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Can you apply a second coat of Rub n Buff?

Applying multiple coats of Rub n Buff can enhance the finish and help achieve your desired effect. Rub n Buff is a versatile product that can be used to antique, patina or gild surfaces from metal and wood to glass and plastic. While a single coat may be sufficient, adding additional layers can often take the finish to the next level.

What is Rub n Buff?

Rub n Buff is a unique wax-based finishing product that comes in a wide variety of metallic colors like silver, gold, copper and brass. It has a creamy, paste-like consistency that makes it easy to apply by hand. Here’s an overview of some of the key features of Rub n Buff:

  • Versatile – Can be used on metal, wood, glass, ceramics, polymer clay, plastics, etc.
  • Non-tarnishing – Finish won’t oxidize or change color over time
  • Temporary or permanent – Can be applied as a temporary finish or made permanent if sealed
  • Easy to control – Applies smoothly and blends well for subtle to dramatic effects
  • Water-based – Doesn’t emit strong fumes or odors

The unique wax and oil-based formula gives Rub n Buff superior adhesion on multiple surfaces while allowing it to be easily blended, darkened or lightened as needed during application.

Should you apply a second coat?

Applying a second coat of Rub n Buff can be beneficial for several reasons:

  • Enhances coverage – Evens out any thin or uneven areas in the first coat
  • Intensifies effect – Makes finish darker, richer and more metallic
  • Builds up dimension – Adds more visual depth and texture
  • Maximizes durability – Provides extra protection when sealed as a permanent finish
  • Customizes look – Allows subtly shifting tones by applying a different shade over the first coat

The need for a second coat depends on the specific project, the surface being finished and the particular Rub n Buff shade being used. Opaque, darker colors like antique gold or ebony silver often provide full coverage in one coat. But lighter, more translucent shades like bright gold or silver may require two coats to get a smooth, consistent metallic finish.

Tips for applying a second coat

Here are some tips to follow when applying a second coat of Rub n Buff:

  • Let the first coat dry completely – This prevents the two coats from mixing and muddying the color.
  • Brush away any loose grains – Lightly buff with a soft cloth to remove any loose bits of Rub n Buff.
  • Apply sparingly – You need much less product for the second coat.
  • Work in thin, even layers – Thick globs can look blotchy so spread thinly.
  • Blend overlapping areas – Feather out borders where the two coats meet.
  • Change directions – Brush the second coat perpendicular to the first coat.
  • Seal when finished – If making a permanent finish, apply a sealant over the top.

It often works best to apply the second coat of Rub n Buff using very light, multidirectional brushing strokes to gently overlap and blend with the first application. Take your time building it up slowly in ultra-thin layers for the most seamless coverage.

How long to wait between coats?

It’s important to allow the first application of Rub n Buff adequate drying time before adding a second coat. Here are some general guidelines:

Surface Drying Time
Smooth metal 30-60 minutes
Wood 1-3 hours
Porous surfaces At least 24 hours

On very smooth, non-porous surfaces like glass or glazed ceramics, drying time may be closer to 30 minutes. But more porous materials like wood or polymer clay may need 1-3 hours. Allow at least 24 hours dry time when applying to bare wood, concrete, plaster or terra cotta.

Proper drying avoids the finish being pulled up or discolored by a second coat applied too soon. Test a small area first if uncertain and allow extra drying time in high humidity environments.

How many coats of Rub n Buff can you apply?

While one or two coats of Rub n Buff are most common, some projects call for applying three or more layers. Multiple coats allow you to gradually build up depth, dimension and opacity for different design effects.

Some situations where using three or more coats may be desirable include:

  • Antiquing large surface areas – Extra coats ensure consistent coverage.
  • Color blending – Gradual layers blend custom tones by alternating colors.
  • Gradient finishes – Progressively lighten or darken shades from one end to the other.
  • Extreme opaque finishes – Opaque black, bronze and copper often require three or more coats.
  • Permanently sealing – Additional coats protect finish when sealing with polyurethane or lacquer.

To avoid problems applying more than two coats, be patient and allow proper drying time between each application. Remove any dust nibs, brush in ultra-thin layers, blend overlapping edges and change brushing directions with each coat.

Should you seal Rub n Buff?

Sealing Rub n Buff is recommended for a few different reasons:

  • Permanent finish – Seals colors in place so they don’t rub off over time
  • Enhanced protection – Adds a protective barrier against wear, scratches and tarnishing
  • Prevents oxidation – Stops metal finishes like copper or brass from oxidizing and changing color
  • Odor blocking – Contains wax medium odors on more porous surfaces

On items subject to frequent handling like jewelry or furniture, sealing is advised to prevent the finish slowly wearing away. Any clear sealer designed for the surface material may be used, including polyurethane, lacquer, Mod Podge or epoxy resin.

Sealing is not required for display-only items or when using Rub n Buff for temporary/removable effects. Test compatibility before sealing rare collectibles or antiques.

Tips for getting the best results with multiple coats

Here are some top tips to help you get great results when applying multiple coats of Rub n Buff:

  • Take your time – Rushing leads to blotchiness.
  • Keep layers very thin – Thick buildup looks uneven.
  • Change direction with each coat – Alters brushstroke patterns.
  • Blend overlapping edges – Feather out borders between coats.
  • Clean brushes thoroughly – Prevents color cross-contamination.
  • Work in a dust-free area – Prevents foreign particles in finish.
  • Use proper lighting – Variations in lighting affects color perception.
  • Allow proper drying time – Rushing leads to pulling up color.

Test on sample boards first when experimenting with multiple coats and take detailed notes on combinations, drying times and results achieved. With a patient, meticulous approach, Rub n Buff can produce truly stunning metallic finishes.


Applying additional coats of Rub n Buff beyond the initial application can take a finish to the next level. While a single coat may suffice for some projects, a second or even third layer can help intensify coverage, depth and dimension. Allowing adequate drying time between coats and using proper technique for smooth, thin layers helps ensure optimal results. With some practice and experimentation, multiple layers of Rub n Buff open up amazing possibilities for custom metallic finishes.