I used mineral spirits on a rag for a quick wipe down. I followed that with a quick, light cleaning with Krud Kutter--a degreaser and then I used a wet rag with some vinegar on it. Are all of these steps necessary? I don't think on every piece--it depends, but if it is veneer or plastic or metal, I would do all three. They are quick and very little product is needed. Officially, Annie Sloan does not mention these prep steps. Nancy Jones who trained me does use these steps and it makes sense to me. Paint is going to stick to what is on the surface. If there is grease or dust or something else on the surface, the paint will stick to that. Those things are temporary and meant to come off of the item you are painting so it is best if you get rid of them first.
The paint is permanent and cured after 28 days. After 3 days it is useable with caution--use doilies or placemats until the 28 days is up. You can paint concrete, your house, countertops, kitchen cupboards, etc. If you are doing an outside item, pray your weatherperson is accurate and do it when no rain is predicted for 3 days.
Wax helps to further protect the surface but is not necessary on everything. Sanding with fine sandpaper and steel wool helps the paint molecules adhere and bond better. You do not wax outdoor pieces. We learned to dilute the wax with mineral spirits, which I really liked. It helps the wax to go on more easily and I think help prevent over waxing. which apparently is a common problem. You want to work the wax into your brush by dipping the brush into the wax and making figure eights on a plate to work the wax into the brush. You then apply it on your piece also in a figure eight motion so that you massage it into the paint. Remember, this is a porous paint. There are videos on waxing on You Tube.
So, that ugly piece in the picture above became this piece:
Some Old White and CoCo,
We were told to think of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ as a fine furniture finish. I will still be using regular paint on my rougher pieces--my pallet furniture and things I build. But for furniture pieces I buy from thrift stores and garage sales, I will be using Chalk Paint™--it is quick, durable, and produces lovely results.