How To Use Dark Wax To Antique Furniture

One of the simplest and most beautiful ways to give an antique look to a piece of painted furniture is by applying dark wax.

There are several brands of wax and, more recently, companies have started offering waxes in a great variety of colors besides the traditional clear and dark.


Today’s contributor is Patricia from The Wood Spa and she is a sharing a tutorial on how to use dark wax to age furniture. All posts contributed by Patricia for Grillo Designs can be found HERE.

Easy to follow tutorial on how to use dark wax to antique furniture / Grillo Designs


This post contains affiliate links for your convenience – please see full disclosure here

One of the simplest and most beautiful ways to give an antique look to a piece of painted furniture is by applying dark wax.


There are several brands of wax and, more recently, companies have started offering waxes in a great variety of colors besides the traditional clear and dark. The ones simply called “dark” or ” antiquing” wax are still my favorite.


No matter what brand you choose, my only recommendation is to look for a very soft one. The softer the better, as it allows you more time to work on your piece before it dries.


Tip 1 on using dark wax to antique furniture / Grillo Designs


Annie Sloan’s dark wax is a very good product, but its consistency is a little hard compared to some other brands. When using A.S. dark wax, I usually pre-mix it with a soft clear wax to make it more workable.


Mix soft wax with dark wax to age furniture/ Grillo Designs


Another excellent product is Antiquing Wax by American Paint Company. Both their clear and dark wax are already deliciously soft and easy to work with.


Tip 2 on using dark wax to antique furniture / Grillo Designs




Please check out my video below for a more in depth look!


After painting and sealing your piece, wait until it is completely dry before applying dark wax. Depending on the sealer you used, drying time may vary between 2 to 12 hours. I previously wrote a post about how to make chalk paint at home – click here to read it.


Tip 3 on using dark wax to antique furniture / Grillo Designs


Why sealing it first? Water-based sealers and wax don’t mix so if, for example, you you apply polycrylic on your waxed piece, you will get a messy coat of both products that won’t dry and will come off on your hands and clothes. (Yes, I learned it the hard way). Also, if you apply clear wax on top of your dark wax, the second will remove the first.


Tip 4 on using dark wax to antique furniture / Grillo Designs


You can use a cheap brush or a wax brush to apply the wax. Make sure you remove loose bristles before using it.


how to use dark wax over chalk paint to antique furniture / Grillo Designs


Immediately after applying it, wipe off the excess using a clean rag. How much wax you remove is up to you. Remove more if you want just a subtle antique look, such in this chair, or leave most of it if you want it to look beautifully old.


how to apply dar wax to furniture to get the antique look/ Grillo Designs


Wax dries fast, so work on one small area at a time.


Tip 5 on using dark wax to antique furniture / Grillo Designs


If you think you went too heavy in a certain area, don’t panic. Just apply a little clear wax over the dark wax and wipe it with a clean rag. The clear wax will remove the most of the dark wax so you can start that spot over.


how dark wax looks on furniture after application / Grillo Designs
Dark wax gets into all nooks and crannies giving it a beautiful aged look.

the effect of using dark wax on furniture / Grillo Designs


WATCH MY VIDEO to check out how I used dark wax on this chair and cedar chest.





You can also use dark wax to enhance raised details on certain pieces. Use a rug or thin brush to apply it on the desired area wipe off excess with a clean rug.


using dark wax to bring out the features in furniture / Grillo Designs


dark wax effects on a ceder box/ Grillo Designs


Here are some other examples of how to use dark wax on your painted pieces.


Dark wax on carved details click here to read my full tutorial for this


how dark wax looks on carved furniture details / Grillo Designs


getting the aged look with dark wax / Grillo Designs


vignette effect from using dark wax on furniture / Grillo Designs
“Vignette” effect. Apply wax only on the edges and remove it with a rag in circular movements.




I hope this was helpful. Thanks for reading and feel free to ask me questions in the comments area below!

Don’t forget to follow me on social media to see all my projects.





how to paint ikea furniture - and sealing with clear and dark wax




how to use chalk paint to paint a picture frame - with a dark wax tutorial / grillo designs




A guide to repairing damaged veneer before applying paint and wax / Grillo Designs




easy tutorial on how to glaze furniture / Grillo Designs




  1. Hi. I have a traditional Chippendale style cherry bedroom set. I’d like to update the dresser and chest with a darker (on-red) finish and new hardware. How would dark antiquing wax work for this purpose? Can it be used directly on stained furniture without stripping? Thanks!

  2. How do you keep the wax from coming off? Is there a way to seal it so it doesn’t? Seems like each time an antiqued piece is cleaned some more wax will come off, which is exactly the opposite of what would happen naturally.

  3. hola me gustaria mucho estar en contacto c vos , soy principiante total en esto, pero tengo coraje pinto y hago arreglos en casa mi situacion economica no es elevada, gracias por de argentina ,chubut.

  4. Hi Cathy B again, forgot to ask, do you have a preferred brand of clear and dark wax? I know you mentioned using a soft wax, how would you know how soft it is without buying several and comparing?

    1. Hi Cathy,
      My favorite is American Paint Company dark wax. You can find it online. I also use Annie Sloan dark wax with a few drops of mineral spirits to make it softer. That’s something I discovered recently and it works like a charm to make any wax softer!

  5. Hello,
    I am having a custom built-in hutch made for my dining room. it is going to be painted with Benjamin Moore “Advance” paint. Can i use the clear wax as the “sealer”, followed immediately with the dark wax or do i need to seal it with a traditional sealer before i use the clear and dark wax to antique it? If you recommend a full sealing first, what brand do you recommend?

  6. Hi. I have an old solid cherry bedroom set that is a reddish stain and glossy finish. I was hoping to apply dark wax to make it look a little darker and more “antique”. Have you ever applied wax to stained furniture?

    1. Hi Michelle, you can seal with polycrylic or clear wax. Whatever you feel more comfortable working with. I use wax for pieces that won’t get much traffic. Poly makes your finish more durable. Good luck!

  7. Hi, is it possible to use the dark wax to antique wood kitchen cabinets? I’m not wanting to paint them but more so just update them if possible but I’m not sure how to go about it. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Yes Laura, you can apply dark wax to your cabinets. Make sure they are clean and free of grease. Work small sections at a time. With a chip brush, apply clear wax first, then immediately apply dark wax, and wipe off the excess. You can test it on the interior of your doors first until you decide how much dark wax looks good to your taste. Good luck!

  8. I have two beautiful matching pictures with gold shiny frames that I would love to update how can I paint them a brown color without just spray painting them

  9. I painted a wood piece with a semi-gloss latex paint. Do I need to seal it? Or can I go right to the wax? I found your article very helpful and am ready to try it myself.

    1. Thank you!
      You can apply wax right away. It will get darker and a little harder to remove It, if you decide to. The look is a very antiqued one, not so subtle.
      If you do it, don’t apply any sealer after or it will ruin your finish. Wax is the last step.
      Good luck!

  10. This is probably a dumb question, but can you use wax on wood laminate? I have a coffee table I am trying to revamp and I didn’t know that under the layers of nasty black paint it was actually wood laminate instead of solid wood. My hope of staining it are gone, but I am wondering if I can antique it with a dark wax or if I will have to just paint it first……whatcha think?

    1. Not a dumb question! Inhonestly never waxed straigh on laminate, but any surface accepts paint, so that would be my choice. Paint then wax. Good luck!!

  11. Very useful, I’ve learned a lot already, thank you! May I ask, before applying dark wax, what type of sealer I should use as a finish on chalk paint? Can I use dark wax (for antiquing) on chalk paint without any sealer?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *