As much as we love the look and grandeur of gilded items, using gilding wax for furniture is often a much beginner friendly solution to upgrading aged household pieces. In this article, we’ll explore how you can use gilding wax over painted furniture to create a wonderfully beautiful metallic sheen using only a few supplies.

Let’s get started.

gilding wax for furniture

Table of Contents

Why Gilding Wax?

Gilding wax is an excellent alternative to gold leaf if you aren’t familiar with the process or want to add a small amount of glamor to an otherwise boring furniture piece.

Gilding wax comes in a variety of colors, including varying shades of gold, silver, copper, and more. Actually, there are other colors besides your traditional metal toned shades available from different brands of gilding waxes. Colors like green, warm gold, bright gold, copper, pewter, bronze, and teal, or a mixture of these colors create unique wax options for adding metallic accents to furniture.

What Can Gilding Wax Be Used On?

Gilding waxes can be used on virtually anything including ornate carvings, picture frames, dressers, moldings, art, antique hardware, and of course, furniture. This makes it an extremely versatile and affordable option for anyone looking to upgrade antiquated or outdated pieces.

Does Gilding Wax Rub Off?

It can, though it doesn’t happen often.

Depending on the environment, you may find the gilding wax to become compromised over time. Although gilding wax can easily last a year or so without rubbing off or fading, gilding wax used outdoors or that is exposed to rough handling may or may last for a shorter time frame.

On the whole, however, it is typically the case that gilding wax lasts a considerable amount of time without ever rubbing off or fading. If you do notice your gilding waxes rubbing off, feel free to touch up the compromised area using a lint free cloth or even your fingers.

Yes, it’s really that simple!

How to Use Gilding Wax for Furniture

Follow these easy step-by-step instructions to create your own unique and beautiful metallic accents on your furniture pieces:

  • Start with a clean surface.
  • Paint the surface you are working with if desired. Remember that gilding wax is easily applied over multiple surface types including metal, wood, and canvas.
  • Apply a top coat, wax, or sealant prior to the application of your gilders wax.
  • Wait until the top coat has dried before applying your gilders wax. Note that some users of gilding wax do not wait until wax is fully dry stating that the results don’t seem to make much of a difference. In this case, it’s up to you whether you wait.
  • Apply your gilding waxes in layers using a brush, cotton swab, lint free cloth, sponge, or even your fingertips. There are multiple methods you can use including combining darker hued gold wax with lighter wax for a technique that gives layered dimension and texture. Conversely, you can thinly cover your painted furniture with gilders wax, allowing a bit of the paint color to seep through. This creates the coveted distressed look that’s very popular in modern culture.
  • Finally, allow your gilding wax to dry fully, about 12 hours. No sealant is needed.

Best Gilding Wax for Furniture

There are many brands available that make exceptional gilding waxes for furniture. Give Annie Sloan gilding waxes a try for vibrancy and superior longevity. There are other countless brands out there that offer impeccable coverage and long-lasting metallic sheen.

Colors often sold by gilding wax brands include but aren’t limited to:

  • Gold gilding wax for furniture
  • Silver or white gilding wax for furniture
  • Copper gilding wax for furniture
  • Zinc gilding wax for furniture

How Long Does It Take for Gilding Wax to Cure?

Once applied, you’ll find your gilding wax typically dries within 20 minutes or less of application. To know for sure, read the label of the particular brand you’ve selected.

Just so you know, it is important to note that just because gilding wax is dry to the touch doesn’t mean it’s completely cured. Please allow up to 12 hours for your gilding wax to become fully dry.

How Long Does Gold Wax Last?

Gilding wax can last up to a year or much longer depending on how it’s cared for. Know that gilding wax does not require you to seal or use a top coat. In fact, it is best if you paint and seal your furniture surface prior to applying the gilding wax, if you plan to use a clear wax at all.

Many report success with unsealed gilding wax lasting an extremely long time without rubbing off. Nevertheless, the environment, surface, and various other factors will play a major role in how long your gold or multicolored gilding wax will actually last.

Is Gilding Wax Permanent?

Gilding wax isn’t permanent and can be easily removed using clear wax and a lint free cloth. Although this is true, you may find that you don’t need to remove your gilding wax at all. Many people love the results of their wax as soon as they lay it down.

Remember also that gilding wax can be applied in layers with a variety of colors. As you mix colors, you create a dynamic distressed look.

How To Use Gilding Wax On Furniture

Gilding Wax For Furniture: Your Next Furniture Renovation Awaits!

Utilizing gilding wax for furniture is an awesome way to upgrade old furniture pieces without having to expend a lot of effort or purchase many tools. The application of gilding wax can be easily achieved by using any technique involving cotton swabs, a lint free cloth, small brush, or even your finger.

Remember also to always apply gilding waxes after you’ve painted furniture and not beforehand. The same applies to using top coat sealant or clear wax. Here’s to creativity!


Will gilding wax stick to metal?

Yes, it will. In fact, this is one of the best ways to use gilding wax besides over woods and other surfaces.

What is the difference between gilding wax and polish?

Gilding wax injects colors onto a surface while clear wax polish is intended for shine and protection, and thus, is much different.

What is used to gild furniture?

Furniture can be gilt using gilding wax or actual gold leaf. To use gold leaf to gild furniture, adhesive (or “size” is required. If you are using genuine gold no sealant will be needed. However, any other metal leaf type will need a clear coat sealant on top to prevent it from tarnishing.

What kind of furniture surface can you apply gilding wax to?

Gilding wax adheres well to wood, metal surfaces, and a variety of other surface types. As you might imagine, we’d steer clear of using it on plush or fabric surfaces. However, smooth or textured hard surfaces will fare beautifully with a light coat of gilding wax.

How much gilding wax is needed for furniture?

That depends on your project. Annie Sloan advertises that her gilding wax supplies enough product to cover the entirety of a standard dining chair. 

What happens if gilding wax rubs off of furniture?

The nice thing about gilding wax is that it is just as easy to reapply as it is to apply. Simply use a q tip, your fingers, or an old cloth to touch up areas that look worn or that could use a bit of sprucing up.

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