Monday, 30 April 2012

Benefits of Annie Sloan Soft Wax

***Please note that we have closed comments regarding Chalk Paint. Carte Blanche are no longer stockists and the paint has changed in UK a little and we feel that we can no longer comment accurately about its performance as we could in the past. We hope that the article and comments below are useful but for technical advice we would suggest contacting your local supplier or speaking to Oxford - Annie Sloan Head Quarters***

So you have completed the painting of your piece of furniture in Annie Sloan® Chalk Paint™ and you have completed it in record time because you didn't need to strip, prime or even sand it but now you need to seal it and Annie Sloan® recommend  Annie Sloan™ Soft Wax.

The wax in action in the studio
So why should you use Annie Sloan™ Soft Wax and what makes it different from just any old furniture wax? Annie chose this wax for good reasons and there are a lot of benefits to this wax that we can share with you here.

  • First of all it is soft...I know that's a bit obvious given it is called "soft wax" but Annie Sloan® Soft Wax is buttery soft and so application is easy with a brush or cloth (more on brushes below). It also means that you can get it absorbed into all the nooks and crannies.
  • Next it is compatible with the paint ....and not all topcoats are. It is part of a system. That means we can also advise you about use, troubleshoot and if you use something else we as stockists can't necessarily help.
  • It buffs to a beautiful soft lustre 
  • You can mix it with the paint to make a coloured wax (keep reading, I know it sounds bizarre)
  • and to me THIS IS THE BIGGY!!!!!!! Annie Sloan® Soft Wax has no drying accelerator. "Oh Wow" I can hear you say in a sort of underwhelmed sort of a way but wait....let me tell you why that is important. Wax dries and hardens when the solvent evaporates from the surface and most of the waxes on the market have a drying accelerator in to speed this process up. The accelerator drives the solvent off the surface so it dries almost as fast as you apply and drives it where???? STRAIGHT INTO YOUR LUNGS. Annie Sloan® Soft Wax dries and hardens naturally and the solvent evaporates probably mainly while you are off having a cup of tea. 

sit back and wait for the wax to dry
 Now, don't get me wrong, this product still has a solvent and I am not about to suggest that you climb inside a cupboard and wax it with the door closed....this would not be good. But for normal waxing this product is not going to leave you head-achy and with a lung full of solvent whereas I know from experience how horrid others can be for your health.
Because the wax dries slowly you do also need to let it dry...properly...before you buff.

Top Tips For Using Annie Sloan Soft Wax
new wax brush - call the studio 01738 587600 they are in stock now!
  1. Apply thin coats and work the wax in well. You can use a cloth or the new wax brush. The wax might look like lard but try not to dig huge lumps out and just lard it on. If you have too much on, wipe off the excess with a clean cloth 
  2. The new wax brush applies the wax evenly and especially over large areas is going to make life easier and the job quicker
  3. For kitchen units and high traffic areas apply 3 coats. Allow each coat to dry before applying the next - I would wait overnight
  4. WAIT BEFORE BUFFING!!!!!!! This will make your life so much easier. Best for buffing is an old towel and if you leave it to dry it makes it much less work. Not only that if you buff over wax that isn't dry, you may harden the top of it leaving the thin wax beneath soft. Then when you put a cup or mug on it it will break through the surface leaving rings
  5. Put Annie Sloan™ clear wax on before applying the Annie Sloan™ dark wax. Over large areas use the clear wax to control how much of the dark wax remains on the surface. This is something we cover in the classes and can be a little tricky for someone new to the process, so practice....have a sample board to hand to play with before you do your lovely furniture.

applying the dark wax
To sum up, most problems are caused by :
  • too much wax being applied
  • buffing too soon
  • rushing the process

One final tip. Every now and again the solvent from the wax sucks straight into the paint and makes it look a little patchy - bear in mind that the paint can be applied, thickly, thinly, roughly, smoothly and every hand is different. This happens for a variety of reasons - thickness of paint, texture of paint, atmospheric conditions -  and invariable frustrates folk. IT WILL GO...once the solvent evaporates completely it will be fine but this may take time. Remember that you don't buy Annie Sloan® Chalk Paint™ because you wanted it to look like Dulux and so please don't stress about it.

If you want to get rid of it now and diminish the look of patches, maybe because it is for sale, maybe because you are just like that then there is a wee technique

Making coloured wax
 See how there is a blob of wax in the surface in this picture? And then a blob of paint added in....well that makes a coloured wax. I KNOW, I KNOW this shouldn't be possible (another benefit) and believe me I have tried to work out why it works ....these days I just accept it. Anyway if you want to blend out any dark patches just use the paint you have used on the piece (this picture obviously is using a contrasting colour) and mix with the wax and work over the area. 

I hope this has demystified the wax....and also helped you understand the best ways to apply it. Happy waxing guys!!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Fasque Fancy

Fasque House is where I've been hiding....well one of the places, it has been such a very busy time, we really have been dotting about all over but Fasque is where we have been doing lots of fancy stuff.

The Grand Approach to the House

This was the prime minister Gladstone's home, and the surrounding estate is fabulous. The house has been given a major makeover and is now a prestigious wedding and conference venue. While they have developed and restored a lot of the house, Heather and Doug Dick-Reid continue to open up and restore more of the house and the area pictured below hasn't been opened up for well over 50 years. This used to be the men's servants quarters and while it doesn't have the grandeur of some of the high rooms and victorian saloons and apartments it has great character and Heather and Doug wanted something really fabulous to make this space somewhere any guest would be more than delighted to stay in. Here is how I first saw the space


Heather has a great eye and is fantastically decisive (any finisher is appreciative of a swift and firm decision). She was really drawn by the new designer Italian Paint Finish Valpaint range that are exclusive in Scotland to Carte Blanche and Klondike Wall Effect was the perfect choice - it shimmers gold as the light hits it but as you move along the hallway it has a pattern and a colour and gives the space amazing atmosphere. Over and above that it is repairable, has no seams and can be easily painted out should there be significant damage by a drunken reveller.
Sample choosing for woodwork

the ceiling in Ottocento metallic suede finish - you can see the pattern and colour here

the splash of gold

dressed and ready for visitors
Just perfect
I think these are the chic-est servants quarters I ever saw....definitely not for the lower ranks. This is the very first Valpaint project in Scotland. If you would like to view the range why not pop into the studio to look at samples and catalogues