To Wax or Not To Wax?

To wax or not to wax?

Ah… The age old question: “To wax or not to wax over chalk paint?”

OK, so maybe it isn’t the question that’s been around for as long as chalk paint itself, but it is definitely a dilemma I’ve been facing more and more…

Nothing compares to the soft luster and rich glow of a freshly waxed piece of reLoved furniture!! However, applying wax over chalk paint is the most challenging, labor intensive and time consuming aspect of painting furniture with chalk and chalk-style paint.

Wax over chalk paint

Granted, not all waxes are created equal. Some waxes are downright difficult to work with and even require you to take a special class on proper application techniques.

Then there’s the durability issue.

Yes, I have an issue… Wax only offers minimal protection and wax is NOT permanent. Nor is it even semi-permanent. In fact, if it was a hair dye, it would be temporary!!

You see, wax wears off over time with use, leaving your beautiful chalk painted furniture all porous and exposed; a magnet for chocolaty little fingers and cheese puff smudges!

In order to maintain continued protection, wax needs to be reapplied every few months!

Re-apply paste wax every few months?? Ain't nobody got time for that!!

Re-apply paste wax over chalk paint every few months??


But wax isn’t THE ONLY option!

Why not go with a water-based polyurethane sealer, such as Varethane or Polycrylic over chalk paint?

These products are an excellent alternative, and offer far superior protection than a wax. A few coats of polycrylic will last YEARS beyond a few coats of wax, and can be much easier to work with.

Plus, polycrylics are more chemical resistant and are not heat sensitive like wax.

And unlike wax, if you ever chose to repaint your furniture, the polycrylic does not need to be 100% completely removed.

Waterbased polycrylic over chalk paint

Don’t get me wrong, polycrylics are not without drawbacks.

Although they can have a yellowing effect over white and light colors, I personally have had good success with Varethane staying clear. Some waxes will yellow also, so that can still be an issue if you went that route. (I have also used clear spray-on sealers for smaller projects, with no issues what-so-ever!)

With the ease of application, I am finding water-based polyurethanes to be my go-to finish of choice over chalk painted furniture.

And if you are looking for a good alternative to do-it-yourself chalk-style paint, read my post on an Not So DIY Chalk Paint Recipe.

I’d love to hear your feedback! What is your sealer of choice over chalk paint and chalk-style paint on your reLoved furniture, and what, if any, challenges do you face?


Still have questions?? I posted an update with answers to all the most commonly asked questions I’ve received.
You can read it here:  “Wax or Polycrylic Over Chalk Paint?”



  1. Katie

    I painted my first piece of furniture w/ Annie Sloan paint and used wax over the top. I wish I saw this post beforehand. The wax is not working at all and I now need to repaint and seal with the poly. Do I need to sand the wax off first or can I just add another coat of Annie Sloan over top?
    Thank you

  2. Jen Noguera

    I need help! I am new to all of this fun hobby of painting and refinishing. I have recently painted a wood rocking chair in Annie Sloan chalk paint and now need to seal it so I can use it outside. I have searched and searched and still do not know what to use! I would love to use something that is environmentally friendly/not as harmful. Can you help me?

    Thank you!

  3. Bobbi Jo

    I used a clear poly over wax paint and the poly was streaky when it dried for the first coat. For the second coat if poly I decided to use a small foam roller and now I have foam bubbles on my door. What to do? Sand, Repaint and then try brushing poly back on? Thanks.


Leave a Reply