Shellac- It Has A Shelf Life

If you have read my post about when to use Shellac- you know that it is a life saver and has so many uses like when you are having painting issues with:
(Click HERE to read that post)
Shellac The Purple Painted Lady can code expiration date

Water stains bleeding through
Wood grain showing
Wood tannins bleeding
Painting RAW WOOD and the paint is getting sucked up
Issues with the paint cracking or not adhering in a certain spot?
Painting a piece that you have sanded and now have different finishes visible
Planning on painting Pure White or Old White over a wood piece and concerned with stain or wood grain bleeding?
You used wood filler on a section and the paint is taking to it differently?

Every once in a great while- I will receive an email from someone who is saying that their shellac is not working.

Shellac is produced from natural materials. Which means – shellac is also perishable. Perishable- in the sense it has a shelf life, an expiration date…in other words…it is no longer good after a certain date – so don’t use it. Sort of like spoiled milk…eew!

Cans of shellac are often marked with their date of manufacture. Now here is the interesting thing that most do not realize- Shellac typically expires 6 to 9 months after the date of manufacturer. So when buying shellac, if you go to a store and you find some in the way back of the shelf covered with dust…you may not want to purchase it.

When Shellac passes its shelf life date it begins to undergo a chemical change and it will gradually take longer to dry, and the dried film is softer and more prone to scratches and water damage and poor performance. Meaning- it is not ideal to use.

Zinsser, the brand that I like to use and commonly stocked in big box stores throughout North America, uses a date code.


For example, my can is marked on the lid with the code S42279 D.

The first number after the letter is the last digit in the year it was manufactured.
The second number corresponds to the month.
The third and fourth numbers relate to the actual day of the month.
Shellac LID of can how to read cose The purple painted lady Chalk Paint close up

So, my can of shellac shown above was manufactured on February 27, 2014.

Zinsser’s Bulls Eye Shellac is the only pre-mixed shellac in the world guaranteed to dry quickly to a hard, durable finish for 3 years after the date of manufacture. We love it and use it often when doing kitchen cabinet jobs.

However, since storage conditions can greatly affect the shelf life of shellac always check the manufacturing date to find the freshest Bulls Eye Shellac and apply some of the product to a test surface to check the dry time and film hardness.


To ensure a long life for your shellac, keep the container tightly closed and store in a cool, dry place where the temperature does not exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Extreme heat can ruin shellac in less than a week. Unlike paint…..there is no need to worry about cold weather; since shellac is alcohol-based it is unaffected by freezing temperatures.

If you are interested in staying touch with The Purple Painted Lady- visit our Facebook page HERE – we would LOVE to hear from you and see your before & after photos!


First- if you have a local stockist- go visit them and build a relationship with them.  Go to them with your questions and project issues.  BUT- if you do not have a local stockist- we invite you to try our customer service!

As for buying any of the products we mentioned earlier in this post- I hope that you select The Purple Painted Lady™ to be your one stop resource!  We have four locations in western NY.  Check out our Information tab and come and meet us!  Otherwise- if you are not located near me- the following information may apply to you.  This information is directed to those who do NOT have a local stockist.  Because if you do – go and meet them, shop from them and build a relationship with them.  The guidance, information and knowledge they share with you – will be invaluable.  But, if you are in a location where there is no one selling paint products- and you must buy on-line- consider us.  With that said, visit to find a stockist near you.
We are here to help you, our customers!  We want you to be successful!  And, just so you know, when you place an order with The Purple Painted Lady:
*  We sell Chalk Paint® for $34.95
*  If you order before 3 pm EASTERN TIME any day Monday thru Friday – we will ship out your package that SAME day.
*  We ship orders out every week day to all over the US.
*  We offer the lowest flat rate UPS shipping cost so if you are one town away or 10 states away- the shipping cost is the same.
*  We have awesome follow up customer service, too!
And- it is my paint sales that keep me in business and allow me to be here to help you.  (my shameless but honest plug)    Here is a link to our on-line shop=>
: )  And I will be here to help you as you progress through your future project!  And if I do say so myself- we offer the BEST customer service that you will ever experience!Lastly- if I was helpful to you- ….please consider leaving a positive review on my Facebook business page sharing your positive experience or thoughts about The Purple Painted Lady.  Here is a link to my Facebook page=>    This really helps me!  (wink, wink!)

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