Recipes for the Ugly Duckling

In the last post, I mentioned that I would give you the recipes for the wood wax and the antique finish. Both are incredibly simple to make and use!


The antique glaze that I am referring to is an overwash.  It is applied to create an aged effect and to add depth to the furniture piece.  Pictured below is a dresser with the natural antique glaze applied.

Commercial antique glaze for furniture is usually oil based, involving using mineral spirits, etc...   I'll pass on that, thanks. Some say that the "real" antique glaze is more effective as it stays wet longer and is more transparent, making it easier to apply. I think the natural, homemade glaze works just fine, too.


Latex Paint - preferably no VOC, in black
Distilled Water - pure, no minerals

  1. Mix 1/2 paint and 1/2 water in a glass jar or bucket with a tight fitting lid.
  2. This is your glaze, and is for applying over water based painted furniture. You could use it on milk or chalk painted pieces, too.
  3. After the painted piece has sat for at least 24 hours, distress it. Sand corners and areas that would naturally receive wear and tear, such as legs, near handles, etc.
  4. Have lots of damp, clean rags by your side as you will be rubbing off most of the glaze, and you do not want the glaze to dry on you!
  5. Paint on glaze, working very quickly. Rub off immediately until the desired look is achieved.
You are now ready to apply a protective finish for your painted piece.


Mineral oil is most commonly used for conditioning and protecting wood.  What is mineral oil?  A by-product of the petroleum industry.  It is widely used because it is cheap and readily available.  It is related to petrolatum, one of  David Suzuki Foundation's "Dirty Dozen" (Chemicals in Cosmetics) Taken from :

Use in Cosmetics

Petrolatum is mineral oil jelly (i.e. petroleum jelly). It is used as a barrier to lock moisture in the skin in a variety of moisturizers and also in hair care products to make your hair shine.
Health and Environmental Hazards
A petroleum product, petrolatum can be contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Studies suggest that exposure to PAHs — including skin contact over extended periods of time — is associated with cancer. i On this basis, the European Union classifies petrolatum a carcinogen ii and restricts its use in cosmetics. PAHs in petrolatum can also cause skin irritation and allergies. iii
Regulatory Status
In the European Union, petrolatum can only be used in cosmetics "if the full refining history is known and it can be shown that the substance from which it is produced is not a carcinogen." iv There is no parallel restriction in Canada. Petrolatum has been flagged for future assessment under the government's Chemicals Management Plan.
Related Ingredients
Mineral oil and petroleum distillates are related petroleum by-products used in cosmetics. Like petrolatum, these ingredients may be contaminated with PAHs.
i ATSDR. ToxFAQs for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). Sep 1996.
ii European Commission. Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 , Annex VI, Table 3.2. Sep 2009.
iii Ulrich, G. et al. "Sensitaization to petrolatum: an unusual cause of false-positive drug patch-tests." Allergy 59, 9 (2004): 1006-1009.
iv European Commission. Cosmetic Directive 2003/83/EC, Annex II, Ref. 904.

While mineral oil is not being used in a cosmetic application here, I choose not to use it, preferring to use safe plant oils. Worried about rancidity? I have never had an issue with this wood wax going "bad". Below are my choices for oils to use based on their shelf life and antibacterial properties. Be sure that you have fresh oil on hand.  Just an aside, did you know that commercial baby oil has two basic ingredients (You know which one I'm talking about, don't you?) :  Mineral oil and fragrance. Petroleum by-product and cheap, synthetic fragrance.  Uh huh, for your baby.  But I digress...


1 cup of oil - olive, hemp, coconut, or jojoba
1/3 cup of beeswax


  1. Slowly melt wax in a double boiler over low heat.
  2. Add the oil, continue to heat until all is melted.
  3. Stir well, and pour into a recycled container.
  4. Let cool and harden.
  5. Cover with a tight fitting lid.
  6. Using a clean cloth, apply some of the wood butter, rubbing in a circular motion.
  7. Wipe off immediately using a dry, clean cloth or for deeper penetration, wait a few minutes and then wipe off.

Helps repel water and conditions wood, preventing cracking or splitting.  A perfect wax for your cutting boards, and unpainted furniture, too! For a softer consistency, reduce the amount of wax. For a vegan alternative, use carnauba wax, but make sure you do reduce the amount of wax as carnauba is harder than beeswax.  Good luck with your toxin free project!