Home Made Furniture Wax
Soft Wax Recipe
- Small crockpot (or electric potpourri pot or double boiler)
- 1 tbl & 1 tsp beeswax, grated [shown in white beeswax]
- 1 tbl & 1 tsp paraffin wax (Parowax or scented mani/pedi wax), grated
- 3/4 c. Frying Oil (shown in Grape Seed, alternatives: Olive, Coconut or Vegetable)
- Optional: Scent Oil (or 1 tsp. zest of lemon, lime, or orange: if zest, need strainer) (shown in lime and lemon)
- Stir stick (or wooden disposable chopstick or skewer)
- Oven mitts, measuring cups, measuring spoons, grater
- Small canning jar with lid and label
- Lint free cloths
In crockpot, add beeswax, paraffin and oil. Heat on high about 25 min. stirring occasionally. The melting point of wax is 150 F. Most crockpots reach 170 F. on high. When fully melted, turn off crockpot, add scent and stir. If zesting; zest doesn’t melt. Steep for aroma (3 min.) Strain into canning jar while still hot. Wait to place lid. Allow to cool. The wax will set as it cools. Use a spatula to really scrape out the crockpot, leaving little, if any. Wipe crockpot with paper towels then wash with hot soapy water (allow hot water to run in sink a few min.) Add lid, label to jar and store in cool, dry area.
- In Upcycled/Painted & Distressed Furniture (Antiquing & Finishing Wax): Apply with lint free cloth to clean, dry, painted chalk* surface as a finishing polish. Use sparingly, work in sections, applying in small circular motion, wipe residue with a second, clean, lint free cloth; wiping in direction of wood grain; use long buffing strokes for shine. To make chalk paint; add 1 part Water, 1 part Plaster of Paris to 3 parts Paint.
- As furniture wax (Sealant & Protector): Clean and degrease surface with Murphys Oil Soap (1 part concentrated oil to 3 parts water). Wipe dry. Apply soft wax in direction of wood grain. Wipe excess residue with clean lint free cloth. Buff to shine.
- As furniture polishing liquid: Add 1/4 tsp orange oil, 2 tbl linseed oil, and 1 tbl Turpenoid (an oderless alternative to turpentine) to 1 tbl of soft wax to liquid polish consistency.
For a single, thin layer, cure time is about 24 hrs.
The Roaring Twenties Bed
Now I lay me down to sleep… but on what? During the Late Pleistocene period, 53,000 – 39,000 years ago, Neanderthals of the Esquilleu Cave in Cantabria, Spain carved out ‘beds’ on the cave floor and filled the area with a ‘mattress’ consisting of leaves, grasses and furs. There’s evidence to suggest they recycled their bedding and used the dry flora for kindling on a nearby hearth. I think it sounds cozier than the reality, but it was a fascinating discovery in 2010 for the Weitzmann Institute.
Since this time, beds have evolved from stark to grand, beautiful to functional and everything in between. History shows that style evolves and often repeats; returning anew with added charm. Take for instance the early 20th century Egyptian Revival, sparked by countless archeological finds in Egypt culminating in the 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb by Howard Carter. Other cultures, like the French, have long contributed some of the finest designs in furniture as well as upholstery and other decorative household goods. Various Paris Expositions held from the 18th to 20th centuries drew fans of even older French styles.
In the late 19th century, the “Gay 90s” saw Louis XIV style beds sweep across furniture stores. The first models were constructed mainly in brass, enamel, and iron which were prized at the time while wooden beds of this time period were upholstered. The theme focused on arches in the head boards as well as footboards. Within a decade the mattress spring was invented. These were a frightening arrangement of open metal coils. The steel cage rested on the bedrails, not within as is common today, and the slats were very different, being made of a fabric, in the form of canvas strips stretched across and affixed to the narrow top of the side rails.
Eventually box springs were covered in fabric and set within the bed rails allowing wood slats to support the boxspring and mattress. This layering technique is what we use today. Thus beds manufactured after 1910 can easily fit modern low profile box springs and mattresses of the standard size. By 1920 nearly all beds were made of wood, due in part to metals being conserved for the war effort. Many of these handmade beds contain decorative embellishments such as finials, inlays, or carved appliques. They are simply stunning. If you’re fortunate enough to come across one, they’re usually in need of refurbishing and this can make for a fun chalk paint project. Cheers, Ann
- http://news.discovery.com/history/archaeology/neanderthal-bedroom-house.htm (accessed 10 Nov 2015)
- Newspaper Archive; furniture advertisements
Painted Furniture – Cottage Style on a Budget
This is a simple and affordable alternative to expensive chalk paint. The best part: No sanding involved.
Step 1: Remove items, drawers, shelves and knobs.
Step 2: Clean by removing dust first, then degrease with wood soap such as: Murphy’s Oil Soap. Wipe dry.
Step 3: (Optional; recommended if wood stain is dark and paint color is light or white) Prime surface w/ceiling paint adding 1 tbl. water and 1 tbl. Plaster of Paris per standard paint tray, stir. Paint a thin layer of primer. Allow to dry.
Step 4: Paint with an Elast-a-Bond coating designed for interior/exterior and marketed for multi-use in stucco, masonry and wood such as Scotch Coatings 400T in color of choice. Allow to dry. Apply second coat, if needed and allow to dry. When painting, it’s always best to apply several thin layers allowing each layer to fully dry rather than a single thick layer which can bubble, lift, drip, run etc. If making chalk paint, I use the little Dixie cup, like for mouthwash, the recipe is 1 c. water, 1 c. plaster of paris and 3 c. paint; stir to consistency. This Dixie cup batch is enough to do an entire 6 drawer dresser twice over.
Optional Distressing Look: Step 4 1/2: Gently sand to remove paint, wipe residue. Apply wood stain to cover the paint; thus filling in gaps. Wipe excess stain with clean rag and proceed to Step 5.
Step 5: Protect with soft wax for light use or a polyurethane semigloss topcoat for heavy use.
Step 6: Reassemble. If changing knob color; use spray paint, seal with topcoat, or replace.
Below: Color shown is Scotch Sierra Skies (HC-142)
Not recommended for routine cleaning, but excellent for periodic removal of hard water build-up on glass, metal, grout, tile and concrete. No scrubbing involved, just apply with a sponge and wipe off. For stubborn stains, let sit for a minute. The smell isn’t so harsh as to require a mask, but it’s an acid so do wear gloves.