Abstract Novel UV curable waterborne polyurethane coatings (UVWPU) modified by melamine was prepared using isophorone diisocyanate (IPDI), polyethylene glycol (PEG), α,α-dimethylol propionic acid (DMPA), hydroxyethyl acrylate (HEA) as main materials. Copolymer structure was verified using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR). Performance of the coatings was evaluated by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), and mechanical tests such as pencil hardness and resistance to water. The results showed that the modified UVWPU film had the good thermal resistance, water resistance and mechanical properties. The optimum melamine dosage was 4.70 wt.%, the glass transition temperature ( T g) of the modified film increased by 20.4 °C and 5% weight-loss temperature (253 °C) increased by 105 °C. No change color, crinkle, desquamate, dehisce and frothy were found after the modified film dried at 130 °C for 2 h.