How to apply black lacquer paint

Updated February 21, 2017

There's nothing like lacquer to impart a glossy, elegant sheen to your furniture. Lacquer can be time-consuming to apply, since the object requires sanding between coats and lacquer cannot be used on top of other types of paint. Before applying lacquer, the object you are painting needs to be stripped to bare wood, then sanded. Homeowners working with black lacquer paint have a choice of spray-on or brush-on lacquer.

Set up a work space outside

Spread newspaper out on the floor either outside or in a garage. Bring the object to be painted out and place it in the centre of the newspaper.

Coat the object with a thin, even coat of black lacquer spray. Choose a lacquer spray that is mixed with sealer and ready to apply as is. Some spray lacquers require mixing with thinners; most homeowners don't have the equipment to work with this type of lacquer.

Wait the recommended flash time, or time for the coat of lacquer to dry. This is listed on the back of the can of lacquer spray paint.

Run 320- or 400-grit sandpaper over the furniture once your lacquer has dried. Wipe the furniture with a tack cloth. Apply a second coat of lacquer.

Apply up to four coats of spray-on lacquer. Wait for the lacquer to dry. Your furniture is finished and does not need a sealer, since the spray lacquer contains sealer.

Brush-on lacquer

Bring the lacquer to a garage or outdoors and place it on a bed of newspaper.

Combine lacquer and lacquer thinner in a large container. For 23 litres (5 gallons) of lacquer you will need 8 to 10 cups of lacquer thinner. Pour some of this mixture into the paint tray.

Brush on one coat of lacquer. Do not apply a thick coat; aim for a thin, even coat.

Wait the recommended flash time for the lacquer to dry. Sand the coat with 320- to 400-grit sandpaper as in the spray-on method.

Apply up to four coats of lacquer paint in this manner. A brush lacquer will naturally be slightly heavier than a spray-on lacquer.


Brush lacquers need no sealer. Spray-on lacquers are already mixed with lacquer thinner. Wear a face mask when working with lacquer to protect yourself from the fumes. Avoid working with lacquer when there is more than 50 per cent humidity, since this speeds up the drying time and negatively impacts the final product.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Face mask
  • Spray-on black lacquer paint
  • Sandpaper, 320-grit or 400-grit
  • Tack cloth
  • Brush black lacquer paint
  • Lacquer thinner
  • Paint tray
  • Paintbrush
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