Working with Shellac for Decorative Applications, Creative Compositions, Artwork, Etc

Things you Need:

  • Neutral / Natural Premixed or Dry Shellac
  • Black / Dark Premixed or Dry Shellac
  • Powdered Pigments in Various Colors
  • Denatured Alcohol
  • Metal Putty-Knife
  • Rubber Gloves
  • White Chalk or White marking Chalk Pen
  • Square Sheet of 1/4″ Glass, used as a Palette
  • Detail Paint Brushes
  • Fine-Grit Wet/Dry Sandpaper, 600, 800, 1000, 1200
  • FFFF-Grade Pumice Ash Powder
  • Oil, Olive Oil, etc; Vegetable Oil is OK
  • Glass Eye-Dropper
  • Small 2-oz. Bowls for holding Powdered Colors
  • 100% Cotton Rags
  • Drop-Cloths
  • Garden Water Pump-Pressure Sprayer
  • Hard, Clean Work Surface
  • Wood, Tile, Rock, or other material to be decorated

Optional Materials:

  • Egg Shells
    • Take a newly hatched egg
    • Rinse Inside and outside of shell very well, until clean
    • Let Dry Completely
    • Use Fine Sandpaper to sand all color off, so its a brilliant white
  • Natural Sponge Wedge with Inner & Outter Sections for Texturing
  • Synthetic Sponge
  • Silver Powder
  • 2-Sided Gold-Leaf or Silver-Leaf sheets
  • Wood Carving Wedge-Cut Hand-Held Wood Carvers in “V”, “U”, and / or Square U “|_|” shapes, etc
  • Any Other


  • Shellac can be Painted on Wood, Ceramic, Tile, Rock, Glass, Mirror, or any Wood-Like Synthetic Surface
  • There is no White color, so White is added later with either Eggshell or Silver Powder
  • Be Sure to Wear Rubber Gloves
  • Use in a Well-Ventilated Area with Fans
  • Paint with your hands
  • Allow 2 – 4 hours to Dry Between Coats


  • Mix Black Shellac with Denatured Alcohol and coat the entire surface to be Painted, Front, Sides, and Back
  • Allow to Dry 2 – 4 hours
  • Draw your Design with your Chalk or White marking Pen
  • Carve any Lines you want to Carve, if any
  • Lay out your Silver and / or Gold leaflets, if used, using Shellac to paste the pieces in place, using a knife to get around any cuts in the wood, brush natural / neutral shellac over leaflets
  • Begin by mixing Color
    • Put Natural Shellac on the Glass plate
    • Drop in Some Denatured Alcohol
    • Add Desired Color Powder
    • Mix with Metal Spatula on the Glass


  • Spread the Paint Mixture on the Painting with your Gloved Hands
  • Use detail brushes for drawing detail
  • Add Texture with Sponge or other material you wish to use
  • Press Egg Shell pieces onto a flat surface, and place onto the composition using Shellac to hold it in place
  • Brush Silver Powder on top of the composition
  • Use your fingers to carefully fade one color over another in a gradient overlay
  • Get a rustic look
    • Paint in Random Narrow Blotches using one or more colors
    • Allow to Dry
    • Paint over the blotches in another foreground color
    • Allow to Dry
    • Use Fine Sandpaper to sand through the top color and reveal the blotches of colors beneath


  • Sand your final composition with finer and finer sandpaper, to 1200 grit
  • Mix FFFF-Grade Pumice Ash Powder with some Vegetable Oil and use clean rubber gloves to work the mixture around the painting in small circles slowly, one small area at a time
  • Store the finished piece on wood blocks under a table covered with Drop-cloths hanging down to the floor
  • Spray Drop-Cloths liberally with water to keep a humid environment
  • Leave Overnight
  • Done

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