There are plenty of tutorials out there that show you how to use dark wax to do this ... I published one myself because that's what I used to do, and it's my most popular post to date (HERE). One day, though, I had a revelation ... dark wax sits on top of the finish and it isn't permanent. That's okay for some folks, but I work hard to get my painted furniture pieces looking just the way I think they should look, and I want them to stay that way. I do this by using glaze instead of dark wax. Here's what I use and how I do it:
There are no special supplies needed. Squirt some brown acrylic craft paint into a disposable cup. Add water and stir until the mix is a consistency somewhere between cream and milk. Grab your paintbrush (I use a disposable chip brush) and a couple of paper towels, and let's get started.
Here's what the table leg looked like before any glaze was applied.
Painted table leg, wet distressed, ready for glaze.
The idea is to brush the glaze mixture onto the paint, and to work it into the turnings and crevices with your brush. Go easy with this ... you don't want it to drip all over the place. I apply only enough glaze to wet the surface and I scrub it in good with my brush.
I work in circles or across the grain to get the glaze into every crevice.
The glaze gets all foamy when I scrub it in with my brush.
Then I blot my brush on a paper towel ...
... and smooth the glaze until it's just a haze on the surface of the paint. If you need to, you can use a paper towel to carefully blot any place where you have too much glaze.
All smooth now. Final strokes in the direction of the grain, and around the turnings.
The glaze creeps into the nooks and crannys, and it adds even more to the appearance of age and wear on this table.
Here, you can clearly see all three colors of paint (Graphite, Olive, and Aubusson), plus some raw wood.
I usually put on two coats of glaze, just to make sure that I haven't missed any spots and to even out any blotchy spots that may have happened during the initial coat of glaze. See the places in the turnings of this leg that got missed while I was working on the first coat with the table upside down? When the first coat of glaze is dry, I flip the table and apply the second coat with the table right-side up to catch all of these places.
Blotchy, with spots that I missed with the first coat. I'll fix it!
For these tables, I was aiming for a streaky, smoky look to the final finish ... not as much as those awful old-school antiquing paint kits that many of us remember from the 60s and 70s, though.
Once the glaze was completely dry, I applied two VERY light coats of Minwax Satin Wipe-On Oil-based Polyurethane. If done with a light hand, and carefully buffed with a sanding pad between coats, I almost dare anyone to tell the difference between this and a clear wax finish. (If you want, you can use clear wax after the glaze instead of polyurethane ... for myself, I prefer the durability and permanent nature of varnish.)
As soon as I get some decent photos of the tables in place, which means spending the rest of today completing the reclamation of our living room, I will be thrilled to show you the final result.
sharing at Miss Mustard Seed