How to Lacquer a Tweed Guitar Case

old case image by Pefkos from

Tweed guitar cases provide protection for your valuable instrument during transport. They also have a vintage look to them that many musicians find desirable. Many companies now make tweed guitar cases to fit a variety of acoustic and electric guitars.

However, the tweed material covering these cases can wear and fray over time with normal use. To preserve and protect your tweed guitar case, you can lacquer the tweed. Shellac is the material traditionally used for this job. These instructions can apply to not only guitar cases, but amplifiers and other tweed-covered items, as well.

Remove the handle, latches and any rubber feet or other protrusions from the guitar case. You'll need a screwdriver to remove the handle and latches; rubber feet can generally be unscrewed by hand. Any metal corner pieces will also need to be removed with a screwdriver.

Find a clean and well-ventilated work space to apply the shellac to your case. Depending on your case, you may want to work with the case open and the inside facing down so that you can cover the entire case with shellac at once, or you may want to keep the case closed and simply coat the top and bottom parts in separate passes.

Mix up a 50/50 solution of shellac and denatured alcohol. A one-pint can of shellac mixed with an equal amount of the alcohol should do the trick on most guitar cases. You can use clear shellac or a tinted shellac, depending on the look you desire. Be sure to shake the can of shellac well before mixing it with the alcohol, and mix the two substances together well.

Apply an even coat of shellac to the guitar case using a nylon-bristle paintbrush. The size of the brush you choose does not matter, nor does the fineness of the bristles; just be sure to apply a thin and even layer to the entire tweed surface of the guitar case. Let the shellac dry for at least two to three hours before proceeding.

Inspect the now-dry guitar case both visually and with your hands to detect any raised tweed fibres or dried drips of shellac. Gently rub any such abnormalities with a steel wool pad to smooth out the surface of the case.

Apply a second coat of shellac to the guitar case in the same manner as described in Step 4. Allow this layer to dry for another two to three hours, and then repeat the inspection for abnormalities from Step 5. You may want to apply a third coat of shellac, but this may not be necessary.

Reattach the guitar case's handle and latches, as well as any other external parts that you removed in Step 1. Operate the case's hinges and latches to make sure everything is functioning as it should. You may want to oil the hinges if they are stiff. You've now got a lacquered tweed guitar case.