Annie Sloan Arles Paint & Clear Wax: A Review

Annie Sloan Arles Paint & Clear Wax: A Review

Annie Sloan Arles

Whilst I’m not typically the most crafty person out there, I do really enjoy seeing the upcycling and furniture restoration projects that other bloggers have committed to, and for so long I’ve wanted to give it a go.

Over and over, there were 2 brands which came up in my reading: Farrow & Ball, and Annie Sloan. As someone who knows very little about painting furniture in general, I took this to be a good indication of the ‘go-to’ paints if I were to find a piece of furniture to attack. Turns out, I did, and after seeing the orange paint used on a table over on Write Like No-One’s Watching, I figured Annie Sloan would be a good place to start.

I chose Arles – an orange which, whilst not neon or overtly bright, will still get your attention and add warmth to our otherwise dull lounge. I originally had my heart set on Barcelona Orange, but couldn’t find it in stock.

What I liked about Annie Sloan on first impression was this idea that you needed to do no preparation prior to painting. No sanding or priming was the promise I was sold on. Sadly, this wasn’t the case in my experience.

The paint went on beautifully to the dresser I bought – but only after a really good sanding. Annie Sloan paint is thick from its chalky formula, and went on so well to the intricate wood details of the sideboard area. As far as the side panels and cupboard doors however, which were significantly more rough in texture, without a quick rub of sandpaper, the paint would simply not spread.

Annie Sloan Arles Chalk Paint

Needless to say, we got the paint on, and 3 coats later it was a gorgeous even finish. I actually think we could have managed with just the 2 coats as the paint was quite pigmented. But to get the thick colour into the tiny details of the wood took a little extra force (cue me stabbing the furniture with a brush – officially looked like a loon). In addition I had to do plenty of touching up, which I’ll come onto in a minute…

As for the finish of the paint, I adored the colour, with its matte appearance once dried – pretty impressive when you take into account how dark the wooden dresser was. It dried super even, whether you used even strokes or not, and was almost pastel in colour because of the chalky formula. I loved it.

Annie Sloan dresser before

Annie Sloan dresser after

Then came the wax. The paint itself wasn’t enough to keep the dresser protected, especially if we want to use it for a bar. Which we do.

When I’d read up on Annie Sloan wax, more often than not I had come across about the ‘Dark’ colour, so often used to give an aged or vintage effect to furniture. On this occasion, I was going for block colour so opted out of the Dark fanclub and bought a tin of Clear wax. And to be quite honest I found it a bit of a nightmare. I read so much. SO MUCH. On how to use this wax.

And everywhere were conflicting opinions; To use loads. To use sparingly. To use a cloth. To use a brush. To apply in circles. To apply in even stokes. Argh, internet make up your mind!!

I don’t know if there is a right answer to this, but generally I found the following to have worked best:

– Using a similar paintbrush for the wax as used for the paint.
– Use the wax in the same direction strokes as the paint where possible.
– Don’t use loads at a time. Small amounts will spread nicely and evenly. Large clumps did not spread and were impossible to remove or buff later.
– gentle. Nearly all demonstrations I saw online were saying to be rough as you like. I found even the gentlest of brush strokes were ripping off the previous layers of paint. This was also the case when I tried to do any buffing as recommended on countless web pages. It would just rip off the colour. Hence why I needed loads of touch ups. Really frustrating.

It took me a few goes, I’ll be honest, but eventually I got a finish I was pleased with. I had originally read that it was best to wax in full circles with a cloth. I tried this and it looked like a small child had done it. I had to go back and re-do it. Lesson well and truly learned.

Annie Sloan Clear Wax

I’m sure there are plenty of people reading this thinking “What a bloody imbecile she is! Only FOOLS go in circles!” Such is life, eh? But hey, I’m a beginner.

The wax in general made the paint appear slightly darker, and gave it a finish that was still matte, but would have a slight sheen when the light hit it. And whilst at first I hated it due to the circles (oh cripes, the circles) once I’d gotten the hang of applying it to the rest of the dresser, it really grew on me. In fact, I like that it appears a slightly different shade of orange throughout the day, and you can see that in just the few snapshot images I’ve got in this post, and with the big reveal, coming in my next update.

For my first furniture project I’m pretty pleased with it. As for Annie Sloan? Loved the paint. I’m unconvinced on the wax, but this may be down to my inexperience. I think if I were to use Annie Sloan again it would be on a smaller project more suited to me skillset. Like a finger painting…