Updated April 5, 2011 – See below.
A world-wide shortage of raw shellac resin is really bugging the paint industry and causing price escalations that we have not seen, in the paint coating industry, since World War II.
Shellac is a natural resin secreted from the female lac beetle during their mating season. This secretion is gathered from trees, branches and leaves, which are primarily located in the south-east Asia nations of India and Thailand.
Shellac is used in a number of specialty convenience products which are then used by consumers world-wide. Some of the uses of shellac include products produced for nail polish, paint coatings, food processing, medical equipment use, ink products, and many other applications. Although the shelf-life of the raw shellac flakes are indefinite, the shelf-life of liquified shellac is not as long as other paint coatings made from vinyl, lacquer, or other more synthetic resins. So, “stocking-up” while supplies last may not be the best idea.