Redoing Old Furniture with Finishing Paste Wax

Do you want to redo an old piece of furniture and give it a natural, slightly rustic, earthy look? Then you should consider finishing paste wax as an alternative to brush on furniture sealers.

Have you ever tried wax on furniture? I’ve used it several times over chalk-painted pieces, but only a couple of times on straight unfinished wood. The benefit of a furniture wax or a finishing paste wax over a liquid type of clear-coat polyurethane sealer is the natural, earthy, and rustic hand-rubbed finish that it gives. Wax is durable and provides protection from water, use,  and other elements without the glossy finish of polyurethanes.  Because furniture finishing wax soaks right into the surface of the wood, once buffed it leaves a polished yet subtle, fresh look that feels welcoming and homey. If you haven’t had the chance to try furniture wax or finishing paste wax yet then I suggest you give it at a go next time you find yourself redoing an old piece. You’ll find it helps you totally transform something old into something new and beautiful that you can’t wait to feature in your home.

How to redo old furniture with wax poster.

We’ve definitely been through our fair share of furniture over the years. With each of our moves we’ve often sold much of our old furniture and decor pieces with or after selling the home to the new owners. But there is something that we’ve held on to for several years – these old saddle style stools! They were somewhat expensive at the time that we originally purchased them, only a few years after we were first married, and they are very solid and well built. I also felt they had a simple and classic design, and was usually able to incorporate them somewhere or another in our new home. So when it came time to move into our new build and I began to look for stools, I realized that we still had these three in our storage unit. Originally they were a varathaned dark wood seat with a red stained base. They’d later all been painted with a soft blue chalk paint, and then one of them had been painted over with black paint for a different room makeover.

Two blue stools and one black outside.

I decided they’d work well in the new kitchen, and thought that once we gave them a new, simple, natural and earthy look that they would work well with the decor in our new custom kitchen and great room area. To create that look, I began by using Circa1850 furniture stripper to peel off as much of the old paint as possible. My husband then sanded then down to the bare, raw wood… which was definitely a bigger job than we had anticipated!

Sanding down the stools.

After they were sanded smooth (using first a lower grit paper then finishing it off with a higher grit), it was time to give them a protective finish. As I mentioned, I decided to use a finishing paste wax for furniture instead of a liquid sealer so as to maintain a rustic, earthy, and natural feel to them.

A can of the Miniwax on top of the stool with a rag.

The paste wax was quite simple to use – instead of the cheesecloth as indicated on the instructions on the Minwax, I used a clean lint free cloth the rub on and in the paste.

Using the wax on the stool.

You can see that the furniture paste wax creates a very light change in colour and adds depth as well as a rustic finish to natural wood. Below, the top leg and middle bar have paste wax applied and the bottom leg does not yet have any wax so you can see the difference.

Showing the difference between wax and no wax.

Once I’d covered the whole stool, I buffed it off using another clean, dry, lint-free towel.

Using a cloth to buff the wood.

I left the kitchen stools to dry for a couple of hours and then brought them in – if they feel sticky at all I’d wait overnight to begin using them. The finish is soft, smooth, and lovely and rustic in feel. They have a lovely, natural hand-rubbed texture and finish. I think they look great in our new kitchen!

The newly refreshed stools at the kitchen island.

Up close shot of the stools.

The wooden stools at the grey kitchen island.

Wooden stools.

If you’re looking to create a timeless natural, earthy, soft, and rustic feel to an old piece I definitely recommend trying furniture paste wax.  Furniture finishing paste wax is multifunctional and can be used over chalk paint as well, though I’m currently loving the cleaner look of raw and rustic wood finishes in our new home. I have a couple of other pieces of currently painted (soon to be stripped!) wood furniture here that I can’t wait to give this method a try on,

Want to remember this? Pin it for later!

How To Give An Old Piece A New Lease On Life graphic.

Upcycle, Repurpose, & Redo DIYS

And as I mentioned earlier, today I’ve joined some of my blogging friends who are also sharing their DIY upcycle, repurpose, and recycle projects! Just click on the links below each image to go directly to their posts…

How To Make The Best Olive Oil Dispenser // My 100 Year Old Home

Giant Charcuterie Board // My Sweet Savannah

Creative Upcycling Ideas // Modern Glam

Oui Yogurt Jar Crafts // Happy Happy Nester

Vintage Cart turned Airbnb Coffee Bar Cart // Tatertots & Jello

Small Backyard Sitting Area // Craftberry Bush

Vintage Metal Glider Turned Porch Swing // Twelve on Main

Old Stool Makeover with Furniture Paste Wax // The Happy Housie

How to Turn an Old Picture Frame into a Shelf // The DIY Mommy

Upcycling a Glass Vase into a Pot with Spray Paint // Zevy Joy

Ten Upcycled Repurposed Projects graphic.

I hope you find some great ideas to inspire you for your next upcycle/recycle/redo project!

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  1. I’m looking to do something similar with a side table. How’s this holding up? Any different recommendations for kid friendly game room table surfaces?

  2. We also had this kind of stool made by our carpenter friend, It’s been ages and needs repair and repainting, glad I found your post, Krista. I think this will be a great idea for our furniture too

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