Often associated with wood, lacquer can also be used on metal.

Lacquer, though often associated with wood and wooden projects, can be applied in many thin coats to protect objects of some other materials, such as metal. Just as with wooden lacquer projects, it is important to properly prepare the base material, carefully protect yourself and allow plenty of drying time between the coats of lacquer that you put on the metal.

Make sure that your metal is clean and that there is no dust, dirt or rust on it. To clean metal you can use fine-grain sand paper to rub away rust; for deeper cleans you can use chemical solvents. Regardless of how you clean the metal, make sure that it is clean and in exactly the state you want preserved beneath the lacquer coats.

Tape any parts of the metal that you do not want covered in lacquer. Blue painter's tape or masking tape will protect the metal beneath from accidental lacquer spray. Make sure the metal is held firmly in place, either on a steady base or in a workbench vise so that you can spray the entire surface with a single layer all at once. Put on safety glasses.

Spray a single coat of lacquer onto the metal. Provide enough time for the first coat to dry before spraying on the second. Unlike paint, which may have just two or three coats, lacquer often requires 10 or more. However, since the coats are thin they don't take more than half a dozen minutes to dry, at which point you may spray on the next coat of lacquer until you are satisfied that there are enough layers on the metal.

Things Needed

  • ['Sand paper', 'Lacquer', 'Protective tape', 'Safety glasses']


  • Carefully read the instructions on your lacquer. Some lacquer is specially formulated for use on wood, and thus can't be used on metal. Other lacquers are made specifically for metal and shouldn't be used on wood. If it doesn't say that you can't use it on metal though, it's likely safe for metal use.

    You can use compressed air to dry lacquer coats faster, but be careful not to smear the lacquer with too much pressure from the air flow.


  • Make sure the area where you're spraying the lacquer is well ventilated. The fumes can pose a health risk and you shouldn't allow them to build up in your work space.