A few weeks ago Cait was working on a few oak pieces with some Annie Sloan Graphite Chalk Paint. I stuck my head over her shoulder and asked her whether she sands to distress before or after waxing. Most people would immediately say “before” without thinking about it – but I wanted empirical evidence. The bottom line is – its personal preference. Once you have properly applied chalk paint and allowed it to dry – you can distress and wax or wax and distress.
Sanding Before Waxing
If you sand after applying your chalk paint and before you wax – it is physically easier since you are only sanding through paint. If you get too carried away with distressing your piece you can easily do touch ups (or repaint the whole thing) with chalk paint. This method is probably the most popular – but it is messy – be prepared for paint dust everywhere.
Sanding After Waxing
If you sand after you have applied your chalk-style paint and wax – you are sanding through two layers which is physically demanding. People who sand after waxing feel it makes it more difficult for them to take too much off – it gives them more control. There is also less mess as paint dust everywhere. For beginners this method would not be recommended – any mistake requiring a touch up will require applying chalk paint,waiting for it to dry, then applying the wax again. This method may have advantages for some “professionals” but is likely not the best solution for the DIY crowd. The good news is – if you painted and waxed before distressing – you aren’t out of luck – but proceed with caution!