seal gilding wax

Does Gilding Wax Need to be Sealed?

In Tips by Jamie P.

Gilding furniture with wax is simply a process where you apply a thin coat of wax to create a unique finish to your furniture. Typically they are found in colors that are metallic, such as gold, silver, bronze, and so on. It’s best when you apply gilding wax to detailed pieces of furniture where it stands out and really catches your eye. But after you apply gilding wax is there anything else you need to do?

Gilding wax does not need to be sealed after application on furniture. After applying gilding wax, let it dry overnight before buffing. It can take a couple of weeks for the wax to cure and harden, and if needed apply touch-ups when necessary.  

The best thing about refinishing furniture is that there are no rules when it comes to creativity. You can always try and test new things, if it doesn’t work then you learned from the process. But if you don’t want to waste time on ideas that have already been tested then you can do the research method too. Let’s look at some questions people ask about sealing over wax.

Can You Put Varnish, Poly, or Lacquer Over Gilding Wax?

The rule of thumb is that wax is always your last layer when refinishing furniture. Do not apply a topcoat finish over gilding wax because you risk peeling and chipping of the top protective surface. If you choose to use both, apply the top coat first, and then apply the wax.

This is a popular question when using gilding wax because not everyone will wax the entire project for protection. They will use a polyurethane finish or possibly a lacquer finish. The best way to apply the gilding wax is to apply your topcoat finish first, whether you wipe it on or spray it, wait until it dries and then you can apply your gilding wax.

How Long Does It Take Gilding Wax to Dry?

On average, Gilding wax takes up to 15 minutes to dry until its ready to touch. However, the wax is still tacky and needs proper time to cure and harden. For gilding wax, to reach ultimate durability cure times can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 4 weeks.

If you are selling a piece with gilding wax on it, ensure your buyer knows the rules if they are buying within this time period.

Is Gilding Wax Waterproof?

Gilding wax isn’t one hundred percent waterproof, it is water-resistant though. If water is spilled in a surface that has gilding was you should grab a clean cloth and wipe it up quickly.

Realistically, your piece of furniture has some other protective coating that could potentially make it waterproof. If covered in a polyurethane finish and the gilding wax is layered over, it is less likely to be damaged by water. But if the entire project is coated in wax be sure to wipe any water drops up because water can seep through a wax finish if left for a long period of time.

For the most part, water isn’t what you should be careful of. The worst items to avoid on top coated furniture would be wine, coffee, and various juices. They leave a ring because they penetrate into the finish staining it. Water, on the other hand, doesn’t stain and it wipes up nicely.

How Long Does Gilding Wax Last?

On average, gilding wax will last over a year on a surface. There are a number of factors that change how long gilding wax will last, but the most important one is how often the item is touched. Gilding wax will remain unchanged if it isn’t constantly touched.

Whether it’s touched by hand or not, the wax will slowly rub off. If gilding wax was used on a drawer pull expect it to need touch-ups regularly, like once a month. But if it’s on a decorative piece that sits in the corner of a room, it will likely last forever.

Other times gilding wax rubs off is when it’s used on furniture edges. You may not even realize that you rub against this piece of furniture and your clothes can take a significant layer of wax off. Over a period of time, you can see the difference in where you were rubbing against it.

The verdict is, gilding wax lasts long if untouched but if you are touching it often the wax will slowly rub off needing re-application.

Final Thoughts

Gilding wax is durable enough to remain on the top surface. If wanted, you can always seal gilding wax with a clear coat wax for extra protection, it wouldn’t hurt. Just be aware that it is easy to smudge if it isn’t dry during this time.

Overall, I hope these tips and tricks for using gilding wax has helped answer some questions you might have had on the topic. Gilding wax has been around for years but hasn’t always been the topic of discussion. Its time we start to answer some questions so everyone can give gilding a try!

Good luck on your next project!