How to Lacquer Furniture

Wooden furniture has a fairly high cost, because the material is natural and environmentally friendly. However, having a lot of advantages, wood under the influence of external factors is subjected to deformation, cracking, changing color and desiccation. Therefore, you need to know in time how to coat furniture with varnish to prevent these processes.

The main varieties of materials

Unlike paint, transparent varnish does not hide the natural pattern of wood, while protecting it from moisture, UV rays, mechanical influences and the formation of roughness. But not all materials have the same properties and are suitable for use in the home. Therefore, it is necessary to be clearly oriented in their varieties to get the expected result.

Furniture varnishes, depending on their purpose, are divided into:

  • water-repellent;
  • weather-resistant;
  • heat-resistant;
  • heat-resistant;
  • shock-resistant.

By type, these materials are divided into:

  • semi-glossy;
  • glossy;
  • semimatte;
  • matte;
  • colored.

Depending on the composition, a distinction is made between:

  • acrylic;
  • oil;
  • alkyd;
  • polyurethane;
  • epoxy;
  • craquelure;
  • nitrolacquers.

Varnishes are available in the form of solutions and sprays, which are easy to handle hard-to-reach places.

Main characteristics of materials

Depending on the basis of the material differ and features of work with it.


For enclosed spaces, it is best to choose matte or glossy water-based acrylic varnishes, which do not contain organic solvents. They:

  • are odorless;
  • do not support combustion;
  • Do not cause allergies and are completely harmless to human health;
  • do not change the natural color of wood;
  • have high strength indicators;
  • dries quickly enough.

The only disadvantage of this coating is the sensitivity to moisture. Therefore, it is desirable to apply it in rooms such as bedrooms, living rooms, offices and children’s rooms. To apply acrylic lacquers, a special roller is used. This material is also available in spray cans in the form of a spray.


But water-based polyurethane varnishes combine the listed properties of acrylic analogues with moisture resistance, which makes it much easier to care for varnished furniture. This makes them the most popular protective materials and makes it possible to cover wooden products both inside and outside the premises. Polyurethane materials are ideal for children’s rooms, as kids can get the furniture wet or paint it.


To give furniture different shades, it is better to choose matte oil varnishes. Their production uses vegetable oils and resins, as well as organic solvents. After drying, these materials form a dense transparent film on the wood surface with a wide range of colors.


Alkyd varnish is considered to be a solid, waterproof colorless material. The coating is based on alkyd resins mixed with organic solvents. The disadvantages include the long drying time, which is 72 hours. However, the manufacturers have managed to improve the formula and added a special hardener to the lacquer, reducing this figure to 24 hours. The coating can be applied by roller or sprayer, which turns it into a spray, which also contributes to faster drying.

Antique Finish

Antique furniture, covered with modern materials, does not look very natural. Therefore, it is better to choose a matte krakelure varnish for it, which is able to create an imitation of an aged surface. This effect is achieved due to its ability to dehydrate the paint applied from above. The coloring technology includes two steps. First, krakelure varnish is applied, and after it dries only slightly, it is covered with paint.

When drying, small cracks form between them, giving the objects an antique look.


Nitro-lacquers could be called the ideal material to protect furniture, with excellent adhesive qualities, high coefficient of strength, moisture resistance and flexibility, if it were not for the presence of toxic solvents. And although these substances evaporate during drying and have no harmful effects on the human body, you should not use them to decorate furniture in the children’s room. Working with nitrovarnishes preferably in the open air or in a well-ventilated room, using reliable personal respiratory and eye protection.

To treat furniture in the children’s room should buy varnishes certified for resistance to saliva, as infants often chew on the wooden parts of cribs and playpens.

For children’s public facilities, experts recommend choosing a universal varnish that does not contain dyes and consists of natural materials such as ricin oil, rosin and various types of microspray.


Rules of operation

Deciding to restore the furniture yourself with the help of coating its surface with varnish, you should adhere to certain rules:

  1. Work should be carried out only in rooms with good ventilation.
  2. Do not allow the presence of open flame sources.
  3. Processing must be carried out with gloves, a respirator and goggles (the exception may be water-based varnishes).
  4. Carefully read and follow all instructions.
  5. If there is an old coating, it must be carefully removed, leaving not even small “islands”.
  6. If after cleaning there are cracks, bulges or cavities on the furniture, they must be putty, and then very well sanded.
  7. Before applying lacquer, you should cover the surface with one or two layers of primer.
  8. Lacquer should be applied in thin layers, giving each enough time to dry.

Spray varnishes

On a prepared wooden surface, you can apply varnish in the form of a spray. This will speed up the process of processing, but it is necessary to have certain skills. Therefore, first it is worth practicing on a sheet of plywood or a wooden board, especially if we are talking about krakelure varnish.

The rules for applying the spray include the following points:

  1. Shake the can well.
  2. Holding it 25-30 cm away from the surface to be treated, start applying with broad strokes in a horizontal direction.
  3. The presence of drips indicates that the can is too close.
  4. After spraying, let the coating dry for 48 hours (other times may be indicated on the packaging).
  5. Finish the first coat with fine sandpaper and remove the dust with a cloth.
  6. Apply a second coat and let it dry completely.
  7. If necessary, the process can be repeated a third time.

Do not take a negligent approach to the choice of varnishes for coating furniture, as this can not only lead to a reduction in its life, but also make it completely unusable due to deterioration of the appearance.

Particular attention should be paid to the selection of material for children’s furniture, as it has higher hygienic requirements.