You just spend hours planning, prepping, and painting a piece of furniture. And guess what? You’re not done. The last step is to make sure the results will last. Whether you refinished a table top with stain or you painted a dresser there are specific steps you want to take in order to protect the finish. So I thought I would share with you what I use to protect painted furniture.
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Hold up. If you’re just getting started be sure to check out my detailed guide to painting furniture. I’ve got you covered. from picking the right piece and choosing a color to putting on the finishing touches.
Choosing a product to protect painted furniture depends on a couple of things: what the piece is used for, the look you are going for, and how much work you want to put into it. I’ve never used a premade chalk paint before and I’ve used milk paint once or twice. Both of these products give a chalky finish or a matte finish. Sometimes I use my own recipe for making a matte paint finish but I would imagine the others can be protected in the same way. Keep in mind if you are painting with a satin or glossy finish paint you might not need a protective finish.
How to Protect Painted Furniture
I use products that are easily found at the Home Depot or even online. I’m going to go through each of them and explain how to use them.
Waxes that Protect Painted Furniture
Polyvine – This is one of my all-time favorite finishes because it goes on smooth with a paint brush and dries to a soft wax finish. You can order Polyvine here and you have some options. If you want a flat or aged look you want the dead flat finish. They also carry a satin and I hear if you have a piece that will see heavy traffic you can even use the satin and then finish with the dead flat. What I love about this product is it can be used over decorative waxes.
Dirty Wax – (found here) This is an organic product sold by The Diva of DIY. I love love love this product because it smells like oranges, is safe to use and comes in 4 different colors. I have a small container of each one and I’ve used it on several projects. This product lasts because you use very little. I use a wax brush to apply the wax to the piece and then within a couple of minutes wipe off the excess. After I cover the piece like this I then buff the wax with a clean rag or the buffing pad on my sander.
Minwax Paste Finishing Wax – (You can get it here) This is the first product I ever used when I started painting furniture. I use it on pieces that will get more use out of them. Tables, dressers, and coffee tables are the most common. I will sometimes use a stain on top of the paint to make an antique looking finish. When you use finishing wax on stain some of the stain will lift making the color bright again.
To use finishing wax use an old rag or shop towel (I like the disposable kind). Scrape wax out of the container with the rag and rub onto the entire piece. Wait 20 minutes and then rub the excess off with a clean rag and buff the surface until it shines.
I like the finish this product gives. I sand the painted surface smooth but this product makes the surface really nice and protects it really well. I did read the warning label when I was pregnant and had nightmares so don’t use it while pregnant. I always make sure I am using it outside or in a well-ventilated area.
You also want to make sure you get all the excess wax off. This product will have a gunky yellow look to it if it isn’t wiped off. On paint, with a darker color, it will have white specks too.
Other Ways to Protect Painted Furniture
Minwax Wipe-On Poly – (You can get it here) I just recently used this for a painted sign I wanted to use on my front porch. It was really easy to use and comes in both satin and glossy. (I use the satin) I also use this when I refinish table tops with a new stain. I will probably continue to use this when I have stained wood signs and trough boxes.
To use the wipe-on poly I used the shop towels and poured a little on the towel to wipe on the project surface. It then seeps into the surface. Once dry rub fine steel wool on the surface until smooth and apply another coat of poly. You will do this until your surface no longer needs to be rubbed with steel wool after drying. On tables, I like to do one more coat after that to make sure it’s well protected.
If you want to add more protection to your pieces you can use poly and then the finishing wax. But DO NOT use wax and then poly on top. Wax is meant to repel and it will cause the poly to repel off the surface.
Howard’s Feed-N-Wax – (You can get it here) This is a furniture conditioner and it smells like oranges! I seriously love this stuff! I was looking for something I could use on smaller projects that don’t get a lot of wear and something I could use indoors. I like to use this on picture frames or home decor signs for a simple finishing touch. But don’t discount it as too soft to protect painted furniture. I also used it for my front door and I love the surface it created! (I do have a storm door so I felt a little better about not using a poly or wax)
I like to put a dab of Howard’s wax on a paint brush and brush it on to the project surface. Let it sit for about 20 minutes and then use a shop towel to wipe off the excess.
Protect by Velvet Finishes – Velvet Finishes is another matte paint that is super easy to use. Their sealer Protect is like a poly but has a very low odor and does not turn yellow. You can purchase a bottle of Protect here.
To use Protect I pour out a small amount into a shallow container. With a sponge brush, I apply the product evenly on the piece. It dries very quickly and takes 2-3 coats. If you apply more than 3 coats be sure to wait 24 hours.
I used Velvet Finishes paint and Protect on this grey painted hutch.