Tips & Techniques


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  It’s much easier than getting to the topcoat stage where the tannins present in the wood will rise to the surface and discolor it (think ugly yellow/orange/pink spots). If this happens, stop what you are doing, prime the entire piece in 2 coats, then start over. After painting for a while, you will be able to better guess who’s a bleeder and who’s not. Or you just eventually figure out that priming most pieces is just more efficient and cost effective in the long run!


Who is guilty of taking their paint brush and dipping paint right from the can and placing it on the surface you are painting?  I am! For years I have always just opened the can of paint, dipped the brush directly in the paint and applied it to the surface I was painting.  Only to later see "floaties"  in the paint or finding something on the surface I was painting.  This makes more work and a practice you need to stop.  It's simple take another container, a paper plate, a plastic cup, an old butter dish and pour some of the paint you will be using into the container and save your remaining paint from getting contaminated. 


A sealant must be used with Wise Owl Paints.  Sealants create a smoother surface for your desired finish and can help make application of finishing products more uniform. Chalk style paints are porous and spending a small amount of time lightly sanding for a smooth surface, makes application a breeze. It is a common misconception that all pieces painted in a chalk style paint, are rough and gritty. Lightly sanding will guarantee the smoothest feeling surface while preserving the matte vintage style finish of the paint.  I like to use sandpaper or a sanding block of 250 grit or above. The Paint will sand easily and you will not need to spend a lot of time sanding.  Remember to go with the grain or direction you painted in after sanding, you will need to lightly dust off any paint dust with a lint free cloth. Sanding will lighten the color of the paint but don’t worry, this is temporary. The richness of the color will come back once the sealant is applied.


Wise Owl has a variety of finishing products.  Depending on the desired finish you want will depend on the product you select. But, first, ask yourself, "How much traffic will this piece see?"  Will the piece be a kitchen table, a dresser, an entryway table or a desk? 

Wax produces a gorgeous finish, but high traffic areas like a kitchen table or cabinets may need a finish to hold up to more wear and tear.

Hemp Oil is an ideal sealant and this stuff is magic! If you desire a buttery smooth finish with a tenacity that rivals poly for protection and is even suitable for outdoor furniture, hemp oil may be your best option. Once again, hemp oil is a rich natural hemp color that can range from rich olive oil to amber depending on the season it was collected in. This makes it suitable for colors besides white since it can antique or discolor whites lightly (Unless you are going for that look then go for it!) Hemp oil is a natural fungicide with anti-microbial properties that richens wood and makes a killer strong paint sealant. Hemp oil is great to rehydrate, protect and richen raw wood, sealing stained pieces instead of using a polyurethane, shining up wood sealed with a poly, or for removing patina from hardware. If using hemp oil on a heavily distressed piece, you will find it penetrating through the wood finish beneath and adding richness and beauty to it. The key to finishing a painted piece with hemp oil is wet sanding.

Glaze adds a unique antique finish to painted pieces. If you desire a less uniform look than paint alone, or have a piece with lots of detail, glaze may be a good choice for your piece. Our Black Walnut Glaze is a favorite and adds a rich dark brown patina to pieces. You may also glaze over a surface finished with polyurethane, or over a raw wood finish as an alternative to a gel stain. To glaze over paint, sand well! This is one time when it is absolutely necessary to create a smooth finish before beginning. Sanding your paint will close some of the pore space so the glaze will absorb in a more uniform finish and allow the glaze to glide over when wiping away. To apply glaze, work in small sections. I recommend practicing on a smaller piece or frame before taking on glazing a huge piece as you perfect your desired technique. Apply the glaze in the direction you painted, with a sock or a paint brush. After applying, immediately wipe away glaze until desired finish is achieved. Work quickly and do not try to wipe glaze after it has begun drying. Remember, glaze will remove glaze so if you overlap over glaze that is in the process of drying, you can pull up some of the glaze. This is ok, but to get a more uniform look, quickness is key. If you aren’t happy with an area you have glazed, you may add a little more glaze and wipe away to remove some of the previous finish. Allow the glaze to settle and stay in areas with detail to add a dimensional look. A second layer of glaze may be added once dry if more dramatic finish is desired. You can apply with a sock on your hand and wipe off with another sock on the other hand for quick easy application. Our glaze itself is a strong sealant, but depending on the amount of glaze left on surface, you may need to apply a wax or Wise Owl Matte or Satin Varnish for extra protection. Our glaze can be painted over once dry without any issues should you decide to change the finish.

Varnish Wise Owl’s Matte and Satin Varnish is unlike any other water-based topcoat. Our varnish formula is truly revolutionary. We utilize a crystal clear resin to yield serious protection that will not yellow or discolor whites due to the crystal clear technology. Our Varnish provides industrial grade strength suitable for cabinets and high traffic areas. The matte varnish is a truly flat finish to preserve the matte quality of Wise Owl Chalk Synthesis Paint and the Satin Varnish has a slight sheen.