I recently decided to embed my niece's picture into a serving tray style tabletop. I printed the picture, had it laminated, bought polyurethane, followed the directions to a "T". It's now one month and a day later and the surface is still tacky (I can leave a fingerprint in it). Otherwise, it looks GREAT!

How do I remove the "tacky to the touch" from the surface?

  • The answer regarding adhesion to the laminated surface is incorrect. Did you let the poly dry in a warmish place? The solvents need to evaporate from it in order to cure. What brand poly did you use? It sounds like it is not curing for some reason, and a month should be waaaay more time than it needs to cure. I would try hitting a spot with a blow dryer for several minutes to see if the tackiness goes away. If not, strip it and start over... possibly with a different poly. You can try applying the poly to some scrap wood to see if it cures.
    – Ethereal
    Nov 11, 2013 at 15:26
  • How thickly did you apply it? did you allow time for it to cure between coats?
    – hookenz
    Dec 5, 2013 at 23:47
  • Was the poly you bought rated for laminate/plastic?
    – DMoore
    Feb 27, 2014 at 6:41

2 Answers 2


Depending on the type of Polyurethane, they could cure first by solvent flash off, then by oxygen or water in the air, or by some other curing agents in the mix. What product did you use?

Sometimes very thick layers of Poly will not cure because the layers below the surface cannot interact with the air or the surface blocks the solvent evaporation of the lower layers. This interaction causes the whole thing to stay "tacky" for a long time.


It's probably because you applied polyurethane to a laminate surface. There is nothing for it to adhere to.

Likely it's not the polyurethane, so you should probably use a Shellac as the properties in the shellac will be less resistant to a non-porous surface. But then again, shellac or polyurethane over a already glossy surface is bad news.

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