If you’ve heard the term “gilding wax” thrown around in the artistic community and find yourself wondering, “What is gilding wax?” then you’re in for a treat. In this post, we’ll detail exactly what gilding wax is as well as how it is best used. So, without further ado, let’s do a deep dive into this dazzling topic!

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What Is Gilding Wax?

Gilding wax can be defined as beeswax mixed with various compounds to yield a luscious wax with an alluring metallic luster fit for all sorts of assorted projects. Gilding wax can be applied to virtually anything but does very well when used over raised or textured surfaces.

These metallic highlights come in a variety of shades, though many believe that this unique wax only comes in silver shades and gold. In reality, you can find gilding waxes available in copper, turquoise, green, and many other shades. This makes gilding wax a versatile way to apply metal color and cosmic shimmer to nearly anything it graces.

What Is Gilding Wax: A Comprehensive Guide

What Is It Made of?

Gilding wax is made of beeswax and several other components that give it its hue. It comes in a rainbow assortment of colors but is most commonly found in bright gold, warm gold, bronze, silver, and copper. Red ochre, borax, and vitriol are all examples of some of the elements you may see gilding wax mixed with. Depending on the mixture, the gilding wax will yield a variety of interesting, versatile colors for creative use.

What Do You Use Gilding Wax For?

As mentioned, gilding wax can be used to gild virtually anything, although it does best on certain surfaces. Wood and metal with raised edges or ornate carvings are great candidates for gilding wax, as are furniture, picture frames, and other sundry surfaces. Apply gilding wax over items like hardware, paper, a coffee table, painted furniture, furniture detail, papercraft projects, and more.

Is Gilding Wax Easy to Use?

Gilding wax is relatively easy to use. Whether or not you need a sealant or base coat will depend on the object you are gilding. However, in many cases, neither will be needed.

To use gilding wax, you can simply dip your finger in the medium and begin applying it to whatever your heart desires. Of course, what you are applying the guild to will determine what method you use to apply the wax.

Another way to administer gilding wax is to use a blunt cut paint brush to rub in the wax. Use this brush to cover the layers of your object. In some cases, you’ll want to cover the surface of an object with clear wax before applying your gilding wax. However, depending on the surface, this won’t always be necessary.

Know that gilding waxes work well for people who want a bit of glitz for projects but don’t want the hassle of using gold leaf. Though beautiful and often made of pure gold, gold leaf may be difficult to apply for people who have never had experience using it before. For this reason, gilding wax can be a handy medium to have to upgrade furniture, picture frames, and other hardware pieces to give off an elegant feel without too much work.

How to Apply Gilding Wax

The technique you use to apply gilding wax will flex depending on what it is you are applying the wax to. You may need to use a sponge to dab a bit of wax on certain parts of a piece of hardwareor you may need to dip an actual paint brush into the gilding wax pot to achieve a bold and solid coat on your project.

The following steps can help you achieve the perfectly gilded project using gilding wax:

  1. Open your gilding wax pot.
  2. Choose a tool of choice to apply the wax. For larger surfaces, use a paintbrush large enough to cover the surface area, but small enough to fit into your gilding wax pot. For smaller surfaces or intricate details, feel free to use a cotton swab, lint free cloth, towel, or yes, even your finger.
  3. Glide your gilding wax along the surface you intend to use it. Apply it to clear waxed surfaces that are either fully dried or slightly still damp.
  4. For a thinner coat of gilding wax, consider combining it with a paint thinner or mineral spirits. These will help the gilding wax glide better over surfaces. Remove the excess gilding wax with a soft cloth for a unique look.
  5. Once you’ve finished, feel free to top your gilding waxes, but don’t feel like you have to. Although a top coat can be nifty for some pieces (especially if they’ll be touched or handled often) it isn’t always necessary. Gilding wax will typically stay put fairly well even on its own.

Can You Paint Over Gilding Wax?

Feel free to paint over gilding wax after it has been applied, but be sure to do so only after the wax is fully dry. If your gilding wax hasn’t dried yet, then painting over it may cause the gilding wax to combine with your paint which could turn into a disaster.

What Is Gilding Wax? Everything You’ve Ever Dreamed of and More!

Gilding wax is an amazingly simple way to give your future project a bit of sparkle and shimmer. Gilding wax works to provide a dynamic, aged, and often vintage feel to otherwise plain or boring objects. Try placing a bit of gilding wax over previously painted objects or add it to plain wood or another surface that could use a bit of sprucing up. Just note that some surfaces may need a coat of clear wax prior to application to help the gilding wax adhere and look its best.


What is gilding wax used for?

Gilding wax is used for craft projects and sprucing up various furniture pieces, picture frames, and more. The colors vary which makes it a good medium for expressing creativity. Rubbing a thin layer of this gold wax is incredibly easy and can add unique highlights to otherwise boring structures, objects, or artwork.

Is Rub and Buff the same as gilding wax?

As far as we can tell, Rub ‘n Buff is very similar to gilding waxes. It is made of carnauba wax that is combined with powdered metallic color to offer you a variety of shades.

What tools do you need to apply gilding wax? 

You can apply gilding wax with virtually anything. Many people opt to use their fingers for small details, but for intricate projects, you may use a paintbrush. Other options are to use cotton swabs, sponges, or even old towels. Which tool you choose will depend on your project and your intended final result. 

How do you prepare gilding wax?

Gilding waxes come already prepared. All you need to do is choose the brand you wish to use and the colors. That’s it!

Can you mix two gilding wax colors together?

Yes! In fact, this is an awesome way to get creative and expand your options when it comes to building wax color selection. Try combining silver and copper for a rose gold look or two different kinds of gold to come up with a unique hue. Play around with it and see what works best for you! 

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