4 Tips for a Applying Shellac Wood Finish

For a natural wood finish for your furniture, consider using shellac. Not only is shellac easy to apply, but it is fast-drying and non-toxic. Follow these four tips when shellacking your wood furniture.


Shellac comes in a variety of colors but if you can't find the right one, combine different shellacs or mix one color with clear shellac until it is diluted to the right hue. Mix in a separate bucket so you don't cross-contaminate your cans of shellac.


Make sure your brush is an appropriate width for the object you are finishing. You may need more than one size brush for a job if the furniture has wide and narrow spots.


Make long, steady strokes that go with the wood grain. Use less shellac if you're painting vertically to avoid drips. You will have to apply at least two coats for the best wood finish so if you've missed a spot, cover it on coat number two - spot-shellacking will make your finish uneven and blotchy.

Cleaning Up

De-natured alcohol is shellac thinner but is extremely toxic so use with caution. If you've dripped shellac, put a small amount of the alcohol on a cloth and rub it away; you can also use the alcohol to keep your brushes clean.