I needed to make an amazing furniture salve recipe because buying it is so expensive! I had to update some antique furniture and didn’t want to mess up the original finish, but also didn’t want to spend $34 on one tiny 8oz tin. So I developed a recipe myself and I absolutely love it!
What is wood salve?
I love to redo furniture. Paint it. Strip it with oven cleaner. Do anything to make it look different than when I got it. But some items are too antique for me to want to mess with the finish on them.
Sometimes I just want to rejuvenate, protect, and seal the beautiful wood pieces. This is exactly what this furniture salve recipe will do for you.
We have a stunning piano that needed a little loving and I wanted to keep it just like it was. I also had a beverage cart that I’m sure is from the early 1900s. While it isn’t exactly my taste, I didn’t have the heart to take a sander to it.
So I needed a solution that filled in some of the imperfections, while giving it a little protection from future nicks and water marks. I knew a salve was what I wanted to use – a cross between a messy oil and a thick, hard to use wax.
I made a healing salve years ago and loved the paste type texture, so I set to work using that base recipe and adding oils and waxes I knew were beneficial for furniture. This is what I came up with and I’m so in love!
What you’ll need:
Hemp Seed Oil – So many people just use hemp seed oil on wood furniture to put the moisture back into it and to condition it. While that seems to do a good job, there’s the problem of it being runny and hard to use. Additionally, there’s no protection from future damage to the wood because it doesn’t have that little bit of wax added to leave a layer to safeguard your piece.
Coconut oil – This conditions the wood, much like the hemp oil does but it’s solid at room temperature, so it adds a little firmness to the salve.
Yellow Beeswax Pellets – You could absolutely use melted regular beeswax, but it was important for me to not have to clean any pots or spoons. I just wanted to be able to measure the pellets right into the jar and melt it in the mason jar I’ll be using to store it. Because beeswax tends to make SUCH a mess, I avoid making things with it. So this option of pellets allows me to use something I’d normally avoid. This wax helps to leave a thin coating on the wood for protection.
Candelilla Wax – I used a flaked version of this so, again, it doesn’t need to be melted before being measured. It’s another wax that helps to seal the wood to protect it.
How do you make wood salve?
I wanted this process to be as mess free as it could possibly be. I HATE to clean up after melting beeswax. When I’ve made lotion bars or lip balm in the past, it’s a horrible chore to clean up afterwards. Additionally, you really need to have special pans and tools that you only use with beeswax because it never really comes off!
So I decided to create a double boiler type system. I put a pot on the bottom, with an inch or so of water. Then I put all the ingredients into an 8oz mason jar and put that into the water. I made sure the water and the jar were room temperature so there wouldn’t be any breakage from adding a cold jar to hot water.
Measure the hemp oil, coconut oil, beeswax pellets, and candelilla flaked wax into the jar. Turn the fire on low and allow it to completely melt. Use a bamboo skewer to stir the mixture, so you can just throw it away afterwards.
Clearly, we were all out of bamboo skewers so I used a pencil! I wiped it off and resharpened it when I was done. Not ideal, but I didn’t want to wait to make this until conditions were ideal!
After it’s all melted, add the essential oils. I used 15 drops total, but it doesn’t have an incredibly strong scent, so I think you could definitely use more. Put it on a cooling rack to cool until it’s room temperature. Then it’s ready to use!
What is furniture salve used for?
This furniture salve recipe creates a very soft wax that is used on raw or finished wood. Depending on how you’d like to use it, you’ll apply it differently.
Using furniture salve on a finished piece
I mostly use this to go over the top of a piece that’s already finished. I originally designed this to spruce up and protect antique pieces that I did not want to alter the finish because of their value.
In that situation, use a 0000 steel wool pad and apply wax in circular motions. Don’t use too much of the furniture salve because you’ll be wiping off the excess. You can always add another coat, so less is more.
Here’s a quick video of me adding the furniture salve to a beverage cart in two different places. There’s actually quite a bit of damage to this cart, but I was shocked at how much better it looked! I would never want to claim that it removed markings or scratches or cup rings, but watch how much it disguises those marks.
I was using my iPhone this day, so the photos aren’t spectacular, but I wanted to make sure I documented the before and after of this piece. There’s a beautiful wood and glass tray that sits on top, but the underneath was kind of a wreck. Here’s the before.
And here’s the after photo with two coats of furniture salve on top. You can see that the wood damage around the edges is still pretty rough. However, the middle section is drastically better! It even brought back the original color of the wood finish!
Once I placed the beautiful tray back on top, the damaged edges don’t even show, and the newly beautified center part of the beverage card shines through!
For a small investment, I took a piece of furniture I was ready to get rid of and turned it back into something I love!
Using furniture salve on unfinished wood
For unfinished wood, I love to add this to give it a light finish. Use this brush to apply the furniture salve in circular motions. After it sits for a little while, polish it (within 24 hours) with a white t-shirt rag. I use something like this because they are clean and lint free. You can do more than one coat for extra protection.
Using furniture salve over chalk paint or mineral paint
Another way this furniture salve recipe can be used is as a top coat on chalk paint or mineral paint. While mineral paint does not usually need a top coat, a wax can deepen the color and give a protective coat on the painted surface. Chalk paint DOES need to have a top coat and this furniture salve darkens and protects the chalk paint.
Using furniture salve on metal
Another way to use this is to clean up and rehydrate older metal. I think you’ll be shocked at what a difference it makes on antique metals.
Other uses for furniture salve:
I did some research online and it looks like there’s so many other ways to use this furniture salve recipe!
Here are some of them:
Rehydrating the interior dashboard of your car
Using it on trim on the exterior of the car
Shining up stainless steel appliances
Applying it on hinges to fix the squeaks
Sealing the inside of antique drawers
Is furniture salve the same as wax?
No it’s really different. Wax does not usually hydrate and condition the wood. It simply adds a protective coating. Similarly, oils and wood conditioners moisturize the wood, but don’t protect it. This furniture salve is the best of both worlds. It’s soft and easy to use – unlike hard waxes or runny oils. Plus it adds the moisture to the wood, while leaving behind a protective layer of wax.
I think you’ll really love this! Get together with your friends and divide the cost of the items and make a few batches to split. Then you can get in a girls afternoon and go home with something super useful!
- 1/2 cup hemp oil
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp beeswax pellets
- 1 Tbsp candelilla wax
- 10 drops lemon essential oil
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
- Fill bottom of pan with about an inch or two of water.
- Add all ingredients (except the essential oils ) into an 8oz. mason jar. Place mason jar in pot with water. This will act like a double boiler.
- Turn burner on low and the water will heat up, allowing contents of the jar to melt. Use a bamboo skewer to stir the oils and waxes until they are melted. Make sure not to get the water from the pot into the jar!
- Remove the jar from the water, add the essential oils and give it a stir.
- Allow the mixture in the jar to cool completely.
To use over a finished piece
- Use a 0000 steel wool pad to get salve out of the jar. Gently rub the surface of your wood with the steel wool and salve in circular motions, working it into the wood.
- After you've worked the salve into the wood, polish it with an old white tshirt to remove any extra salve and polish the surface.
- Repeat if desired.
For unfinished wood
For use with Chalk Paint
- Another way this furniture salve recipe can be used is as a top coat on chalk paint or mineral paint. While mineral paint does not usually need a top coat, a wax can deepen the color and give a protective coat on the painted surface. Chalk paint DOES need to have a top coat and this furniture salve darkens and protects the chalk paint.
For Antique Metals
- Another way to use this is to clean up and rehydrate older metal. I think you'll be shocked at what a difference it makes on antique metals.
Other ways to use this furniture salve recipe
- Rehydrating the interior dashboard of your carUsing it on trim on the exterior of the carShining up stainless steel appliancesApplying it on hinges to fix the squeaksSealing the inside of antique drawers