|Table with waxed handle|
The best way to preserve your beautiful paint job is to use specialist wax. Obtain the wax from the same supplier as your paint and specialist tools.
1. Flat or matte wax is easiest to use. It goes on easily, doesn't streak and leaves a nice shine free finish.
2. Satin wax gives a slight lustre which is nice but it can show streaks. It's important to brush in the same direction as the grain and the brushstrokes of the paint or you'll get a cross hatched look. Satin is the most durable to use on surfaces that get a lot of use.
3. The above waxes are colorless, but wax is also available in white, antique and several metallics. The table above has pewter wax on the handle to cover a shiny gold one. It's best to use a small brush for this. You can Cottage Paint the handle first or just use the wax over the metal, both giving different effects.
4. Dark and metallic waxes can be used as a form of distress or antiquing. They are very high pigment content, so it's best to apply them with a damp sponge and wipe off any excess quickly before it soaks into the paint.
5. Use matte wax first as an isolation layer and apply Satin or coloured waxes over it when dry. This method gives you more control over intensity and streaking.
6. White wax can be used to soften a distressed look. It works well on soft pastel colors. It is interesting over color appliqué to add an air of mystery.
For an extra durable look you can use specialist varnish. Make sure it's the non-yellowing kind. See my blog on varnish for barn wood kitchen cabinets for details on what to look for. Annie Sloan has a varnish especially for refinished laminate and tile floors.