5 Tips To Take the Fear Out of Using Dark Wax

Using Dark Wax

There are three things that strike fear into my DIY heart. Using a hot glue gun, sewing machines, and using dark wax on painted furniture.

Let me explain; I have a friend who had a hot glue gun explode all over her hand creating serious burns. I had never heard of this happening, have you? Thankfully, I don’t use one very often.

My sewing machine and I are now “in a relationship,” although I don’t know how committed it will be. You can read more about how I conquered this fear here.

As far as using dark wax is concerned, we have quite a bit of unhappy history. It’s a love/hate dislike relationship. Sometimes it makes me very happy, and sometimes it just does me dirty. (pun intended)

What’s so scary about using dark wax?

If you have ever used dark wax, then you already know the answer to this question. It’s so dark! Β When you open the jar you realize immediately just how dark and scary it really is.

Just look!

Using dark wax doesn't have to be scary. I have five tips to make remove the fear factor

The idea of slapping this on a piece of furniture you just spent two days painting is downright terrifying if you ask me.

Don’t worry; I’m here to help with the fear. I do not claim to be an expert on using dark wax, but I have learned a few things along the way that I think you will find useful.

5 Fearless Tips

  1. Invest in a good quality wax brush. It makes a huge difference in the application. You can use a lint free cloth to apply wax, but I have found that much of the product gets absorbed into the cloth.

Investing in a good quality wax brush makes a big difference when you are applying dark wax to painted furniture.

2. Start with the smallest amount. Less is more when it comes to antiquing wax. You can always add more. I would suggest practicing on any scrap wood pieces you might have so you can get an idea of just how much wax you want to use.

3. Use a plastic knife to smear the wax onto your brush much like you spread butter on toast. This helps you control the amount of wax being applied on that first brush stroke.

Seal your pieces with clear wax prior to applying dark wax to avoid staining your paint color.

4. Seal your pieces with clear wax first, then apply dark wax to avoid staining your paint color. I used this technique when I painted my dining room chairs. The color I used is called linen, and I just felt it was a little too white. The dark wax highlighted the details just enough without making the paint look dirty for lack of a better word.

The first strip on this sample board has antiquing wax applied directly onto milk paint. You can see how it literally stains the color.

Applying dark wax doesn't have to be scary. I have 5 tips that will help you remove the fear factor.

5. Brush on and wipe off. Any wax you apply requires a certain amount of elbow grease. You are working it into the paint. Always follow the manufacturers instructions for dry time before you wipe and buff. Miss Mustard Seed’s waxes are usually dry to the touch within 3 to 5 minutes. I use a lint free cloth to buff and wipe away any excess.

Bonus tip: I always remove a small amount of wax from my original container to a paper plate or whatever I have handy. You want to keep that expensive jar of wax as clean as possible by not contaminating it with paint or other particles.


Was this information useful?

I hope these tips help you to go forth and apply antiquing wax fearlessly. I don’t use it that often, but when I do I am not quite as scared as I used to be.

Have you ever used dark wax? Β I love a good project story. Be sure to share in the comments, you know I read and appreciate every single one.

Using dark wax doesn't have to strike fear into your heart. I have 5 tips that will have you waxing fearlessly.


I remain your fearless sister in paint,


(The links below are Amazon affiliate links. If you choose to order any items using the links I have provided, I may receive a small commission.)




  1. Kim says:

    LISA. I have only been brave enough to use clear and white wax, because… antiquing wax is like… so dark. I am getting brave though, and your tips are perfect – definitely less scaredy pants πŸ˜€

  2. Kim says:

    I am not much a furniture refinisher, but lately I have been getting the bug to update a few pieces. Thank you for the tips. I was ready for the paint, but now you have me thinking about the wax!

    • Lisa says:

      Florence, since I use Miss Mustard Seed’s waxes I just use dish washing liquid to clean my brushes. Sometimes it takes several applications of soap to get them clean, but it does the job.

  3. Sarah says:

    How did I miss this post?? You’ve made dark wax seem much less scary- and I’m desperately wanting to give it a go now.πŸ˜ƒ And thanks for the tips- I would have totally been dipping my brush into the wax pot. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚

  4. Anika says:

    I have not tried dark wax yet just out if fear!! Thanks for the tips!! It seems so much more doable!! Need to find the right piece now!

  5. Carolann says:

    These tips are terrific Lisa! I already made a mistake once using it and now I am armed and ready for the next time I use it. Thanks so much for sharing. Pinning too!

  6. Mary says:

    I know I must have commented before. Hum! I have a jar of dark stain here looking at me. Hopefully after reading your post I will now be able to look back at it with confidence!

  7. Leanna says:

    Great post Lisa. You are spot on with experiencing fear to use it. I have not dared to use it yet and I will now. Thank you so much for the tip about putting light wax before you start using the dark wax. Great tip.

  8. Renee says:

    I have a problem…maybe you can help…I used a dark wax over a light gray chalk paint and I didn’t use the clear first…mistake#1….and it dried before I could wipe it down….mistake#2. Now, it’s pretty, but darker than We wanted…I’m thinking today to use a clear wax to see if that will help lift some of the unwanted darkness…I may add some of the gray paint into the clear wax…is there anything else you can recommend to remove some of the dark wax? I even though of using HOT cloths to lift some….suggestions? This was a very informative post and I wish I had found you sooner…:)

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