3.1 What is the difference between lacquer and shellac? When should I be using these products?

  Annie Sloan Lacquer is NOT lacquer.  Unfortunately, it does not bear the best name and can be confusing.  “Lacquer” is a very hard solvent based topcoat high in VOCs.  Annie Sloan Lacquer is a water-based varnish, soap and water cleanup and differs from other water-based varnishes and polyurethanes in that it is a penetrating sealer made to soak into the paint rather than sit on top.  Annie Sloan Lacquer is made to go hand in hand with Chalk Paint® as a sealer for the paint on floors and surfaces that will be walked on.

  Shellac is a UV resistant stain blocker and odor blocker and sealer.  Use shellac IF you notice bleed through from wood tannins to stop the tannins from coming through on your painted surface.  This tannin bleed through is not common so only use shellac when that occurs.  Shellac will also block musty or smoky odors in your “rescued” pieces of furniture. 

  Shellac is a wonderful sealer for imitation leaf.  Because it is not water-based, it will not tarnish the metallic leaf.  (Shellac is not oil based either, rather it is alcohol based and cleaned with ammonia or denatured alcohol.) 

  Shellac is a renewable resource, non-toxic when dry (It’s even been approved by the FDA as a candy coating!  Fun fact!), an excellent primer and sanding sealer (although Chalk Paint® is even better if that will be your end product), and dries clear and quickly allowing you to get on with your project in short order.  It has a shelf life of 1-3 years so it’s best to test older product before using.  Spray a bit onto glass.  If it hardens quickly, it is still good.  If it remains tacky, it needs to be replaced. 

  On Zinsser® shellac, you can find the date coded as follows:

  The batch code on the shellac should always be a 6- or 7 digit number, beginning with a letter. For example: S01231D

  The first number after the letter will be the last digit in the year of manufacture
The second character will correspond to the month; O, N or D for October, November or December, otherwise the single number for the month.
The third and fourth numbers will relate to the actual day of the month.

  In this case a batch code reading S01231D will have been made in the year 2010, in the month of January, on the 23rd day.

  The Bullseye Shellac will have a shelf life of three years. 

3.2 If I need to use shellac, how long does it need to dry before I paint over it?

   Shellac dries in 15 minutes and can be recoated in 30-45 minutes.

3.3 Can I use poly or something similar instead of wax? What about on outdoor furniture?

   We don’t ever recommend using poly because it is not a penetrating sealer—it will sit on top of the paint and eventually peel off.  It can also change the color of your paint and possibly yellow over time depending on the type you use.  For most pieces, Clear Soft Wax is our preferred method of finishing your project.  For floors we recommend Annie Sloan Lacquer. 

   Although the paint is interior-exterior, neither the wax nor Annie Sloan Lacquer is intended for outdoor use.  You can leave your pieces unsealed and they will wear naturally with time.  If a sealer is desired, only marine spar varnish is made to withstand the elements.

3.4 How do you apply Annie Sloan Lacquer?

   Start on the far end of the room and work your way out.  No shoes on the floor—its best to work in stocking feet or wear booties over your shoes to be sure no marks get sealed into the finish.  Use a high quality sponge roller designed for use with clear coats and a sponge brush for edging.  Stir well before using—never shake it.  Up to 10% water can be added to the first coat to ensure a thin layer is applied that will dry quickly.  Let the first coat dry 1-2 hours.  Apply the second coat in the same manner, full strength and allow to dry overnight before walking on it with shoes.  You can place furniture on it the next day but do not slide the furniture across the floor!  Your surface needs a couple weeks to cure hard. 

3.5 Can I apply Craqueleur over wax?

   No, wax is always the final step.  Water-based products (like Craqueleur, poly, latex paint) will not adhere to wax.

3.6 How do you apply Craqueleur? Mine isn’t cracking.

   Most likely it is cracking but you just can’t see it until you’ve completed all the steps.

   Craqueleur is a two-step process.  Be sure to do both steps in the correct order and allow step 1 to dry completely before applying step 2.  Apply step 1 in a thin even coat across the entire surface.  Apply step 2 in a thin even coat across the entire surface.  To get the best results, use a hair dryer to heat the surface so that it dries more quickly.  The heat also aids in the cracking.  Sitting your piece in a sunny window can also work in the summertime although probably not in the winter.  If you’ve done all of that there will be cracks.  If you apply really really thin, the cracks will just be very small.  Many times because the Craqueleur is a clear coat varnish, the cracks appear very subtle.  Apply a coat of dark wax with a cloth allowing the wax to settle into the cracks while gently wiping off of the surface to fully expose the texture. 

3.7 My Craqueleur has yellowed. I thought it was supposed to be clear.

   It is clear.  If, however, you apply step 2 too thickly, it will have a yellow cast.