Friday, December 21, 2012

Getting Started: To Prime or NOT to Prime

This is where the teacher in me comes out.  Speaking from personal experience, it's always easier to remember something important if it can be tied to something you already this is my lame attempt to get you to remember about priming. 

To Prime or NOT to Prime, That is the question!
YOU NEVER PRIME!  That's right, NEVER prime.  You see, priming doesn't work because it's all chemical.  It doesn't have a foundation for wood to respond to naturally which is why priming never works.  Especially the water based primers...these simply draw out the tannins or natural pigment in the wood. What does work is shellac.

Shellac is a sealant & finish for raw wood for protection against water & humidity.

Tip #2 be sure to mix the shellac up properly according to the manufacturers recommendation.  If you don't, it will not seal the raw wood properly and can potentially ruin your painted finish.  It can take up to 2 coats for the best results.

Tip #3 Shellac comes CLEAR and TINTED.  Unless I'm using Pure White, I always use CLEAR.  This allows me to distress darker colors without seeing a halo of white tint.  Not very attractive when wanting to achieve a modern finish with Graphite~

Shellac functions as a tough natural sealant, sanding sealant, tannin-blocker, and high-gloss varnish.
It can be used for the following purposes:
·       Use one or two coats to remove musty smells on untreated wood.
·       Use one or two coats to prevent the tannins within knot holes or open grain from bleeding through.
·       With some pieces of furniture, typically pieces from the 1930s & 1940s, after painting the first coat there is either a yellow or pink stain, which bleeds through the paint. Resist the urge to apply another coat of paint. No matter how many coats you paint, the stain color will continue to bleed through. Use one or two coats of shellac to block these bleeding stains. Annie recommend wiping it on with a cloth pad. It dries in minutes and you can get on with painting almost immediately!
·       Shellac preforms best when applied with a rag or brush.
·       Get in the habit of dating your can; shellac has a shelf life of only 6-9 months.

 Shellac is HIGHLY flammable as it's key ingredient is denatured alcohol.  Be sure to use in a well ventilated area away from flame & spark!  On the upside of this, it dries in minutes!  You know, pros with the cons always! lol~

Next week, we will talk sanding & sand papers.
Until then~ Happy shellac-ing!


  1. Thanks for the informative post, I learned the hard way with a piece from the 30's. Now if there is any question I use shellac :)

  2. Replies
    1. Hello Emma Kate! Awesome question! From my experience, it works best on any waxed piece if you first wipe the piece down with odorless colorless mineral spirits. The mineral spirits will break down the wax and you can easily wipe the wax off with a paper towel. Once wiped down, allow the m.s. to completely evaporate about 24 hours, then you are ready to shellac :)
      Hope this helps!

    2. Hi Christie, I will have to try this! I think 'mineral spirit' must be 'white spirit' here in the UK.
      Thank you! Emma Kate

    3. Yes, white spirit in the UK is the same as mineral spirit here in the US :)
      Happy New Year!

  3. I want to make sure I'm understanding your technique and process. Do you use the shellac FIRST then paint over it? or are you talking about sealing over the painted surface with it?

  4. I also have the same question above....before painting or after painting to seal it?

  5. Excellent post. I'm dealing with a few of these issues as well..

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