How To Update Furniture With Liming Wax

Today I’m going to share with you how to update furniture with liming wax. If you’re not sure you want to commit to painting a piece of furniture, liming wax might be something to consider.

White roses in a silver pitcher on a vintage secretary desk.


Sometimes the best pieces of furniture are hand-me-downs.  My secretary desk is an antique piece that I inherited but its value is all sentimental.

I’m pointing this out, because altering the finish of a priceless antique may not be recommended. I’m no expert, but I do watch the Antique Roadshow occasionally. 😉

On the other hand, a vintage piece like this one may just need some highlights to bring out its true beauty which is where the liming wax comes into play.



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If you’re new to my blog, you may not know that I’m a Maker with A Makers’ Studio. I’ve featured many AMS products in project posts including A Makers’ Studio Cerusing Wax or liming wax. For more inspiration see the candle sticks I updated in the Winter Decorating Ideas post or the DIY Kitchen Table Makeover.


  • Cerusing Wax
  • Paint Brush
  • Paper Plate or cardboard
  • Cotton Cloth
  • Extra Fine Steel Wool

Update Furniture with Liming Wax

Squeeze out a small amount of wax onto a paper plate or piece of cardboard. Load a small amount of wax on a clean paint brush or cotton cloth. Going with the grain of the wood apply the Cerusing wax working it into crevices and cracks.

I prefer using a paint brush on furniture pieces that have moulding or carved details because the bristles push the wax into those areas better than a cloth.

Working in sections, I allowed the wax to come to tack, about 15 minutes. Then I removed the excess wax with a soft cotton cloth. Extra fine steel wool can also be used.

In a few areas I repeated the process for an even look, then finished by buffing all areas with a clean cotton cloth. If desired Light Antiquing Wax can be applied to protect the finish.

Notice how the drawer on the left looks after the Cerusing wax was applied. The wax has settled into to areas where the wood grain pores are open and also in the crevices of the moulding.


Wood areas with and without Cerusing wax.


My secretary desk has evolved into a beautiful piece of furniture that I love to photograph. Over time, I’ve updated drawer pulls, replaced an oversized cornice piece on top with simple moulding and repainted the interior of the bookshelf multiple times. I should go ahead and paint the back panel white and be done with it, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.



Now, I’ve taken the secretary desk another step further by updating the overall look by highlighting the carved details and the open grain of the wood.

Cerusing wax can also be applied over paint to highlight carved details in the same way.




Important Note

When deciding to update furniture with liming wax, note that all details including nicks and scratches will be highlighted where applied.


Secretary desk with books and flowers.

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Transform a piece of furniture with liming wax to bring out the wood grain and character of carved details.


I’m still tweaking the shelves to decide how I want them styled. One idea is to turn the book shelf into a liquor cabinet with interesting bottles lined up on the first shelf and an array of bar glasses above. Decisions, decisions.

Thanks so much for stopping by.



©2019 How To Update Furniture With Liming Wax post first appeared on Thistle Key Lane™

20 thoughts on “How To Update Furniture With Liming Wax

    • Michelle Meyer says:

      Great question Kim. Yes I used liming wax on a plain black frame to add interest and texture. Works like a charm.

  1. Cecilia from Georgia says:

    Hi, I want to try the Liming wax on a cabinet similar to yours but the piece I have needs a good cleaning first. What is the best method for cleaning an old piece like this before applying the wax? I love the subtle highlight that the wax gives.

    • Michelle Meyer says:

      Hi Cecilia, I didn’t have to use a cleaner on the secretary but I have on other furniture projects. The same company that sells the wax I wrote about in the post, also sells a great product called Furniture & Cabinetry Cleaner. I highly recommend the product to remove dirt, wax, oil and other grime that may have built up over time. The link for A Makers’ Studio is in the post, click on SHOP then TOOLS and cleaner will be listed there. Hope this will help with your project.

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