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How to Shellac a Table Over Paper

Angela Neal

If you want to decorate a table top with decorative paper, you need the right materials to ensure a lasting finish. Clear spray shellac is an easy way to protect your table-top collages or "decoupage." Shellac is waterproof and won't cause the paper's inks or dyes to run or smudge. You can decorate your table with paper and apply the shellac by following a few simple steps.

Apply decorative paper to table

Decorate a table with paper and protect it with shellac
  1. Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge or PVA glue to the back of the decorative paper, then apply paper to the table, smoothing out any bubbles with your hands or a brayer. Arrange the paper the way you want it, with the paper edges no less than 1/16-inch from the table edges. Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge or glue to the top of the paper.

  2. After the glue is dry to the touch, place heavy books on the table top to ensure the paper lays completely flat, without air bubbles or upturned edges. Leave the books in place for 24 hours.

  3. Spray a thin layer of clear shellac over the table's surface. Wait about 30 minutes for the first coat to dry and spray on two more coats, waiting for each to completely dry. Your table is now decorated and protected by the shellac.