Canadian Woodworking

Shellac mixing chart

Author: Carl Duguay
Published: October November 2022

Use our chart to select the right proportions of shellac flakes and denatured alcohol to make your own shellac finish.


What you need

  • shellac flakes (available from
  • denatured alcohol (99% isopropyl alcohol is available from most pharmacies)
  • a glass or plastic bottle


The ratio of shellac flakes to alcohol is called the ‘cut’. Put the required amount of shellac flakes into a bottle, add the required amount of alcohol and cover.

Slightly more or less of each component isn’t critical.

Wait until the contents are dissolved. You can speed things up by shaking the bottle or stirring the contents every few hours.

Only make the amount you think you can use in a 4 to 6 month period – liquid shellac has a limited shelf life.

Shellac mixing chart

shellac chart

Carl Duguay - [email protected]

Carl is a Victoria-based furniture maker and the web editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.


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    1. I always use dewaxed shellac Rick, so I don’t have to filter. After the shellac/alcohol mixture has set overnight it should be clear (everything dissolved). If it’s not you can add a bit more alcohol, agitate the mixture and let it sit a while longer.

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