What to coat with? Suggestion needed for wood plaque

I don’t usually use any kind of protective coating on my work so I need some suggestions. This is .25 basswood and I’m afraid some of the finer detail may be fragile with handling. I think something with the little shine might actually look okay since it’s supposed to mimic stone. I just don’t know what would work well? I have one to practice with so I’ve got a little wiggle room :slight_smile:

This is part of a retirement plaque I’m doing for a friend. The quote on the sign is from Old Mouse, her great-great-grandfather, so it’s really meaningful for her.


Minwax has a nice clear spray finish I have used


No tips or suggestions…just wanted to say how much I like that these DO look like stone. Good job!


When I saw your first pictures I thought it was toast. Looked like some real good home made bread. :grin:


haha! It DOES!


I like to use matte acrylic lacquer for stuff like that (very nice, by the way!), but it doesn’t shine except maybe a tiny bit. I usually don’t want it to. But it seals pretty well.


Spray lacquer is the way to go. Just make sure it isnt water based (it shouldn’t be, but companies like to use labels where they shouldnt sometimes) if it has water it will raise the grain


Do not use anything with the words water based or clean up/dilute with water. Those. Will raise the grain and possibly break off some the fragile pieces.

You can use spray shellac, spray laquer or spray poly. What amount of shine is available to you just depends on the store an their stock.

Shellac and laquer dry pretty fast and could do multiple coats in a couple hours depending on weather. Poly takes longer to dry and will need more time to dry and cure but usually gives the strongest protection.

Shellac and poly also tend to give a bit of a yellow tint and change the tone of your light color woods such yours.

For the fastest dry time with minimal color change I would use laquer at the satin shine level wher it’s not too flat or glossy.

Also you’re better off doing multiple very light coats think something like 5 to 10. Since laquer burns into the previous coat you should not get streaks or spots that show as not getting finish like on poly.


Thanks @BSheremeto and @rserrano7, this is exactly the info I was looking for! I never know the difference between polyurethane, shellac etc so this was really helpful. Satin lacquer will be my choice for sure.

You were so right @davidgal2, it did look just like toast. The more I looked at it, the hungrier I got. :bread: :fried_egg: :rofl: Damn it, I couldn’t not see toast. so…

Draftboard spray painted matte grey then etched vary power with a 2nd etch with heavily adjusted dots. Then selectively rough sanded. (The sanded paint gave it a really nice, smooth feel like polished stone too so that was a bonus.) The grey is hard to see in the pics, but it really tones down the toast effect lol. I’m so pleased with the amount of detail I was able to get by starting with a simple photo of the sign. This GF continues to amaze me.


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