Top 10 tips for using Annie Sloan Paint

Whilst happily painting my dining table yesterday, I thought I’d offer my own personal instructions for using AS paint and wax. Everyone works differently and you may find something works better when done in a different way and that’s fine! The reason I love AS, is that it is so versatile and so are the people who use it 🙂

1. Preparation

Preparation you say?! ‘One of the main reasons I’m using AS paint is so I don’t have to prep!’ I hear you say. I’m not talking about prepping what you’re going to paint, as in primer or sanding. I’m talking about your materials! Make sure you have everything you need before you get started. There’s nothing worse than getting most of the way through a project and realising you’ve forgotten something. I’ll mention things throughout the post and there’ll be a full list at the end.

Tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

2. Clean your piece

Okay, I lied a tiny bit… You do need to clean your piece before you begin or you’ll be painting with dirt! Ewww. A simply light wash with soapy water will do the trick with most pieces. For clean items, I usually just use a micro-fibre cloth to get all the dust off.

3. The fun bit – painting!
This is the best bit. However an important thing to consider is your brushes. These are something you should take time to consider and also invest in. I have one large AS brush and a small and medium ‘cheaper’ brushes I bought from Amazon (see link at the end). Now these cheaper brushes are all well and good but they seem to swallow the paint and leave quite a textured brush stroke. My AS brush is an absolute dream. It spreads the paint out well, giving good coverage and leaves a smoother brush stroke. I use my AS brush as my main one and use the other two for detailing which my big brush struggles to get into.

4. Paint trays and techniques
This may seem like a simple point but I learnt the hard way with this. Pour some your paint into a tub or cup to use when painting. Do not leave your can open whilst you’re painting! This causes it to become thick and you will have to do a little mixing with water to get it back to it’s former glory. This is work that doesn’t need to be done if you don’t need to do it. I find the plastic containers that takeaway food comes in are absolutely perfect for this 🙂

As for the technique for brushing… There is none! That is the beauty of AS paint. It covers anything, the colours are beautiful and it’s so versatile!

How good is the first coat?

How good is the first coat?

5. Sanding and second coat of paint
I recommend sanding lightly between layers of paint. This creates a smoother overall look to the piece. However this is totally down to the finish you want. Sometimes paint can collect in edges of details and sanding can get rid of this.

How many layers of paint is personal choice but for most pieces I do two coats. I have yet to try two coats of two different colours but it is on my to do list! Have you guys done this? Let me know!

6. Waxing – technique
Once you’re happy with the paintwork, it’s time to wax! I’d recommend waxing your piece if it will get any use because an un-waxed piece will be easily scratched. If it’s a lonely side table in the corner of the room, this may be okay. However, most of my pieces will receive some heavy use (my most recent project being a dining table and chairs!). I wax heavy-traffic pieces with 2-3 coats of wax.
My technique is to scoop out some of that lovely wax with a knife onto a paper plate. I then use my AS wax brush to work some of the wax in to the brush. Then with a mixture of horizontal/vertical and circular strokes, work the wax into the paint. Concentrate on a small patch at a time and use a micro fibre cloth to gently rub off the excess and work it into those little nooks and crannies. You’ll find the wax slightly darkens the colour but it adds depth and really does protect it.

Time to wax

Time to wax

7. Optional sanding and re-wax
If you want to distress your piece, do this after the first coat of wax. Using a softer sandpaper, distress the piece in places where it would naturally have if it was an old piece i.e. on the corners. Once you have your desired level of distressing, re wax the piece.

8. Dark wax
If you want to achieve a real aged look on a piece, use dark wax in place of the second coat and re-seal with clear wax afterwards. You don’t want to use dark wax on the entire piece, use lightly in areas to accentuate certain areas of the piece. This may sound a little vague so search Youtube and Pinterest for some really good tutorials on how to successfully use dark wax.

9. Clean your brushes
Once you have finished your painting/waxing, it is super important to take care of your brushes – even your cheap ones! I use baby oil to cut through the paint, then use washing up liquid to clean the paint off. By squirting the oil/washing up liquid into the palm of your hand, then working the product into the brush and rinse it out.

I then use the edge of the sink to dispel all of the water and then wrap the brush in a kitchen roll and putting them in a mug face down to preserve the brush shape. After a couple of hours, I remove the kitchen roll and leave the brush facing up to dry. Once they are dry (usually overnight) I rub a little bit of baby oil into the bristles to keep them soft. The natural bristles will split and dry out over time if they are not cared for properly. So protect your investment!

Squeaky clean!

Squeaky clean!

10. Admire your work!
Well done! Enjoy your little masterpiece 🙂

Here’s some I made earlier –


  • Brushes in a number of sizes – I suggest AS brushes but here’s the link for the cheaper ones I buy:
  • Containers for paint
  • Paint
  • Wax
  • Wax brush
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Paper plates
  • Sandpaper
  • Cleaning materials – fairy liquid/baby oil

Thanks for reading and please comment and/or follow my blog for email updates.

Talk soon,

Lauren x


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