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Old 02-08-13, 07:32 PM
Koo Schadler's Avatar
Koo Schadler Koo Schadler is offline
Tempera Painter
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Alstead, NH & Zirahuen, Mexico
Posts: 318

Hi Mona,

Sorry to hear about your health challenges )-: Hope you are all set with surgeries for a while and are back to the easel.

I've tried shellac over gold leaf a couple of times and it worked well (in my limited experience). I believe it is better to use less shellac than more...less yellowing, less brittleness, etc. I've had luck varnishing with a 1 part shellac to 6 parts denatured alcohol. I've also tried ratios of 1:8, even 1:12 - they can work okay as isolating layers, but tend to be insufficient coverage as a varnish. You want enough shellac to get a consistent finish on the surface, so if your ground is especially absorbent, you might need a richer all depends on your surface.

In short, its best to practice before you apply it to a treasured piece of art, to make sure you have the right ratio to achieve your goals (i.e. either to isolate paint layers, in which case you need a lesser percentage of shellac; or to varnish a surface, in which case you might need a higher percentage of shellac). As you know, it sets up quickly and shouldn't be reworked. I know you already know all this, but I want to be clear with anyone reading this for whom shellac varnishing is new - please practice first!

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