Some of the many different colors of shellac

Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It is processed and sold as dry flakes (pictured) and dissolved in alcohol to make liquid shellac, which is used as a brush-on colorant, food glaze and wood finish. Shellac functions as a tough natural primer, sanding sealant, tannin-blocker, odour-blocker, stain, and high-gloss varnish. Shellac was once used in electrical applications as it possesses good insulation qualities and it seals out moisture. Phonograph and 78 rpm gramophone records were made of it until they were replaced by vinyl long-playing records from the 1950s onwards.

From the time it replaced oil and wax finishes in the 19th century, shellac was one of the dominant wood finishes in the western world until it was largely replaced by nitrocellulose lacquer in the 1920s and 1930s.


Shellac comes from shell and lac, a calque of French laque en écailles, "lac in thin pieces", later gomme-laque, "gum lac".[1] Most European languages (except Romance ones and Greek) have borrowed the word for the substance from English or from the German equivalent Schellack.

Other Languages
العربية: شيلاك
বাংলা: লাক্ষা
català: Goma laca
čeština: Šelak
dansk: Shellak
Deutsch: Schellack
eesti: Šellak
español: Goma laca
Esperanto: Ŝelako
فارسی: شلاک
føroyskt: Skellakk
français: Gomme-laque
Gaeilge: Seileaic
հայերեն: Շելլակ
हिन्दी: चपड़ा
hrvatski: Šelak
italiano: Gommalacca
עברית: שלאק
magyar: Sellak
മലയാളം: കോലരക്ക്
Bahasa Melayu: Syelek
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ချိပ်ဆေး
Nederlands: Schellak
日本語: シェラック
norsk: Skjellakk
polski: Szelak
português: Goma-laca
русский: Шеллак
slovenčina: Šelak
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Šelak
suomi: Sellakka
svenska: Schellack
తెలుగు: లక్క
Türkçe: Şellak
українська: Шелак
Tiếng Việt: Sơn cánh kiến
粵語: 士叻
中文: 蟲膠