Using Annie Sloan Lacquer – Important Tips!

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Annie Sloan introduces 750mL containers of Gloss and Matte Lacquer in May 2019 that can be used BOTH inside and outside!

The photo above is not an optical illusion. The containers shown are side by side, but the container on the left, is Annie’s Gloss Lacquer that is packaged in the 750 mL tins. The container on the right, is Annie’s Lacquer that was packaged in the 1000 mL . The 1000 mL container will be phased out through 2019. Besides the obvious packaging difference above, something to point is that in May of 2019, Annie Sloan introduced a new sheen- that being her Gloss Lacquer since in the past, only a matt was available. In May of 2019, Annie’s also introduced her Matte Lacquer in new packaging of the 750 mL container. The very exciting quality of both the 750 mL containers of  Gloss Lacquer and Matte Lacquer, is that can both be used for interior and exterior projects…. where as in the past, the Annie’s Lacquer that was packaged in the 1000 mL container was only for interior use. Annie’s Lacquer packaged in the 750 mL containers also has UV Protection so it will help minimize the fading of bright colors from the hot sun. Something to keep in mind- is that applying Lacquer is not like applying paint! It does not like to be over handled. If you click HERE it will link you to a detailed post that we wrote with detailed instructions and tips on how to best use Annie’s Lacquer.

IF USING LACQUER OVER A DARK COLOR PAINT?  =>    KEEP IN MIND… with any matte finish product, it is recommended that you use a gloss finish first , then apply the matte when going over darker colors. The flattening agents in the product that give it a matte finish will show as a cloudy look over dark colors. You have to cover with a gloss first. Annie Sloan Lacquer in the 750 mL containers comes in both a GLOSS and MATT.

DIFFERENCES IN THE 750mL vs 1000mL Lacquer Container:

  • the coverage per square foot has increased. The 750mL containers will cover approximately 200 sq ft the 1000ml was specified to cover 100 sq ft. (I know what you are thinking, less Lacquer but more coverage…but that is correct)
  • the 750mL can be used on BOTH inside and outside painting projects
  • there is a UV protector
  • it is certified “Toy Safe”
  • Gloss is now available as a sheen

If you are considering using Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan on your floor, no matter if it is concrete, linoleum, slate or wood – you will want to protect it using Annie’s Lacquer.

The Purple Painted Lady Lacquer Annie Sloan - Check us out on-lineIf you own a container of Annie’s Lacquer and are going to use it and are reading this prior, go now and flip it upside down and let it sit like that the whole time you read this!  It will get the flattening agents at the bottom of the container loosened a bit! 

Ok…….here we go!  Using Lacquer however, is NOT like using or applying paint.  There are some special steps and directions you should be aware of BEFORE opening your quart and using!

First and foremost- one thing I want to drill home is that if you OVER brush your Lacquer when applying – it will look bad!  Often you will get a white haze – professionals call this “flashing.”  Moisture and humidity can cause hazing, blushing and Whiting.  So, use the product at room temperature and if you are going through a serious wet season with lots of rain…consider waiting till the humidity levels are more reasonable.

If you purchased Lacquer from The Purple Painted Lady®….we included instructions…READ THEM CAREFULLY!

We suggest adding about 10% water to your first coat only.  If you do NOT add water to the first coat – like we direct- it can look bad!

So, please read all of our instructions! (did I stress that enough?!)

Annie Sloan Lacquer is a clear matte water based varnish.  It is a strong penetrating Lacquer meant to be used over wood, linoleum or concrete floors painted with Chalk Paint® for interior use. (in other words- Note- this is not recommended for outdoor use.)  It is the penetrating characteristic which makes it so hard.

Also- since it is strong penetrating Lacquer…. if painting over an old wood floor, you may want to consider doing a test spot painting and sealing the floor in an inconspicuous area to confirm that the “strong penetrating Lacquer” does not pull up wood tannins or yellow hues up through your paint – especially is using a “white” Chalk Paint®.   If it does- then you may want to consider sealing your floor first with Zinsser bullseye Shellac.

Whether your paint is applied as a wash or applied solidly with a foam roller, this robust lacquer will seal it perfectly when directions are followed.


Always be patient when mixing your Lacquer!  Flip your container upside down and let it sit like that for a few hours, if possible.  Take your time once you have opened it and get a sturdy paint stick and scrape all the way to the bottom to mix in the flattening agents. Flattening agents can appear a bit sludge-like.  KEEP MIXING ….you will eventually incorporate it all!    YOU CANNOT RUSH THIS PROCESS!

Always apply lacquer in thin coats.  If applied to heavy and thick, clouding will result.  Often customers will state after the first coat they see some slight lines in the lacquer if using a roller, but after the second coat is applied- it looks wonderful. (just sharing this so you do not panic) No need to sand in between either! Again, the lacquer will slightly darken the paint beneath it.

The varnish is quick drying, non-toxic, low odor, and non-yellowing. The lacquer will give you a very durable scuff resistant finish. Note though, it is not recommended in areas where there will be a lot of water. So, if using in a bathroom, plan on toweling up wet floors so there is no standing water for long lengths of time.

Annie’s lacquer is ring resistant- meaning it can tolerate hot cups. It is also resistant to alcohol spills, which if using wax as a top coat- is not.  However,… ‘resistant’ doesn’t always mean ‘proof’ …as in alcohol proof or like water proof…….. even resistant gives way from time to time … just ask my Spanx. 


The liter will cover approximately 107 square feet (depending on how porous the surface and how thickly the lacquer is applied.) Two coats are recommended for areas of high traffic (never substitute one thick coat if in a hurry- it will not dry uniformly and you will just have issues- this rule applies to paint and for that matter – ANY product on the market!) I applied it on the top of a heavily used dresser and it was dry to the touch within minutes!


Before use, turn the container upside down for at least 1 to 2 hours since all the “good materials”  that may have sunk to the bottom can get well incorporated again to the top and  well dispersed.


Also, this product should be stirred BEFORE AND  as well as during using it.  

DO NOT SHAKE the container of Lacquer since this will cause bubbles to form in the varnish which you do not want to happen!
It is best to gently mix the lacquer by rolling the containers around in your hands or pouring the contents into a bucket to stir.  If Lacquer is not thoroughly stirred, the finish will be shinier due to the fact that the flattening agents weren’t completely mixed in. Note that the thick stuff at the bottom of the quart is the flattening agent, and that needs to be totally incorporated …So, be patient and mix it well….which if yours has settled, could take a good ten minutes.Lacquer Clumpy Jan 2015


It is advised to add about 10% additional water to your FIRST coat only.  Second coat should be FULL strength- NOT watered down.

We recommend full strength for the second coat because most people do not batch their product, so if one container is mixed with 10% water and another is mixed with, let’s say, 15% water there will be a difference in sheen.  The more water that is added to Lacquer the lower the sheen level becomes because the flattening agents are dispersed over a greater volume of product.  A full strength coat helps to guarantee that the amount of flattening agents will be consistent throughout the project, therefore the sheen level should also be the same.

IF BATCHING ALL OF YOUR LACQUER INTO ONE LARGER BUCKET:   However, should a customer decide to batch the product first and then thin with water, that would be okay but they should be aware that it will lower the sheen.



Annie Sloan Lacquer Application Tips By The Purple Painted Lady


Apply the lacquer with a high quality sponge roller using a sponge brush to cut in at the edges.  Or- if brushing it on…Annie’s 2 inch Paint Brush is great!   Again- do NOT over play with the Lacquer.   OR- another option is to  have one person roll the Lacquer on using a roller, and another person go back over it immediately with Annie’s 2 inch Paint Brush .  This will leave the lacquer with a clear and smooth appearance after it has fully dried

The Purple Painted Lady Annie LARGE FLAT PAINT BRUSH

Apply two THIN coats for areas of high traffic such as a hallway, stairs, or sitting room but only one for a bedroom for instance. Again- it is best to apply two thin coats rather than one thicker one. You never get a head taking shortcuts

Something to understand when using Lacquer is that it does not want to be back stroked. Confident strokes in one direction for an even sheen is extremely important because varnishes do not like to be back brushed. This can cause flashing…meaning an uneven finish.   Thin uniform applications are extremely important over dark colored paints!    

DO NOT STOP HALF WAY THROUGH A FLOOR:  Always work off your wet edge when applying Lacquer.  If using Lacquer on a floor- I feel it is important to paint the whole floor at one time and then…when you go to apply the Lacquer – you need to seal the whole floor with Lacquer all at once.  VERSUS, dividing it in half and sliding furniture to one side and doing the floor in sections on different days because you will potentially see that break once all is done.  Sort of like painting a wall red.  If you do not do it all at once….you will see the “seam.”


Annie’s Lacquer is perfect for floorcloths … non-yellowing, flexible, durable, scuff-resistant … a great addition to Annie world!


Ithaca BandB Pink LacquerAll water-based clear coat products will be look milky or translucent while still wet.  I’ve seen blue, pink (see photo to right), and yellow undertones in the wet mix across different product lines. This shouldn’t really matter, though, because if applied properly the milky appearance and any undertones should disappear once dried.  I find that the Lacquer will often have a milky white-blue hue to it before using.


It dries quickly – but allow your floor or furniture piece to cure overnight before using.  And even then- do not drag furniture across a freshly painted or sealed floor.  Recruit some strong help and carry or lift pieces into place.  An average coating needs to dry 1- 2 hours BUT if it has been rainy or damp where you live- this will take longer before another coat can be applied..  Do not try to rush it.  There is chemistry in paint products and it is going to take all the time its needs, no matter how impatient you are!!!       Leave it overnight to “cure” before walking on it.  And initially- only walk on it in socks- NOT stilettos (high pointy heels) or hard soled shoes. Give the Lacquer a couple of days before the kids ride the big wheel across it too and again, DO NOT DRAG furniture. Carry and place it in position!  Lacquer is a very strong and durable product but this finish needs enough time to cure (water-based products typically need 14 – 28 days to cure).  If using in a bathroom environment, always wipe up standing water from shower or bath. I recommend this too if you have a wood floor.

If you are doing a bathroom and have little boys, …or big boys who lack aim skills, make sure to have a carpet in front of your toilet bowl.  (Sorry to write this, but I want you to be happy with the products performance and urine can be acidic.) I recommend this too if you have a wood floor.)


The Lacquer when applied properly, will slightly darken the color beneath it with a matte finish that has a slight sheen to give it strength.


It is impossible for any water-based varnish (Annie’s Lacquer is a varnish) to yellow. However, Annie Sloan Lacquer is a strong, penetrating varnish and it has been known to pull up underlying tannins from the wood, causing a yellow staining effect over light colors. This will only happen over wood cabinets or floors and not on every species of wood (mostly pine, oak, and mahogany).   This can happen when applied over new unsealed pine/ oak floors or old floors with broken down polyurethane top coat.  Lacquer shrinks down into the surface as it dries, pulling any tannins and bleeding stains with it.   Some may shellac the floor prior and seal it to prevent this bleeding, paint with Chalk Paint®, then apply Lacquer.  


If you have a problem with Lacquer turning your paint white after applying, it is because it was applied too thickly – this causes the flattening agents in it to appear as a milky area. Unfortunately, the only fix is to repaint.  So, follow my directions that I provide to you when you purchase Lacquer from The Purple Painted Lady


Please allow me to quote Annie Sloan … ” I hate polyurethane with fierce and fiery passion. It has a plastic-looking finish, it scratches, and it changes the color too much for me … polyurethane does not adhere to the paint; it sits on the surface … like a plastic sheet.”


Is your project on a piece that is pine and oak or mahogany or cherry?  You will want to consider applying Zinsser Bullseye Clear Shellac over it prior to painting and sealing it.  Bleed through can sometimes happen over certain species of wood when sealing with Annie Sloan Lacquer, particularly pine and oak. It’s most noticeable when using lighter colors of Chalk Paint®- like Old White, Purple White or Original White. Lacquer is a strong penetrating varnish that “drills down” through the paint layers, giving the finish a lot of strength, but it can also pull out the tannins as it dries.


(Read previous note and then)  You should apply one or two thin coats of shellac and then repaint and seal. It’s the only way to correct this situation. 

Wash brushes/sponge rollers thoroughly in water.

HOW The Purple Painted Lady Fabulouso Cleaner LacquerTO CLEAN A FLOOR FINISHED WITH LACQUER:

We recommend a product called Fabuloso. You mix it water and you do not let it pool on the Lacquer.

Note that Annie’s lacquer is NEVER applied over waxes!
However, you can apply Annie Sloan’s soft waxes over the lacquer.  Call Trish with ?s 585-750-6056



Painted Linoleum Floor bathroom Annie Laquer The Purple Painted Lady Chalk Paint


Make sure to know if the previous poly is water-based or oil-based? Annie’s lacquer cannot go over oil-based. Better to stick with the original coating for both compatibility and matching sheen level. Also, if it is a new unsealed pine/ oak floors – you will want to seal them with clear Zinsser Bullseye Clear Shellac OR if the floors are old with broken down poly… a thorough sanding may be needed and the two applications of Zinsser Bullseye Clear Shellac.  Please read this post HERE on using Shellac


To determine if the previous finish  is water-based or oil-based…..just rub a small area with a rag and a bit of mineral spirits. If the finish softens and a bit of color comes off, it’s oil-based.  This means- do NOT use Annie’s Lacquer.


A general rule of thumb … if stored properly one to two years … which is typical for most water-based clear coat products.

The Purple Painted Lady LOVES seeing “before & after” photos from her customers!  And in fact- we always send a thank you gift if we use your images and story.  So, please feel free to share your photos and a little write up by emailing them to Trish at!  Remember to include a few details of your project, any tips/tricks that you like to do that help you, or even something you learned through the process that another person could benefit from!


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