Painting your furniture is a great way to get a brand new look for each room of your home without spending the money it would cost to replace everything. Chalk paint is a popular low VOC option that offers a rustic look that is easily distressed for the country home or shabby chic look. A wax finish is usually applied to protect the paint from scratches, but the wax needs plenty of time to cure in order to harden fully. Rushing any of the curing periods for furniture wax can lead to damage to the painted finish later.
Between Coats of Wax
Each thin layer of wax applied to the painted surface of furniture must dry completely before another coating is brushed on. You can feel the surface to tell if it's dry. Wax feels tacky to the touch until it's dry, and applying thin layers speeds drying. Wax generally dries within two hours per layer, but some furniture painting experts recommend waiting a full 24 hours instead, especially if the weather is humid or cold. Applying wax before the previous layer has dried will lead to peeling and flaking.
Once you've applied enough layers of wax, you need to let the painted pieces of furniture sit for around a month to give the wax a chance to cure and harden completely. Curing can be completed in as little as 5 days, but it generally requires at least three full weeks. Furniture can handle normal wear and tear after this point, but it can be used with care within a few days after waxing if you're willing to watch out for scuffs and scratches. It's better to wait until the wax is fully cured, especially if there's any environmental conditions slowing the process.
Before a New Layer of Paint
Finally, you may decide to change the color of a piece of furniture as soon as you've applied a wax layer to it. If you want to build up layers for a thicker coating of paint, you can apply paint directly over the wax as long as its completely dry. For stronger adhesion and no chances of soft wax interfering with the bond, wipe the wax off with mineral spirits before applying more paint. There's no need to sand off the wax or the paint in order to apply new layers to the top. If you're switching away from chalk paint, you may want a primer compatible with the type of paint you plan to use next.