Episode 156 part two – waxing a painted door

So, by popular request (at least THREE readers) here is how we roll when we refinish doors here at the French house. This technique is based on our finishes developed for our  painted furniture and gives a far tougher surface to the doors than matte paint alone, whilst looking soft and in keeping with older spaces.

Start with a clear wax. We like Rustoleum’s clear paste wax, but it is hard to get in France and postage online is at least 18 euros which is, quite simply, ridiculous.

So, start with your choice of wax; we used Liberon Black Bison “incolore” on the bedroom doors above   and we like it a lot. It does very slightly change the base colour of the paint beneath, which all so called “clear” waxes do, in our opinion, even Annie Sloan white wax, but we like that slight hint of age and softness on any paint shade we use. Then sort out your cloths; we use a synthetic cleaning cloth, available in lots of lurid colours in any French supermarket or DIY chain. To apply the antique wax & for final finishing & polishing, an old, much washed cotton teatowel is ideal. New cloths can leave fluff behind that you really don’t want.

So, you have your painted doors, see here  for details re mouldings used. Apply a thin coat of clear wax with a medium sized soft brush. Buff. You will never need arm exercises if you wax regularly! Don’t forget the frame

Start applying soft antiquing wax (we use Annie Sloan) using the corners of your cotton cloth, concentrating on edges, and corners of panelling and both low relief and deeper areas of your decorative panel if you have one.

At this point you may well recoil in horror at what appears, at this stage, to be antiquing wax overkill. Don’t panic!


Take your synthetic cloth and wipe over the waxed areas vigorously, concentrating on the deeper carved areas and working in from the merely clear waxed parts of the door toward the antique waxed bits. This will soften everything down. Now go away and leave the door for 24 hours during which the wax will start to harden.

Come back to it with the cotton cloth and concentrate on panel edges and the mouldings; slide two fingers inside the cloth and spread them so that you are rubbing back adjoining raised areas at the same time. then buff over the whole door to blend. See? Panic over, it looks fine. And that angle at the base of the door is there to go over my wonky floors









*You might wonder why I don’t use a small brush for the antique wax. Although easier to apply that way, I simply find that brush use in this context can easily lead to overkill in the hand of the inexperienced and/or unwary. Cloth is fiddlier but you will have way more control. Antiquing wax is the very devil if you overdo it; you don’t want your door looking like a bad prop in a cheap theme park now do you!?

*Will this add a sheen to my lovely matte paintwork ? You all KNOW that I love my matte walls, but I have had to admit that very low sheen satiny polished finish is more practical and gives better protection to paintwork, particularly doors and floors. We aren’t talking glossy, I promise. And the slight sheen will dull with time.


About coteetcampagne

Artist, period home maker, renovator, restorer, Francophile. My mission is to save the old stuff, one beautiful piece at a time
This entry was posted in Art, design and inspiration blog, Renovation and restoration diary- France, What we did, how we did it and what we used and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Episode 156 part two – waxing a painted door

  1. poshbirdy says:

    Great post. And I LOVE those panels on the doors, they are SO effective x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bought a while back; Trev was sceptical that I could get something to fit perfectly, but I did!! The doors were crying out for some detail and they couldn’t be more perfect xx


  2. Osyth says:

    This is SUCH a useful post. Thank you. My house will thank you in time 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. francetaste says:

    What is milk paint called in French? What about chalk paint in French? What is the difference between milk paint and chalk paint? Do you have any French brands of chalk paint? I find it hard to believe that the whole French country antique look cannot be done with French paint, but I have yet to find samples in the hardware stores that approximate what I want.
    Have you ever heard of “Dust of the Ages”? Does it exist in French, and if so what is it called?


  4. Lisa says:

    Oh my. I have been trying to achieve this look with layers of paint and then sanding the paint off specific areas. Wax sounds like a great (and perhaps easier) alternative.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.