The Finishing Touch

My last post on distressing led to more questions on how to finish out a piece, so what to post next  was a given.  Finishing a piece is what gives a piece its timeless quality and really “seals” the piece.  As with all my tips, this is just what I do…my opinion…there are so many options out there and you honestly need to play with them all and determine what works best FOR YOU! I do 7-10 pieces a week, so it makes more sense for me to invest in pricier products, supplies, etc. If you are only working  on a single piece, you may not choose to invest in a full can of wax, etc.

First, you need to consider WHAT you have painted, take into account what type of paint you used, is your piece going indoors or outdoors, and what look is desired for your piece. Since I typically work with vintage furniture, that is what I am going to focus on for this post (I do promise a little blurb on other items).

I currently only paint with CeCe Caldwell’s Chalk and Clay paint. I paint my piece in desired color(s), distress it (which some do AFTER waxing), and then I apply CeCe Caldwell’s Clear Wax (which you can tint if you want a darker finish).  CeCe’s WILL BE RELEASING A DARK WAX and I am pumped!!!  You apply a coat of clear wax, then a coat of tinted wax (or the Dark Wax).  If you get too much, no problem! Add a bit more clear wax and the heavier spots will work right out….are you now seeing why this stuff is so ideal??? It seriously makes it SO EASY! Once the wax cures, it seals the piece and hardens the paint, therefore protecting your piece. Wax and distressing help give your piece that worn, antiqued look.  Please see example below:

When I used Latex paint, I would cure with MinWax or good ole’ fashioned Lacquer.  MinWax is the same principle as CeCe’s or ASCP wax, it is just consists of  strong chemicals (a.k.a. STRONG ODOR), and is a thicker base, making it a tad harder to work and blend in. I never tried tinting it, so I honestly have NO idea if that is possible or not. Sorry,this is where I have to admit that I don’t know everything! Also, please note that you can use CeCe and ASCP waxes on latex pieces!!!  I have done this many times and it works great! Again,the options are endless!!!

With lacquer, it is important to note that lacquer will always have its place in refinishing!! It is a hard  sealant and will seal anything!  I no longer use it regularly, but if  a piece that is going outdoors or for a piece done in latex paint, I just feel better when I finish it out with Lacquer.  I use spray lacquer as I found the brush on lacquer always had a streaky finish.  NOTE that lacquer gives your piece a shinier finish, so if you are going to more of an antiqued, worn look, this may not be your best option.  Spray lacquer is fairly inexpensive and a good option if you are on a one-piece budget or if you have stained a piece instead of painted it.   Word of Warning…it is a strong chemical so the odor is awful. You need to use it in a well ventilated space and I recommend wearing a mask.  I DO NOT USE LACQUER WHILE PREGNANT…I know some refinishers do, but I highly recommend you don’t.  Here is an example of Latex paint with a coat of lacquer as the sealant.

For pieces like metal, outdoor furniture, etc. I only have experience with latex or spray paint and lacquer. I have not yet done an outdoor piece with Chalk paint, nor have I used wax on anything other than my solid wood furniture.  I promise to research this for you, try a few pieces, and let you know what I think.  For now, I will say that I normally spray paint these types of furniture, allow dry time, then spray with lacquer.  Now that I am addicted to CeCe’s paint, I am  going to have to find me some outdoor pieces and get busy! 🙂

Finishing your piece really is an important step as it is like adding the bow to the top of a present! It will not only protect your piece from chips, scratches, etc, but will also complete the look you want for your project. Good luck and happy finishing!


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