How to Make Shellac

By Eliza Wheeler
Shellac is a traditional finish for hardwood floors.

Liquid shellac, which is often used in woodworking as a stain, sealant or varnish, is actually made from the resin secreted by the lac insect. After processing, it is sold as dry flakes that can be combined with alcohol to make liquid shellac. Because the liquid shellac available in stores has a relatively short shelf life (less than one year), you may want to learn how to make your own.

Place the shellac flakes and alcohol in the jar.

Shake the jar until the flakes are fully dissolved.

Add more alcohol, if necessary, to thin the shellac to the desired consistency before using.

Store the jar in a dark place to preserve the color.

Tip

Shellac flakes can be pounded in a bag until powdery, to help them dissolve faster.

Warning

Pure shellac flakes are expensive, but cheaper versions mixed with rosin, manila gum or other fillers will give inferior results.

References

About the Author

Eliza Wheeler has been publishing essays and articles since 2006. Her work has appeared in "Parabola," "Interweave Knits" and "LILIPOH" magazines, as well as the online journals Enchanted Conversation and Green Man Review. Wheeler earned her B.A. in English from Carleton College and her Master of Education from Smith College.