Need some shellac help here fassst

So I made this plaque for work and I am trying to get a good finish with spray shellac. problem is it won’t harden … you touch it and there are fingerprints in it or you lay it on a cloth and it picks up the cloth texture . I’ve used super light coats waited days still won’t harden. So I put a lightbulb above it to get it kinda warm see if that would cure it. That was a baaaad idea so now I’m sanding it back off. Any suggestions? I’ve thought about using poly over it but have read that’s a bad idea. I have access to almost any finish you can think of I just need it to be nice and shiny ! What can I use over shellac or how can I get it to harden ??? @PhilJohnson I know you have experience with shellac any ideas

I was using multiple light passes from about 12" away a hour between each. I mean I know it softer but should you be able to put fingerprints in or from just picking it up ? @BobJewell that is exactly what I’m using is it possible to get a bad can ? I’ve never had it not fully harden after 2 days. It has been humid here but I’m running a dehumidifier in the shop and the temp is around 70° constant. Any idea if you can use any other finish over top like epoxy or water based poly ?

This is why i still use fast set clear. If I am going to shellac I get the chips and mix with alcohol and do the time consuming french polishing.

1 Like

You should not put anything over Zinsser shellac. It has wax in it. You need to let it dry and use Zinsser Seal Coat its shellac with no wax then you can use anything to top coat. If you put it on too thick it may take several days to dry. I noticed the Akron, is that Ohio?


I use the Zinsser sealer coat shellac as my barrier coat.
I do make a point of not applying it on excessivly humid days however, Even with a dehumidifier, there may still be too much moisture in the air.
Also, I spray multiple thin coats rather than one or two thicker ones.
The reason being that on a thicker coat the outside skin dries then the underlying material has to release it’s solvent through that before it can cure.
Shellac dries so rapidly that I dont even take the time to clean my spray gun between coats. But then I use a really simple spray gun

And save a bundle on finish over the rattle cans.
Use what is called a “raking” light when spraying . I like to spray in front of a window with my subject on a turntable. I position the piece so that I can see light reflecting off the applied finish and it helps me determine where the spray is going and how thick it is. Once I get a slight orange peel texture I move on or stop applying to that area.

1 Like

Yes Akron is in ne Ohio. At this point I sanded it all back down to 320 grit went and got a new can and I’m running extremely light coats to build it back up. I’m hoping to get it all done by this Wednesday if not I’ll sealcoat it and poly it

I’m in Stow, Oh. The humidity has been really bad lately so dry time will be extended. Try a fan after you spray, shellac dries by evaporation so the more air movement the better.


Hmm small world man half my family lives in stow/ Munroe falls. It has been bad lately!!! I’ve been running a dehumidifier in the shop aka basement and I spray infont of a dust collector/air filtration system that moves a good bit of air . But I’m gonna let each coat dry a few hours instead of minutes. I gotta have it done by Wednesday-Thurs I was thinking 5-6 light coats a side there is a inscription on the back so it needs coated too .

You forgot a C on there lol CCCC. I’m with Pepsi… one hell of a job!

Also how large is that plaque?

Thanks man it’s 8" around. so you know the pain of the beverage industry Im sorry lmao

Shellac in a can really needs the be shaken good usually for about 5 minutes. If you do not shake it enough the shellac will not dry properly and it will be sticky and you will have to remove the finish and start over. Better to use lacquer

Still wouldn’t dry a few days later…luckily the guy this is for is out of town for a extra week score!!! So I sanded this down to raw wood restained it and got a new can of spray shellac. @TracyRanson I literally shook the the absolute Shit out of the new can!!! like 10min switching arms back and forth. I layed down the first coat. Literally dry in under 10min?? Same with second and third light coats I’m gonna give it a day and hit it with the spray paint. This stuff is great when it works lol

I think I either got a bad can or didn’t shake it enough. I noticed none of the spray shellac has mixing balls I thought that was kinda odd .

I would go to Sherwin Williams and buy some hardener. They can tell you how to mix it. I usually use hardener in poly but it will work in shellac.