Things You'll Need
Clean soft cotton cloth
Choose a high-quality brush for applying shellac. Look for fine natural bristles. The finished product will look much better and the work will be easier with a good-quality brush. Recycle an old cotton t-shirt by cutting it into a square and using it to apply spirit polish.
Brush or apply only in one direction. Brushing or rubbing back and forth can create an unwanted texture.
Shellac and spirit polish are essentially the same products, but mixed and applied differently. Both enhance a natural wood grain and leave a soft luster. Commonly, you apply shellac by painting or brushing the shellac onto the wood. The terms spirit polish, spit polish and french polish usually refer to applying diluted shellac with a cloth by wiping it onto the wood. The methods produce similar finishes, with a spirit polish having a softer luster and hand-finished look.
Mix the shellac or shellac chips with denatured alcohol in a glass container according to the manufacturer's directions. Use the mixing instructions for brushing on the shellac. If you are using shellac chips, mix the shellac at least 12 hours in advance of use to give the chips plenty of time to dissolve completely.
Dip the brush in the shellac, coating about one-half the length of the bristles.
Brush a thin coat of shellac on to the wood, following the direction of the grain. Apply the shellac in long, even strokes, slightly overlapping each stroke.
Wait at least two hours for the shellac to dry.
Repeat Steps 2 to 4 until you obtain the desired finish.
Mix the shellac or shellac chips with denatured alcohol in a glass container according to the manufacturer's directions. Use the mixing instructions for wiping on the shellac or using it as a polish. If you are using shellac chips, mix the shellac at least 12 hours in advance of use to give the chips plenty of time to dissolve completely.
Dip the bottom of a clean, soft cotton cloth square into the shellac, just enough to moisten it. Wipe off any excess using the edge of the container.
Wipe the shellac on to the wood, following the grain of the wood. Use long, even strokes, overlapping each stroke slightly as you coat the entire surface of the wood.
Wait at least two hours for the coat of shellac to dry.
Repeat Steps 2 to 4 until you reach the desired finish.
Carlye Jones is a journalist, writer, photographer, novelist and artisan jeweler with more than 20 years of experience. She enjoys sharing her expertise on home improvements, photography, crafting, business and travel. Her work has appeared both in print and on numerous websites.