It actually worked!

Did you know that the expensive “crackle medium” you buy in cans is really just plain old white (elmer’s) glue? Any white glue will work just like the really expensive stuff in cans.

We all love the “shabby chic” look of old crackled paint. When we’re lucky, it happens naturally. But most times we have to help it along.

Crackling is great for covering up flaws. If you’re considering sanding off old layers of paint, crackle instead – it’s much faster & gives the item a lot of character.

How it’s done:

 

Method 1: Color underneath

1) Primer your item if it wasn’t previously painted (I used steel wool to rough up the varnish)

rubbed with steel wool

2) Paint it with the color you want to show in the cracks (use a color with a lot of contrast to your top color if you want your effect to be dramatic.)

2 coats of red

3) Paint the glue on. You can dilute it a little to make it easier to work with. Use a brush, not a roller. Cheap brushes work better – they leave more lines & therefore more detail in the cracks. PUT IT ON THICK! Thin coats don’t crack well

Experiment – the more glue you put on, the bigger the cracks.

I like to use a funky, random pattern so the cracks aren’t all in nice neat brush lines.

And I like to vary the thickness of the glue from one part to the next so the cracks look natural. (What they don’t tell you is that the thinner parts will dry faster so you end up guessing when it’s really time to paint the top coat!)

TIP: Thin coats work best on vertical surfaces. This is true for both the glue and the topcoat. If you paint them on too thick, it will all run down & be a gloppy mess. (TRUE…but still cool).  You can turn your item on it’s back, crackle the front, turn it on the side, crackle the side, etc. I did this on an armoire. It’s time consuming, but works great.

about an hour to dry
thinner coat of glue would have been better
It still turned out cool

4) After the glue is set up, but still tacky,(more than 1 hour, but not more than 2 or 3 – depends on your thickness & weather) paint on the main color. Don’t let the glue dry too much – it won’t crack if it’s too dry. (The glue will streak in the top coat – you’ll see white cracks before you see the paint underneath…don’t panic like I did. It’s supposed to spread with the top coat!)

slightly worried about painting on top of glue

As the top color(and glue) dries, the underneath color will be revealed in the cracks.

It worked!
Definitely worth it!
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