. On the whole, they're a more durable product and able to withstand more wear and daily abuse. Sometimes you need the ultimate protection. I'm talking dining and kitchen table tops that are used multiple times a day. They get wet, food gets smooshed into the top and it simply needs to hold up to anything your kids can throw at it! That's when you want to use a poly top coat.

Insider Tip: When looking for a poly, it's better to use a water-based polycrylic rather than oil-based polyurethane on your chalky painted pieces! Polycrylics are much less likely to yellow, have less smell, and clean up is a breeze (hot water is all you need)!

My Favorite Polycrylic Top Coats
General Finishes High Performance Top Coat

I love this top coat by General Finishes! It's available in multiple sheens, from flat to glossy, depending on your needs. I used it on the top of this painted cabinet and it has held up tremendously! In fact, a heavy mirror recently fell off the wall, and landed on this painted and stenciled piece and it barely left a scratch!

painted and stenciled dresser

This poly top coat works extremely well on home decor projects as well, like this wood slice clock.



Rustoleum Chalked Top Coat

This product by Rustoleum is another durable poly top coat option that is easy to find, inexpensive and durable. I used Rustoleum Chalked chalk paint on this pale blue chalk painted cabinet but opted not to apply the topcoat because this piece is more decorative and doesn't get daily use; however, I'm planning to go back and brush on the top coat to just the top of the piece, where I place decorative items. The top coat will protect it from scratches.

If you're still wondering if chalk paint can really transform a dated piece of furniture, this makeover will make you a believer!


The Rustoleum Chalked line of paints and top coats is also available in a spray, which I haven't used, but would love to try for smaller projects.

Minwax Wipe On Poly

Many of you have been refinishing and restaining furniture, specifically dining tables. I decided to include this product by Minwax that provides top coat protection for your stained pieces.

I relied on Minwax Wipe-on Poly for my dining table makeover. This table was a real challenge, but in the end I love how it turned out.

This poly is applied with a soft, lint-free rag and multiple coats are recommended for the best protection. You must lightly sand between coats for the best possible outcome. This Minwax poly is available in both oil-based and water-based options, but I highly recommend the water-based!.


For those of you who are refinishing pieces with stain, this is the product I recommend. It promises hand-rubbed beauty and poly protection.

Bottom line for poly top coats Use a poly top coat when you need the ultimate protection. This includes pieces that will be heavily used and come into daily contact with liquids and other messes. Multiple coats will give you the best protection so your painted or stained piece will look great for years! Please follow the manufacturer's directions on the product you choose. Choose water-based over oil-based, especially over white paint!

Another question I often get is this:

Can I ever get away with NOT applying any kind of top coat to my chalky painted furniture?


There may be those who disagree with me, but my opinion is that you don't always need to use a top coat! It really depends on what the piece will be used for and whether or not a top coat is necessary to protect your painted piece.

Here's an easy way to decide whether you need a top coat for your chalk painted furniture.

My rule of thumb is that if your chalky painted furniture will get daily wear and tear, it's best to protect it with a top coat!
I no longer have little kids at home, so I'm not too worried about the table legs or body of a dresser getting gross! I still thinks it's best to always use a top coat on the tops of pieces (remember my rule of thumb), but I often leave the base free of a top coat.

Furthermore, I don't always use a top coat on painted decor that is hung on the wall and rarely touched.

Bottom Line
If you paint a piece that doesn't get much daily use, you never put a wet glass on top of it, then top coat protection isn't necessary! This cottage white dresser has no protection. It's out of the way and doesn't get daily use so I didn't bother to apply a top coat.

white dresser

The other option with a piece like this is to wax or poly the top surface only, just so it has some protection from anything that gets put down on top of it. It's easier to dust and clean a piece that has a bit of a slick surface, like you get with wax or poly.

I know it can be very overwhelming to find the right product to protect your piece because there are so many to choose from!

I trust this post has provided some useful information and tips for those of you who are considering how to best protect your chalky painted furniture pieces, and when to use a wax or a poly.

Chalk Paint FAQs

Can I apply poly over wax?
No, unfortunately because there is nothing for the poly to grip onto, and it will never dry and cure. You can, however, apply wax over poly! Just remember that wax is last!

How long does it take for wax or poly to cure?
It can take up to 6 weeks for soft waxes to cure, slightly less for the hard wax I mention in this post. Poly will cure much faster than wax, but it's best to give your furniture about a week before you start using it! Wait for 30 days with furniture that you've waxed with a hard wax.

Can I paint over furniture that has a wax or poly topcoat?
Yes you can! However, for the best results I would recommend waiting for the wax or poly to properly cure before painting it again, otherwise you run the risk of peeling paint.

Can I sand furniture that has wax or poly?
Again, you can but it's best to wait until the topcoat has fully cured so you experience the best results! If you try to sand too soon, you'll wind up with a gummy mess! It's always best to distress or sand before adding a topcoat!

Go ahead and PIN THIS IMAGE so that you'll have it for easy reference in the future!


blue chalk painted armoire

As always, please feel free to contact me if you have specific questions.


bringing beauty to the ordinary,

Become a DIY insider!
You'll never miss a post, and you'll get all my FREE tutorials
and more...delivered straight to your inbox!

Let's be Social! Follow along on PinterestFBTwitterInstagram

79 comments:

  1. Great post Cindy! Do you remember way back when I has asked you about Chalk Paint and you took the time to answer me? I'd like to think I've come a long way since then, but I am always eager to learn more. This is really great information on the differences between all these top coats.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Mary! Yes, I do remember your question way back when...and yes, you have come a long way :) I'm so glad you found this information helpful! Have fun painting!

      Delete
  2. I have used a few of these products but I always enjoy learning about more options. This is an excellent reference post. Pinned

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the Pin Debra! I know there are many more options available, but these are a few tried and true favorites that are still very affordable.

      Delete
  3. I love chalk paint and usually put a coat of wax on afterwards...Your chalky finish projects are beautiful, I love that wood slice clock especially! Thank you for stopping by to party at Sweet Inspiration this weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Katrin! I really love the way wax brings out a natural sheen in freshly painted pieces!

      Delete
  4. Thank you so much Cindy. This post cleared up a whole bunch of questions for me. All your pieces are so beautiful and it's lovely having everything in one place for easier reference. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Michelle, I'm so glad my top coat options post was helpful for you! Thank you for your sweet words!

      Delete
  5. Cindy I have chosen this post as my feature this week at the Sweet Inspiration Link Party. Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great information! I'm the kind of person who learns as I go which isn't always the most successful way to go about things ;) So, this is something I will definitely refer back to! Pinning & sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am interested in painting my bathroom vanity...I think poly is best as a finish coat...what would you suggest as antiquing?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are going to poly your cabinets, do any antiquing before and apply the poly as a final coat to protect your hard work! You could apply a glaze (either purchased or mixed yourself by watering down dark brown paint and rubbing on and off with a rag).

      Delete
  8. Love this post..thank you for the info..looking forward to chalk painting as a beginner and also making my own chalk paint.. You make it seem like it may be a breeze..lets hope so��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I won't lie...painting is hard work! But it's not overly complicated to make your own chalky type paint, and your wallet will definitely thank you! I happen to really enjoy the process of making something old and ugly 'new' again!! Good luck!

      Delete
  9. Can I apply wax after poly? Do I need to apply wax after poly. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Delisa,you apply wax OR poly, not both! Wax is rubbed on/buffed off, poly is brushed on. Hope that clears it up.

      Delete
  10. I'd like to add that Minwax makes a matte polycrylic now and it is gorgeous! It's truly matte. I've used it on my DIY chalk painted pieces and I'd say it's pretty durable - want to go with those full three coats for something hardy. I'm going to try out the GF flat finish. :) Thanks for the post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for adding that, Zovesta! I'll have to check it out. You will really enjoy the GF product!

      Delete
  11. I am fixing to do my first chalky paint project and this information was really helpful. I do have two questions though.....
    1. What's the deal with the different wax colors? I have heard dark wax, light wax, clear wax.....how do you know what to use? (fyi I am going to be painting a dark wood twin bed white)
    2. Is there a certain type of brush I should use when painting? I have seen the little round brushes but didn't know if they were necessary or not (that stuff gets expensive!)

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These are great questions Amanda! Wax is used as a protective top coat, but depending on the color you use, you can change the look of your painted piece. For instance, dark wax is used when you want to antique and deepen the color, white wax softens the look and tones down the color and clear wax is just for protection...it doesn't alter the color at all. So for your painted bed, unless you want to antique it I would choose clear or white wax. Some clear waxes tend to turn your white painted furniture a dingy color...so if you want it to be pure white, I'd use a white wax. As far as brushes go, it's a very personal thing. Some people swear by the rounded brushes, others like to use cheap chip brushes. I personally prefer the 2" short handled angled brush by Purdy. It is easy to find (check HD, Lowes or Amazon), fairly inexpensive, I can easily get into corners, and I like a flat surface for pulling my paint across a piece. That said, I have a couple rounded brushes that I am eager to try. But it's absolutely not necessary! Again, some people like to use special brushes for wax. I use a cheap rag that I can toss when I'm done! It's certainly all about budget (what you can afford and want to spend your money on) and preference!

      Hope this helps and happy painting!

      Delete
  12. Great article for beginner. I'd like to add poly is essentially liquid plastic. Water based poly, such as polyacrylic, it's not the best option for anything left in direct sunlight (nor is any wax) or for items that will be subject to constant moisture, water or chemicals! That's for those of you repainting cabinets in bath or kitchen! You cannot clean these surfaces with household chemicals! Damp cloth only. You will need a kcma compliant top coat if you'd like them to stand up to years of wear and tear and look professional. Oil based poly is a bit more durable than water based but WILL YELLOW WITH TIME OVER LIGHT AND WHITE PAINTS. ALL OF THEM WILL! Just because the front label says crystal clear does not mean it will not yellow! Flip it over and read the fine print. Also water based poly is infamous for leaving streaks on a large surface(like a dining table top) and sheen will not be consistent. You should spray these painted surfaces with a top coat whether it be the spray cans or your own hvlp sprayer(please don't use an airless sprayer if your trying to get personal results(these are made for large areas outside such as fences and not for fine woodwork). Recommend professional line of general finishes, and Behrens which also comes in spray can. Hope this helps add to a great article

    ReplyDelete
  13. I used Annie Sloan chalk paint on my kitchen cabinets a couple years ago. I finished them with light wax. Well they look horrible now. Chipped out and dull looking. I'm going to reapply the chalk paint and finish with a poly. Any recommendations for your favorite chalk paint and poly for kitchen cabinets? I'm thinking a bit of a sheen? What do you think?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no, so sorry you had that experience! My guess is that the light wax was not enough protection! I've heard very good things about DecoArt's new line of satin enamel paints...made specifically for cabinets! Here's what they say... "Americana Decor® Satin Enamels™ is a specially designed acrylic that gives a durable, satin finish to home decor projects. Works especially well in high-use areas such as bathrooms and kitchens. Its smooth brushability ensures fewer brushstrokes and minimal grain raising on wood. No need to sand or prime before using." Sounds like it might be the answer. You'll have to sand down the chips a little first so you have a smooth surface to paint! Good luck!

      Delete
  14. Cindy, can the Wipe-on Poly be used as a top coat for chalk paint?
    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't recommend it. It is meant to soak into wood. You'd be better off using the Top Coat made by General Finishes. You can brush it on. Hope that helps!

      Delete
  15. Varathane Soft-Touch Poly in Matte is a great top coat for chalky paint. It gives a similar feel as wax and the sheen is easy to get even. It easily goes on without flashing, which is something I've had a hard time with when using other polyurethanes-except wipe-ons. It has a very gentle sheen like wax produces and is very protective. It's water based and I've had no yellowing with it like has occured with other water-based polys.Oh, I've also wiped it on with a soft rag and with staining pads without having any streaking. I assume that when I apply it that way that I need to apply a few more coats for extra durability like when using true Wipe-On Polyurethanes. I finally found a topcoat I love that is easy to use! The Minwax Matte Poly mentioned earlier had too much of a shine for me-it is closer to a semi-satin sheen and it had a tendency to streak the few times I used it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. have you ever tried a brush-on top coat (like Rustoleum) over chalk painted fabric furniture? I have started painting 2 wingback chairs. I first painted the cushions and then waxed them. I'm not loving the look of the wax. Also, my cats love to sleep on these chairs and I am a little worried about the wax rubbing off on their fur over time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No I haven't, sorry. The wax gets buffed in to the paint, which I think helps the overall feel. I'm not sure what the results would be with a painted poly.

      Delete
  17. I need your help!!!I am in the process of redoing my bedroom furniture ...very old cherry type traditional look to a more updated coastal style bedroom. I mixed annie sloan's empire gray and black pepper, turned out so pretty almost bluish looking (I'm obsessed) however then I used general finishes top coat with a foam brush and it left white streaks all over I tried to sand and made it worse I don't know what to do!! Can you suggest anything? should I sand down and repaint then wax or what??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds like you got too much poly on the piece, that's why I prefer a good paint or wax brush over foam. You might be able to lightly sand the poly off and then either re-apply with a lighter touch or use wax.

      Delete
  18. Hi Cindy,

    I am hoping to start my first chalk paint project soon and I am glad I came across your article. I am hoping to work my way to a dining room table. I love the look with the dark wax but I am worried that's not the best finish option. What would you recommend to get the waxed look but also lasts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lori, when you say you want to "get the waxed look", I'm not sure if you're talking about the antique finish that dark wax gives or the soft sheen of furniture wax. It also depends on where you plan to use it. I wrote a post about finishing my dining table top (plus 3 leaves), and I found a great product that protects my stained top and gives the look of a waxed piece. You can read that post here http://www.diybeautify.com/2014/07/refinishing-dining-table.html. I'm also very fond of General Finishes Top Coat in Matte for painted pieces.

      Delete
  19. Rhonda in Panama City Beach, FLAugust 11, 2017 at 11:17 AM

    Cindy,
    Thank you so much for this!! We just bought a new home (we live in PCB, FL) and it came furnished. While I love some of the pieces, the dark colors need some happiness and love! I am so excited that I found your blog. You have really educated me on the options and the best products for the jobs! I can't wait to share some of my new updates with you in the future!
    Thanks again,
    Rhonda

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Rhonda, congrats on your new home! It sounds like you have some exciting projects ahead of you! I'm so glad you've found my posts beneficial, and hope you keep in touch and share some of your finished pieces!

      Delete
  20. Hello, Your post was very helpful. I have a coffee table that I used wax on but my children have really scratched it (not in a pretty way). Can I use a poly on top of this or do I have to sand and start all over?
    Thanks for the advice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You need to sand the wax off before applying a poly.

      Delete
    2. How to you best recommend sanding off the wax without damaging the color underneath? I am going through the same thing...

      Delete
  21. Such a helpful post for this beginner! Thank you! I'm curious if you have tried an aerosol spray top coat instead of brush on? Does it work as well? My Home Depot has the Rust-Oleum Chalked matte top coat only in aerosol spray can, not a brush on quart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No I haven't, but I have tried the Rustoleum Chalked spray paint and really liked it!

      Delete
  22. Hi! I am in process of painting my kitchen cabinets in Linen white chalk paint (Rustoleum) and love them so far- but worried about the top coat.. Bought General Finishes Premium water-based top coat (FLAT) and praying it doesn't yellow them or bubble- like in some reviews I've seen. What do you think? better to brush on with regular soft paint brush or use foam brush? OR skip top coat all together? Would love your opinion!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think you definitely want a top coat to protect your painted cabinets. I have used this top coat with good results. Be careful to apply very thin coats. If the cabinets get hit with direct sunlight, I might reconsider the top coat because I've found the sun can cause yellowing over time. I would definitely use a soft brush over a foam brush.

      Delete
  23. Thanks for the great info! I have painted 3 outdoor sign posts in Annie Sloan Chalk Paint - one in Old White and 2 in Graphite. As they will be outside in rain, snow, sun...I want to make sure they stand up well to the elements. What should I use as a top coat for them outside? Thanks. /Becky blmurphy1965@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi Cindy,

    I would like to ask your opinion. I'm renovating a kitchen dresser with a hutch (first time ever using chalk paint). I'm planning to use soft wax, clear and dark on it. After reading your Wax vs. Poly article made me think: should I use only poly for the inside, shelf area in the hutch? I'm planning to use it for coffee mugs and wine glasses. Everywhere else I'm planning to use "only" the wax. Is it okay to use two different materials on different areas of the furniture?
    Would love to hear your opinion,
    Thx,
    Andrea

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you can absolutely use two different top coat products to seal and protect your piece! I have used clear wax inside a hutch and it's held up beautifully! The drawback to using different products is that your finish may look different (sheen).

      Delete
  25. Need your help! I'm painting a snow man on a cabinet door for my front porch. Snowman in acrylics and door frame with chalk paint. I was planning to use a brown wax to antique the frame. What should I use to seal it? Wax? Poly spray?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe that wax should always be last! So, find a good outdoor spray poly to best protect your piece and then once that's dry, apply the dark antiquing wax.

      Delete
  26. If you make your own chalk paint, does the finish of the latex paint matter? For instance, do you use satin, flat, semi-gloss? Does it matter? Thank you so much for the information.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, flat paint will give you the best, chalky-like results!

      Delete
  27. What if I've already finished my dining table top with liquid wax? Have I permanently messed up? I didn't realize there were more durable finishes for dining table... Can i add something on top without ruining it?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Cindy
    In the past I've used the clear coat protection but in time, the piece ended up yellowing.I have a cabinet I just finished painting with chalky paint that I need to seal. It's white so I'm terrified to move on to sealing and unsure which ones will not end up yellowing. Any advice? Thanks and your info on here is the best!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Whether using wax or poly, do You have to lightly sand your painted piece before applying?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Nice post. I work in a paint store and it's actually a lot better to use a polycrilic water based top coat vs a polyurethane. :) Miniwax has a great selection of them. Have a nice day!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I am using the rust oleum chalked topcoat over renaissance chalk paint. The topcoat is very foamy leaving foam on the piece that dries thick. I’ve used inexpensive foam brushes and a pure bristle brush and both leave the same result. Do you have any suggestions???

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi, I recently tried repainting an older glossy kitchen table with black chalk paint which turned out nice but once I tried putting on the Rustoleum clear coat it looked like I had mixed in white paint and the result looks terrible. Are topcoats a no go with black chalk paints or did I screw up somewhere?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Topcoats are fine to use with chalk paint. It sounds like you may have applied it too heavily. I like to use straight dark wax on my pieces that I've painted black.

      Delete
  33. Hey there,
    Great info here! My husband and I worked hard to sand down a stained and finished coffee table, then we used rustolums white chalked paint, all this went well. Finally I go to put on the top coat, Minwax waterbased Polycrylic finish, and it yellowed it almost immediately. Now I have to re-sand it, thankfully its just one leg and the bottom side of the coffee table but still it stinks. Anyways can you please tell me the best top coat to protect the white chalk painted coffee table? I'm afraid of this happening again!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Great information. I just newly started doing chalk paint. I re did my kitchen table and finished it with wax. However it is getting a lot of wear and tear and water spots are everywhere. Am i able to polyurethane it although I already waxed it? Thanks so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, wax should always be last! I recommend sanding the wax off OR painting another coat of chalk paint over it. I don't recommend wax for heavily used surfaces such as tables. You'd be much better off using multiple light coats of a poly, like I suggest in this post.

      Delete
  35. Hello Cindy I chalk painted my laundry room cabinets and then I applied a clear satin polyurethane top coat but it left the cabinets streaky :( What can I do because I don't like them this way. Can I put wax over it? Or do I have to sand and repaint them again? Thanks in advance :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would just paint over them again with chalk paint. Give the paint several days to cure before adding a top coat!

      Delete
  36. Wow! Your pieces are amazing! My boyfriend and I painted our bare wood kitchen cabinets with magnolia chalk white paint. We did three coats. Some of the cabinets have yellowing streaks on them- what would you recommend to fix these streaks? We are also unsure what to use for finishing the cabinets. We purchased clear satin mini wax water based polycrylic finish. Do you think that would be the best product? Thank you so much!!!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Your page is very helpful! I recently used black chalk paint on our dining table and used a soft wax to seal. Do I need to sand it to add more wax? Just curious for general upkeep. We use the table daily and would like to know that I can re wax if needed (hopefully, without sanding)
    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Resanding between wax coats is not necessary! I would recommend several thin coats for the best protection! Once a year or so, clean table and rewax as needed.

      Delete
  38. I ordered chalk paint and I'm so excited! If all goes well, I'll be doing two simple desks and some other pieces. I'm going to buy the General Finishes water-based top coat and I was wondering about the proper brush to use. Can you also suggest how much paint and top coat I would need? Is one quart enough? Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so much fun to transform something with paint! I love my Purdy 2" angled Cub brush, it can get into tight spaces perfectly! 1 quart should be enough paint for 2 small desks. I recommend for your second coat to wet your brush first, it will help the second coat go on smoother. I believe a quart of top coat would be plenty too!

      Delete
  39. Great article! I refinished a bookshelf/bench with my own diy chalk paint and a dark glaze to give it a grained look. After putting the first layer of poly (watet based polyurethane)and lightly sanding it (320 sandpaper) I was so sad! The sanding exposed the original paint and it looks terrible. The piece will get heavy wear with 2 kids climbing on it constantly. What are your recommendations for the top coat?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So sorry for your trouble! I always sand before the top coat, not after! Just repaint the piece and then finish with a durable top coat like General Finishes Flat Out. 2 or 3 light coats would be perfect!

      Delete
  40. Cindy, your recommendation for a brush to use for wax or top coat, please. I'm using the 2" Purdy for the paint, but I notice a lot of people online are using a rather fat brush for top coats. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For wax, I do like to use a round brush or one with a short, flexible handle (Wooster sells some here https://amzn.to/2EcK0FS). For a top coat, I use just a cheap chip brush. Hope this helps!

      Delete
  41. Hi Cindy. Well, I just painted my laminate desk with Renaissance black chalk paint and it's more of a charcoal grey:( I just read that adding some Golden heavy body acrylic paint to the chalk paint will make it blacker. What do you think of that or do you have a better suggestion? I have three more pieces to do after this desk and every piece will be situated close together. HELP!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What I would probably do if it were me... the easiest thing, would be to use dark wax over the paint. This will add depth and richness... maybe even make it slightly darker. Otherwise, try adding black acrylic paint into the chalk paint pot (start with 1 tablespoon), mix well, and see if that helps! I have done this to adjust colors and it works! Good luck! Please let me know how it turns out!!

      Delete
  42. I couldn't find heavy body acrylic, and to be honest, all of the bending over to paint this desk took a toll on me. So I bought Rust-Oleum Universal Black Satin. Haven't used it yet. I can return it if I need to. Since I have 3 more pieces to cover, plus this desk, I realize that spraying is probably my best bet. Do you think it will work over the chalk paint? And do you think it will work over the other pieces without any priming? Thank you so much for your time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would hesitate using spray paint over chalk paint! But I really don't know...I don't use spray paint much and am not an expert! Sorry!

      Delete
  43. Hi Cindy! My wife and I recently sanded down and painted an old kitchen table and china cabinet. We decided on a two tone theme with white and light grey. It’s been several days since we finished which I thought was plenty of the to dry; however, when I applied the clear Miniwax polycrylic I began to notice streaking and yellowing. Any advice? These pieces will be getting a lot of use so we want to make sure they are protected!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That old wood can be very tricky, a lot of tannins are drawn to the surface when you apply a top coat. The best solution is to paint over it with a blocking primer like Kilz or Zinsser. Then you can follow up with your paint of choice. Hope this helps!

      Delete

Your comments are like sunshine and chocolate! Thanks for taking the time to leave a nice one ;) I read all comments and love to respond if you leave your email! Otherwise, please look for my response under the post where you left it!

Copyright DIY beautify 2013. Powered by Blogger.

Privacy

I love when you share! Just remember that all images and text on this site are property of DIY beautify. You are welcome to use one or two photos as long as a link back to my original post is included. Please do not remove any watermarks, crop or edit any of my images without first obtaining written permission from me. All free printables on my site are for personal use only, and not to be used to make money. Pinning and Sharing is always welcome and appreciated. Please respect the effort I've put into my blog and I will do the same for you...Thank You!