Can You Spray Lacquer Over Shellac – A detailed insight

Can You Spray Lacquer Over Shellac

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Generally, shellac works great when applied to furniture, giving a classy look to it. Refraining from all sorts of dust to keep away, putting an attractive glossy, and colorful effect that adds more glamour to the furniture.

Besides, shellac is easily scratch-able, which sometimes demeans all the pros of using shellac. It does not stay for long, due to which a concern arises for must apply something durable to furniture after shellac coat.  

However, before using lacquer, this comes to your mind. Can you use lacquer over shellac? So the answer to this is Yes.

Lacquer is the best option after shellac to give a refined, durable, and glossy look. As lacquer is not easy to scratch or remove, it stays for a long time and maintains a shiny look when done over shellac.  

Can You Spray Lacquer Over Shellac 

Shellac is best to use as a final coat on furniture, which provides a very antique, glossy, and classical look to the table. But at some point, shellac is easy to scratch over, even by rubbing furniture with nails or putting something heavy on wood.

However, to avoid this drawback of shellac, a final coat of lacquer is required, which adds more life to the new look of the furniture.

Lacquer is not easily removable, provides a glossy and attractive look along with durability, and stays longer than shellac alone.

For a good lacquer coat over shellac, immense importance should be given to using the correct type and quantity of shellac and lacquer.

Can You Spray Lacquer Over Shellac

Preferably, when applied on dewaxed shellac, catalyzed lacquer gives the best results.

As catalyzed lacquer stayed longer and dewaxed, shellac gives a sticky texture to the surface where it is applied, making it easy for the lacquer to keep over that surface.

Does Lacquer Work Over Shellac?

Lacquer is mainly used to enhance the final looks of the furniture, glass, and concrete, and is the reason that it is mostly applied over something here; shellac is under discussion over which lacquer is applied.  Shellac has many types, and every type comes with a different outcome when used.

So, can you spray lacquer over shellac? The kind of shellac and type of lacquer should be identified first. There are waxed shellac and dewaxed shellac available in the market.

When applied on furniture, glass, and concrete, waxed shellac gives a very non-sticky texture to the surface, making it difficult for even lacquer to stay over shellac.

Alternatively, when dewaxed shellac is applied, this provides a mild and sticky texture to the surface area where applied and makes it very easy for the lacquer to stay over shellac, giving a very refined and glossy end look.

Waxed Shellac VS UnWaxed Shellac

  • Waxed Shellac

It’s shellac that comes up mixing with wax; due to the waxy texture, causes difficult for shellac itself to stick on any wood, concrete, or glass to give a glossy and classy look.

However, it becomes more impossible for the lacquer to stick on the waxed shellac as the texture becomes dry and non-sticky after applying shellac to furniture that, over it, the lacquer fails to stay and work for a longer time.

  • Unwaxed Shellac 

Unwaxed shellac is preferable when a lacquer coat is to be done on shellac. It is a type of shellac with no wax mixing and comes as natural shellac, which easily stays in wood, glass, or concrete.

Moreover, lacquer easily stays over unwaxed shellac in such cases due to its sticky texture. Lacquer coat done over unwaxed shellac stays for a very long time and gives a classical and elegant look to the furniture, wood, or glass.

Catalyzed Lacquer VS Non-Catalyzed Lacquer

  • Catalyzed Lacquer 

Catalyzed Lacquer is of a type that works more appropriately on shellac as it gets dry more quickly and gives results that stay for much longer durations. Catalyzed Lacquer includes a catalyst designed so that the lacquer coat gets dried speedily when applied to shellac.

  • Non-Catalyzed Lacquer 

Non-Catalyzed Lacquer is a type that refrains lacquer from getting dry quickly, and this reduces the life of the lacquer coat as it does not stay on shellac properly and gets ruined within a small passage of time.

Non-Catalyzed Lacquer does not include any catalyst, which gives lesser results and is not even recommended if you want good and long-lasting results.

Precautions While Applying Shellac 

Shellac is a conventional means of polishing wood. That requires more care when applied. To save the seal coat feature of the shellac, lacquer or varnish must be applied over it for a durable look which also keeps the wood safe from scratches.

Lacquer Over Shellac

However, Shellac must be dried before applying paint, and it should be dewaxed shellac, is used so that lacquer stays over its sticky texture easily and long lastingly.

Precautions While Applying Lacquer 

 Lacquer can be applied to the final coat over shellac, after which nothing should be required to keep the wood away from scratches. For this purpose, catalyst lacquer should be dewaxed shellac for long-lasting and classy results.

Is Polyurethane Preferable Over Shellac?

Polyurethane is an expensive approach and gives a more classical look to your desired area with proper finishing.

However, shellac is a sustainable product that is good for the environment as it does not create any strong smell or other effects. Moreover, shellac gives a very soft, shed, natural and realistic look to the furniture, glass, wood, and any other area.

 Is Varnish Preferable Over Lacquer?

The answer to the question is quite easy. As varnish and lacquer contain almost similar features, lacquer gets the ball in its court due to one main part: durability.

Spray Lacquer

Lacquer is mainly favored for being more long-lasting and applied over shellac. Varnish provides the same finish look with a safety seal and glossy effect, but it does not stay as long as lacquer does due to lacquer being used more often than varnish.

Pros Of Lacquer Over Shellac  

  • Gives a finished and glossy look
  • Lacquer saves the shellac-coated area for a longer time
  • Environmental  friendly 
  • Not so expensive

Cons Of Lacquer Over Shellac 

  • Lacquer gives results on Dewaxed shellac only.
  • Catalyst lacquer gives more results than non-catalyst when applied over shellac.


Can you spray lacquer over shellac? A person who feels shellac coats are insufficient for keeping furniture, wood, or any other area safe from dust and scratches comes to mind.

The above article highlights types of shellac required for long-lasting results if the lacquer is applied over it. Alongside, types of lacquer are preferable when used over shellac.

However, with their limitations, polyurethane and varnish are also available as substitutes for shellac and lacquer. Eventually, based on the above information, catalyzed lacquer works best over dewaxed shellac and gives more long-lasting results.

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