Difference Between Shellac & Varnish


Three important ideas from the text are:

1. Varnish is a transparent coating made of resins obtained from trees, while shellac is a resin produced by certain insects native to Southeast Asia.
2. Varnish has been in use since ancient times, while shellac is a relatively newer finish.
3. Varnish provides more protection to wood surfaces as it cures and dries, while shellac can be used for antique items and has various other applications such as making outer coverings of capsules and pills.


Shellac and varnish are finishes used for wood to provide a protective covering. While they may look similar, there are differences in the materials used and their properties. This article will discuss the differences between shellac and varnish.


Varnish is a transparent coating made of resins obtained from trees, mixed with spirits or other oils. It is quick-drying and applied over wood and other surfaces to create a hard and clear film. Varnish can leave a glossy or matte finish and has been used for a long time to enhance the beauty and durability of wooden furniture.


Shellac is a resin produced by insects native to Southeast Asia, particularly India. The insects secrete a resin called lac, which is then mixed with alcohol to create shellac. Shellac provides both protection and fills in imperfections on wood and other surfaces.

Shellac vs Varnish

– Varnish is of plant origin, while shellac is of animal origin.

– Varnish has been used for longer than shellac, dating back to ancient Egypt.

– Shellac is obtained from resin produced by certain insects in Southeast Asia.

– Varnish cures as it dries, providing more protection to the wood than shellac.

– For antique items, shellac is a better option as it can be applied in thinner coats.

– Varnish is made by mixing resin of trees with oil, while shellac is made by mixing insect secretions with alcohol.

– Shellac is nontoxic and used in the production of capsules and pills. It is also used as an insulating material in electric appliances.

– Shellac is a type of varnish but is not suitable for surfaces exposed to moisture.

– Shellac is soluble in alcohol, while varnish is not.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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