Tips for Using American Paint Company Top Coat–Part 1

Tips for Using American Paint Company Top CoatAmerican Paint Company’s Top Coat is an eco-friendly product designed to give your paint projects a durable shiny finish. We use this product on many of the furniture pieces we paint here at All Things New Again and wanted to share with you some of our favorite tips for using APC Top Coat. We came up with so many good tips, we split our Top 10 list in two. Here’s the first part.

Here’s the link to even more great Top Coat Tips.

1. Top Coat is a natural product. It will spoil. Store it in your refrigerator after opening.

photo 1One of my favorite things about American Paint Company products is the fact that they contain ZERO VOC’s or other harmful chemicals. They are safe to use indoors and around children and pets.

However, one drawback to all-natural is the products lack the chemicals that make them last forever like a Twinkie. So like that last little peach that was hiding at the bottom of my fruit bowl and the sippy-cup of chocolate milk I didn’t realize somebody (my 2-year-old) stashed behind my living room curtains, Top Coat will spoil.

To make Top Coat last longer, make sure you close the top after each use and do not store it in the garage where it is subject to extreme hot and cold temperatures. I store my Top Coat in the refrigerator … waaaaaaay in the back where somebody (my 2-year-old) can’t reach it when he’s in there rooting around for a sippy-cup of chocolate milk.

2. Shake it well.

Don’t freak out if you see white floatie things like this …

Slide1It’s OK. I don’t know the technical name for those floaties, but they are part of the product. Sometimes the wax in Top Coat clumps together, especially if you haven’t used it in awhile or if you are getting to the end of a bottle. The best way to prevent this is to shake your bottle of Top Coat well before each use. If you see little floaties on your project as you are applying Top Coat, just work them out with your brush. If you see a big chunk of floatie, pick it off with your finger and brush on some more Top Coat in that spot. Your finish will look great in the end. No worries.

3. Let it dry! Let it DRY!!

let it goI’m pretty sure I’m the only person on the entire planet who has not seen Frozen. However, I have heard my 5-year-old niece Claire sing Let It Go so much that I feel like I have seen the movie. 10,000 times.

I have a new song to sing. It goes like this: Let it dry! LET IT DRY!

Your paint needs to be completely dry before applying Top Coat. NOT: I’ll go have a cup of coffee and then it will look dry so I can finish this piece before lunchtime. NOT EVEN: I’ll hit it with the hair dryer for a few minutes and then it will be dry enough. No. It needs to be COMPLETELY DRY. Let your project sit at least overnight. A full 24 hours is better.

If your paint is not completely dry, the Top Coat might take off paint, adding more distress to your piece in areas where you did not intend to distress, especially around the edges. If you have already distressed your piece, then a little extra distressing from the Top Coat won’t be noticeable. But if you are going for a solid color, it is best to wait until the paint is completely dry before applying Top Coat.

(We will talk more about how to avoid unintentional distressing in next week’s post so be sure to sign up to follow our blog so you don’t miss it!)

4. Top Coat needs at least a week to cure.

This is important—Top Coat needs about a week or so to cure after applying it. This part is hard for me because as soon as my project dries, I want to decorate it. Don’t! Wait the full week before placing objects onto your table and you will have a much more durable finish. I learned this lesson the hard way at Christmastime when I loaded up my old-school Baby Jesus and sparkly foil trees onto the the plastic fireplace I painted—the morning after I applied Top Coat.


A little patience on my part would have prevented this …


… and this …


Totally NOT Top Coat’s fault.

I should have waited.

5. Mix Top Coat with paint to freshen up the inside of drawers.

To paint? Or not to paint the inside of drawers? I say if you have really clean drawers and can get away without painting them, save yourself the work. But the reality is most of the pieces we work on around here are old and beat-up and in rough shape when we find them. The drawers need freshening up. There’s no way around it. I have started mixing Top Coat with paint to do a wash on the inside of drawers. I use about a 50:50 ratio, but I don’t measure it exactly. This cleans up the drawers, makes them look pretty when you open them and seals the paint all in one easy step.


If you have any other tips for using American Paint Company Top Coat, we would love to hear them! Please share them in the comments section below. We might even add them to the rest of our list for next week!

Thank you!

~ Courtney


9 responses to “Tips for Using American Paint Company Top Coat–Part 1

  1. Pingback: More Tips for Using American Paint Company Top Coat—And A New Product Announcement | All Things New Again·

    • Hardcoat first, then wax. Wax always goes last. It kind of rhymes. Wax/last. That’s how I remember!

      The reason is the wax is soft. It will cure and give you a nice finish, but it never fully hardens like the topcoat or hard coat. The topcoat/hardcoat needs to bond directly to the paint to give you their full protection. Then the wax can go over to soften the look. If you put the wax on first, it forms a barrier between the paint and the topcoat and then the topcoat can’t do its job properly, which is to protect your piece with that nice hard shell.

  2. I am new to this type of painting. What do you mean by paint “washing” the inside of furniture drawers?

    • Hi Christi! “Washing” is when you mix paint with something, usually water, to just add a little bit of color. You can create a lot of really pretty looks with washes–and it saves on paint because you can cover a bigger surface without using so much paint. I like to mix paint with APC Top Coat to create a wash for the inside of drawers. A wash goes on quickly and you just need one coat because you aren’t trying to get a solid look. I use Top Coat instead of water because the Top Coat seals the paint and saves me a step. I don’t like to spend a lot of time on the inside of drawers because you don’t see them very often–but I still want them to look pretty. I hope this answers your question. Happy Painting! ~Courtney

    • Hi Nan,

      I think you would have better luck sealing a floor with APC Hard Coat instead of Top Coat. Hard Coat is more durable than Top Coat and would stand up to high traffic better. I have not tried it, but another APC retailer painted her garage floor and sealed with Hard Coat last year … and reports it still looks great! ~Courtney

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s