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How to Get A Glass Like Finish on Wood: 5 Easy Steps!

The biggest challenge while working with wood finishes is getting a mirror finish on them. It might seem arduous because woodworking involves different instruments and a dusty atmosphere. We understand if the same issue is bothering you.

How to get a glass like finish on wood like a professional?

With some easy steps, you can get a glass-like finish by yourself. The steps include sanding the curves first. Then you have to fill up the pores with the grain filler. After that just apply lacquer or varnish. Next you need to do wet-sanding. And finally, you need some buffing to wrap it up. 

Sounds interesting? If you have some spare time, we’ve explained all these steps thoroughly here. 

Let’s begin!

Why Is a Glossy Wood Finish Necessary?

Wood, by its very nature, will grow pale and dull with time. It has the capability of losing its allure and shining in it. But paint or a bold tint can improve the appearance of your wood.

A glimmer in the stain or finish will likely add to its charm. Your harwood piece would stand out amongst all!

The extent of gloss on a wood piece would impact its look. It’s simple even if you have old wood furniture that looks out of fashion. Simply sand it and refinish it.

It will restore its previous glory.

Wood with a gleaming, mirror-like surface is dazzling. The wood appears to be alive as a result of these treatments. Follow our directions to the letter to attain that look.

5 Easy Steps to Get a Glassy Finish on Wood

French Polishing‘ is the most well-known method for giving wood a mirror finish. However, the sticky nature of shellac makes the processing time-consuming. Using materials like lacquer or varnish is the most feasible option. The 5 steps mentioned below will help you do it with ease:

Step 1:  Curves Sanding

To make sanding simpler, start with a smooth surface. An electric sander would do the trick. You should hand sand where an electric sander will not reach.

Now, begin with 80-grit sandpaper. Then slowly work your way up. If you have gotten rid of the imperfections, switch to higher grits. You may use different grits for finer cuts as per your progression.

Maintain a course alongside the grain. When sanding by hand, it becomes tough to see if the scratches are parallel to the surface.

However, they become evident after staining. It should be sanded until it’s perfectly flat and even. To remove any dirt nibs, wipe the wood with a dry towel.

You can do it without sanding too. It’s almost the same process as staining cabinet without sanding it. But it is better to avoid that.

Step 2: Opting to A Grain Filler

A grain filler is used to fill up big pores in the wood. It is done to give the wood a high-gloss finish. Grain filler comprises three elements. 

Silica works as a bulking ingredient in all fillers. Mineral spirits or water does the job of a solvent. The type of finish you want dictates which filler you’re going to use.. 

To help you, we have mentioned some quality grain fillers: 

Product 1
Product 2

Using a paintbrush, scrub the filler into the wood pores. As quickly as possible remove any extra material.

You may allow it to set for at least 24 hours before you sand. You can sand with 220 or suitable grain sandpaper. Now remove filler and finally substitute it with a finish.

Step 3: Use a Varnish or Lacquer

First action is to put on the first lacquer coat. You can go for a sprayer too. Now spare some time for it to dry.

It naturally takes around 20 minutes for the coat to sit. Let it dry for a minimum of 30 minutes. If you’re using varnish instead of lacquer, let it dry for 3 hours at least. 

By nature, lacquer dries faster than varnish does.

If lacquer has completely dried off, you can sand the surface to remove any flaws. Sand with 320-grit sandpaper first. Wipe the dust away using a rag.

Evaluate your work in the light to find if there are any imperfections. Sand as much as needed for a smoother finish.

Furthermore, two coats of lacquer should be applied to the surface. Now, put a single coat of varnish on the surface. You have to sand in between multiple layers..

Allow the lacquer or varnish to sit for at least one day. Using finer-grade sandpaper, sand the surface. You can go for the likes of a 400 grit.

Now, put 3 more coats of lacquer and one of varnish. Before you apply the next layer of lacquer, sand the other one. Use the same sandpaper you used previously.

Allow them to recuperate completely before continuing. Lacquer needs about a week to sit decently, whereas varnish takes two.

Step 4: Wet-Sanding

The significance of sanding cannot be ignored. The difference between sanded and unsanded wood is very evident. Just like the difference between sanded and unsanded grout.

For a crystal finish on your wood, wet sanding is essential. An even surface is ensured by eradicating any minor scratches that may have been unattended. Using water, lubricate a piece of silicon carbide sandpaper.

Wet sanding is recommended to be done with 400-grit sandpaper.

Sand the entire surface with a gentle touch. Now use 600-grit sandpaper for the next wet sanding. Using 800-grit sandpaper, sand the surface.

Repeat the wet sanding technique on the surface until the wood is smooth. Make sure it is free of rough places.

Step 5: Polishing/ Buffing

To level the surface, rubbing compounds are utilized. They are also called level compounds. They balance out the different depths of various stretches. Polishing chemicals are well-known for their ability to provide a sparkling sheen. However, they don’t diminish scratches

You have to apply the rubbing compound with a slow automotive buffer. A rubbing substance can also be used by hand. Preselect a rubbing compound before polishing.

Rub the surface in a slow and circular way. A rag or an old t-shirt can be used for this. You simply pour some rubbing compound on that.

Even if you buff the surface using a machine, finish it by hand. Use a cotton rag to do it.

We hope that this 5-step guideline helps you to make the wood glossy like glass finish! 


Question: How do you make a glass finish on plywood?

Answer: Using 320 grit sandpaper, lightly sand the plywood. You can acquire a buttery smooth and dazzling look by doing so. Sand with high grit sandpaper. Clean it with a rag that is not filthy. This will give the plywood a mirror-like look.

Question: Can I make homemade wood look shiny?

Answer: Yes, you can.Sand the plywood lightly with 320 grit sandpaper. Lightly sanding using high grit sandpaper will create a finish that shines. It is also smooth to the touch. Wipe the plywood with a clean rag.

Question: What finish makes the wood look wet?

Answer: Rainguard Wet Look Sealer improves and rejuvenates surface color. It also beautifies with a high gloss, “wet look” finish. 


Hopefully, now you understand how to get a glass like finish on wood. Glass finish on wood makes any old furniture look dazzling! Hence, you have to make sure that it is done right. 

Make sure you maintain proper precautions while following these steps.

Until next time!