Why Is My Chalk Paint Coming Off When I Wax [Explained!]

Applying a thin coat of wax to seal chalk paint is a great way to add protection to the paint; chances are you know this information. But what you’re struggling with is the chalk paint coming off while waxing. Well, that can be a concern.

Waxing on wet or uncured paint is the biggest reason for this. Other common reasons are waxing on an unclean surface (or skipping the overall prep work), overloading the brush with too much paint, and using low-quality paint.

If you still can’t relate the reasons with your paint issues, let’s go through the whole piece to get a crystal clear idea about what is happening with your chalk paint.

This article also contains bonus tips and tricks for using chalk paint and wax so you don’t experience anything unpleasant while working on your favorite project. 

Why Is My Chalk Paint Coming Off When I Wax?- Reasons Explained

Chances are you were not careful enough about cleaning the surface at the beginning of the project work, or you’re painting in an area under 60 degrees of temperature (too cold an environment can cause a surface painting job to become harder), or you’re using a low-quality product.

Here are the explanations of what we just stated above.

  • Cleaning and priming the surface is crucial because chalk paint is porous and will absorb any grease or dirt that’s on the surface. Eventually, it may lead the paint to come off when you wax it.
  • Also, avoid using or storing your paint products or top coats in a cold environment. Storing them under 55 degrees isn’t recommended because the low temperature can let the water in the paint evaporate too slowly. For the same reason, you might notice the paint peeling off and not adhering properly in cold temperatures.
  • Using too much paint and overloading the paintbrush with chalk paint can also cause the paint not to stick to the surface. Because chalk paint is easygoing and smooth, the brush can be overloaded. Be patient and apply the paint methodically to avoid it peeling off.
  • Moreover, check the labels before buying; perhaps the kind of wax you used isn’t compatible with chalk paint. It is also possible that you didn’t sand in between each coat of paint, or that you didn’t use enough paint or primer. If you use low-quality paint it can come off as well.
  • Wait at least one hour before you apply the wax. The duration, however, can be shorter or longer based on the humidity and temperature of the area you live. Also, how thickly you applied the paint also matters in this case.
  • And, last but not least; don’t skip the cure time. Yes, you will be excited after finishing the project but it’s recommended to leave the painted surface for a minimum of 3-5 days (it may take up to 30 days in some cases). Although the paint may feel dry to the touch, it takes adequate time to cure. 

What to Do When Chalk Paint Comes off During Waxing?

What to Do When Chalk Paint Comes off During Waxing?

The shortest answer is, to take some extra time to clean the area before you re-apply the paint.

Once you’ve faced chalk paint coming off, try to identify what caused the situation. Since there are several reasons why chalk paint can come off, be sure about what you’ve done (so you can avoid it this time).

To fix the issue:

  • Use sandpaper and lightly sand the ‘messed-up’ painted area. You should clean the peeling paint and any other loose paint as well.
  • Once you’re done sanding enough the area and removing any potential residue from the area, lightly paint over the surface and wait for it to become dry.

You’ll want to apply a few thin coats instead of a single thick coat. It’ll ensure the total coverage.

Tips for Using Chalk Paint and Wax

Chalk paint can be used to paint almost anything — from upcycling old furniture to refreshing tired walls — and gives a beautiful matte finish. But one downside of chalk paint is that, if not properly sealed, it can start to flake and chip off.

So, how do you use chalk paint and wax without having this happen? The secret is in the preparation and the waxing process.

Chalk paint is water-based paint, so it is important that you prepare the surface first before painting. Clean the surface with soap and water, and then prime the surface with a chalk paint primer. Primer will help the paint to better adhere to the surface. Once you have done this, you can then proceed to paint your surface with chalk paint.

Apply a thin layer of chalk paint using a brush or roller, making sure to evenly cover the entire surface. Allow the first coat of paint to dry completely before applying a second coat. Once you have applied two coats of chalk paint and it has dried completely, it’s time to protect it with a top coat. 

A top coat of polyurethane will protect the chalk paint from scratches and wear and tear. However, if you want to use wax as a top coat, you need to be careful. Wax can be difficult to work with, and if it is not applied correctly, it can cause the chalk paint to come off.

Here are some tips for using wax as a top coat:

  • You can use either clear or colored wax — whichever you prefer. 
  • Make sure that the surface is clean before you apply the wax. Any dirt or debris on the surface will prevent the wax from adhering properly. 
  • Apply the wax with a clean rag in small sections, working in the same direction as you painted. Make sure you rub it in well so that it’s evenly distributed.
  • Apply the wax in thin layers. If you apply too much wax, it will be difficult to buff out and will leave a cloudy finish.
  • Allow the wax to dry for at least an hour before buffing it with a clean rag (a soft t-shirt is preferable) or brush. If you buff the wax while it is still wet, it will smear and produce a streaky finish.

How to Avoid Chalk Paint Coming Off During or After Waxing

Here are a few tips to prevent your chalk paint from coming off during or after waxing:

  1. Make sure you allow the paint to cure fully before waxing. Chalk paint can take up to 30 days to cure fully, so be patient!

2. If you’re using a water-based wax, make sure you dilute it with a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar before applying it to your chalk-painted surface. This will help the wax adhere better and prevent it from peeling off later.

3. Avoid using any type of oil-based wax on chalk-painted surfaces. Oil-based products will eventually cause the paint to start peeling off.

4. When painting with chalk paint, it is always best to use more layers rather than fewer. Each layer should be very thin, and you should sand in between each coat (light sanding using fine-grit sandpaper).

5. If you’re using Annie Sloane Chalk Paint, choose the wax produced by the same brand. If you’ve made your own chalk-style paint, look for a soft, clear finishing wax intended for furniture.


Chalk paint shouldn’t fall off while waxing if you use high-quality paint and wax. Also, you must not overload the paintbrush with too much paint and apply thick layers on the surface. Moreover, be very careful about the curing time. Let the wax dry before you start painting leave the paint for enough time to dry.

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