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Natural Varnish

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Our 100% natural, eco-friendly Natural Varnish is made with a proprietary blend of plant-based, archival ingredients using time-tested recipes from the Renaissance.

This varnish enhances depth of color and richness with a fast-drying, water-clear, glossy finish. It provides superior, durable final protection against dirt and grease. Hand-crafted in small batches, this varnish is non-yellowing and free from VOCs, heavy metal driers, additives, petroleum based ingredients, harsh fumes, and toxic additives. It won’t bloom or crack like some other conventional varnishes. It’s also perfect for “re-touching” or giving a unified sheen to your project! This varnish seals most surfaces including paintings, wood, stone, metal, plastics, crafts and more.

For Natural Varnish FAQs, please visit our Natural Varnish Blog Post.

Technical Data

Apply with a soft brush, spray (cut with alcohol if needed), or (for woodworking) apply using the French Polish method with a pad onto a completely dry surface. Let dry. Clean brushes and tools with any type of alcohol.

For Matte Finishes:
Our varnish has a natural gloss luster that can be brought to a matte finish with fine abrasives such as 4/0 grade steel wool, 800 grit sandpaper or Pumice stones.

Our varnish is made from food-grade ingredients, including grain alcohol, natural resins, oils, and other all-natural ingredients, which makes it a 100% natural and non-toxic spirit varnish.

Our varnish is well-suited for all paintings, musical instruments, fine furniture, and sculpture, as well as a variety of craft projects. It has a high alcohol content so it penetrates deeply on the first coat and provides a beautiful film finish.

For woodworking this varnish can be described as a spirit varnish with a high oil content. It works extremely well with the French Polish technique and can be brushed on or sprayed. It is flexible, hard to the fingernail, and rubs out when cured.

The 4 oz. bottle of Natural Varnish - On a painting or any sealed or painted wood surface - approximately 80 sq. ft. (7.5 sq. meters). Raw, hard wood - 50 sq. ft. Raw, soft wood or plywood - 12 sq. ft. 8 oz. bottle covers approximately 160 sq.

This product is packaged in 100% post-consumer recycled glass bottles. Glass is infinitely recyclable, meaning it can be recycled repeatedly to create new products without losing quality. The quart container is made from 100% recycled plastic.

Safety & Quality:
Made in the USA. Free of nuts, dairy, and gluten. Cruelty-free. Not intended for consumption.

Staining Wood:
To turn your varnish into a wood stain varnish, watch or read this tutorial ...

Shipping & returns

Return Policies

We offer full refunds on any defective or damaged products. We also offer full refunds (less shipping costs) on elective returns if the product is in re-sellable condition and the return has been made within 3 months of the purchase.

Shipping Policies

Free Standard Shipping on orders above $100 for U.S. customers.

Orders containing in-stock items are typically processed within 2 business days from when we receive the order during operating hours. If a purchase contains out-of-stock or pre-order items, we will ship the order once ALL items are available and it can be fulfilled completely. Once an order is shipped, you will receive a confirmation email with tracking information; please save this email in case of any issues with your order.

After a package leaves our facility, it becomes the responsibility of the contracted carrier to get it to you. Any issues or problems that arise must be resolved with them directly. For USPS orders in particular, we've be instructed that it is best for the recipient to first speak with their local post office regarding any concerns.

Additionally, you can monitor your shipment or file a claim for lost mail with each of the carriers we use: U.S. Postal ServiceUPS, or FedEx.

We work hard to ensure orders are processed and received as quickly as possible, but unfortunately, we're unable to locate lost or delayed packages. We recognize errors happen and ask for your patience in those circumstances, but we will not ship replacement items or issue refunds until a formal determination is made by the carrier. Please use the resources outlined above to seek resolution if needed.


International Shipping

If you’re ordering from EuropeCanadaAustralia or New Zealand, please click the appropriate link to visit the distributor for your region. We normally ship USPS International for international orders, and the order typically takes 2-3 weeks for delivery. Due to global constraints, shipping times may vary, and additional delays can occur due to customs inspections. Since we never know if a package will be held at customs, any import fees or taxes applied to the delivery must be paid by the recipient.


How is it different from normal varnish? 
The main difference between our varnish and all other varnishes on the market is that we don't include any toxic solvents - mineral spirits, turpentine, etc. Our varnish does not off gas any toxic fumes which all others do.

What are the ingredients in the varnish?
The varnish is a vegan-friendly, plant and food based, proprietary blend and we are currently working to patent the recipe, so we can't give the detailed ingredient list at this time. 

Does it contain shellac? 
We do include a natural shellac in this varnish, but it is completely bug cruelty free. There are two types of shellac - one that involves the killing of lac bugs and one that is the collection of resin that the lac bugs leave - no lac bugs are killed in the process. We use this type of shellac and don't use anything that endangers animals or insects.       

Can I thicken the varnish?
Yes, any alcohol soluble resin such as shellac will thicken the varnish. 

Can I thin the varnish? 
You can use a high proof alcohol - 190 proof - to thin the varnish if desired. The varnish is already quite thin, but you can add a little bit of high proof alcohol to make it go further to spray or get more coats. Be careful not to add too much or you will lose the varnish's protective qualities.

Is it waterproof? Water spots / exterior use
It's not designed to be 100% waterproof, but it will hold up for a while on wood outside but will need to be re-applied periodically. The varnish does a nice job of protecting against wear, however, less well against water. Shellac based varnishes are prone to water spots. A treatment of paste wax over the varnish helps prevent this. I recommend Ashland Oregon made Axe wax. It is only pure nonpetroleum non-toxic ingredients. 

Is it UV resistant? 
No, it is not UV resistant.

Is it flammable? 
We use pure grain alcohol so it is flammable - care should be taken around heat sources

How does it dry / what is the finish? 

How long does it take to dry? 
5-10 minutes

How can I achieve a matte finish? 
Once the varnish is completely dry, gently rub the finish with 4000 steel wool, 800 grit sandpaper, or a pumice stone in order to provide a matte finish.

Is it removable? 
Yes, the varnish is removable by gently rubbing with alcohol on a soft cloth. 

Can it be used for the French Polish technique?
Yes, our varnish has been formulated and used for years by violin makers and it makes a wonderful French polish for instruments.

Note: For added strength on French polishing, it is best to use a pumice bag with 000000 pumice and rub that in with your first coat to fill the pores with both the varnish, sawdust, and pumice (that's your pore filler). The pumice retains the same refraction as the shellac (becomes transparent), and this offers a lot of strength to the finish against sweat and everything else. 

You could strengthen it by putting a coating of emulsified carnauba wax after it is cured. It works just fine for the Rosewood family. and you don't need to pretreat it with anything. 

How does it compare to Damar varnish?
It is completely different from our varnish - it is an oil-based varnish and ours is a "spirit varnish" or alcohol-based varnish.

Can it be applied to glass or steel? 
In the limited testing we have done, the varnish does adhere to glass and steel. We recommend using caution to protect the surface from scratches after it is applied (especially the glass) as it may still scrape off. We recommend you test it on a small area before applying to the entire area. 

Do I need to use it on my paintings?
The varnish will add a gloss layer of protection, bringing a luminous depth to colors and even out matte and glossy areas if needed. 

You don't need any varnish on the oil paint because oil paint is in itself very archival, durable and UV resistant. However some people add varnishes to increase the gloss shine, to bring out the radiance of the colors and make it "pop" more, to give it an extra layer of protection or even out the painting if there are some areas that are glossy and some matte.

How long should I wait for my painting to dry before applying? 
You should wait until the painting is completely dry. As for drying time, that varies widely depending on pigments used, the thickness of paints, the number of layers and the surrounding environment. NOTE: There isn’t any water in oil paint to evaporate (unlike acrylics which dry by evaporation) so traditional oil paints dry by oxidation, which occurs when the oil reacts with oxygen in the air and hardens. This is why you shouldn’t varnish an oil painting until it is fully cured, as putting varnish on a partially dry (to the touch) painting won’t allow air through the varnish layer and will stop the painting from drying properly and fully.

Can I use it on paper?
We are finding from our watercolor artist customers that the varnish works great on some types of papers and not others - it depends on the fibers of the paper and the sizing in the paper. We have not done a test of all types of watercolor paper unfortunately so aren't able to tell you which ones work well. You can try first spraying with a fixative first - Spectrafix is an eco-friendly one made of casein (milk). I can't guarantee this though as we've never tested it. You can also try brushing our Natural Acrylic Medium over your watercolors although again, we have not tested it so can't say for sure it will give you the results you're looking for.

What is the coverage of the varnish? 
Amount of coverage for a 4 oz. bottle of varnish:
Paintings (all types) or sealed or stained wood surfaces - 80 sq. feet
Raw hardwood - 50 sq. ft.
Raw soft wood or plywood - 12 sq. ft.

Four ounce bottle of Natural Varnish
A four ounce and an eight ounce bottle of Natural Varnish
Thirty-two ounce container of Natural Varnish
A hand dipping a paint brush in a glass bowl of Natural Varnish alongside the eight ounce bottle, a glass muller and various art equipment
A hand applying varnish with a paint brush to finished paintings next to the four ounce bottle and a glass bowl
The eight ounce bottle of Natural Varnish next to a violin and two wooden bowls
A man applying Natural Varnish to the backside of a violin

Customer Reviews

Based on 6 reviews
Nick (Granby, US)
Easy as pie

I applied this with a cheap 3 inch hardware store brush and minimal preparation on 3 different surfaces: oak living room floor, cherry kitchen floor, and cedar bathroom wall. Outstanding small and fast dry time. Very forgiving and easy to use. The kitchen is showing some wear after 6 months because we cook 3+ meals per day and beat the heck out of it with traffic and water. It would probably last forever in your kitchen if you just nuke up GMO microwave meals on disposable paper plates. But we cook cook cook and wash wash wash, so it will be an honor to refinish again. Living room floor and bathroom wall show no signs of wear. God bless America and everyone in it. This country is awesome.

Corrie Slawson (Cleveland Heights, US)
Great varnish

I am extremely pleased with this varnish. I used it on a set of wood panel paintings and love the results. I am allergic to traditional varnishes and had zero reaction to this.
Will buy again!

mike s.
flintlock stocks

i build flintlocks, i tried some natural varnish over the top of my wood finish i put on a rifle. it works absolutely great! it goes on like water and dries fast and is hard and durable. i have put in on several rifles now and love it! thanks for a great product that is natural,,,,,,,,,,,,

Kate G.
Miracle Craft Product!

I couldn't recommend the Natural Varnish highly enough! As an avid crafter who often works indoors in multi-use spaces, I'm so grateful that a natural, safe product like this exists. It's extremely easy to use, dries fast to a stunning high-gloss finish with just a few coats, and doesn't give me the splitting headache that I often get while using conventional varnishes. I'm never going back! This varnish will definitely be a permanent part of my craft supply kit from now on.

Ron R.
Just WOW !!!

I have had this varnish for over a month and was not able to apply it to anything until today. I purchased it because it is a natural product, made right here in the USA (Oregon no less) and really wanted to give it a try.

I applied this to a number of wood working pieces I have made (small craft items) using a variety of wood including Cherry, Poplar and Birch. It really made the redish color of the Cherry pop and accentuated the grain in the other items. It also highlighted the pyrography I have done on these pieces. Outstanding!

As another reviewer noted, it has a pleasant aroma and does not smell up the house at all. I rather enjoy the residual aroma as this dries and it does dry very quickly!

I can not speak to durability but I can say the initial enhancement to the aesthetics of the items I make is outstanding. I can not wait to display these items at the next craft show I attend.

I like the product so much I am placing another order for a larger quantity right away, this will be my "go to" finish for future products.

Honest label, superior sealant

I am so impressed with this varnish! I recently refinished my very old drafting table. After I sanded it and rubbed some walnut oil in, I put a few layers of this varnish on the table top. It dries very fast, truly enhances the color and it is glossy but not too glossy. It has an odor that I find it fairly pleasant - fruity and licorice-like. It is rare that this happens, but everything that the label stated appears to be true, so far. I don't know how well it will wear and I haven't varnished a painting yet, but I'm not disappointed.

Why Natural Earth Paint

  • SAFE

    Free of heavy metals, solvents, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, additives, petroleum-based dyes and nano-particles.


    100% solar powered facility, 100% recycled and biodegradable packaging, and zero-waste shipping option available.


    Proud to be the most innovative eco-business in art supplies. We have a whole line of products that you can’t find anywhere else.


    The highest quality pigments, organic ingredients, and hand-crafted in small batches. Pure earth pigments make the most luminous paint available anywhere.