Crackle finishes are great for those not so perfect items like old picture frames or a piece of furniture not worth stripping. I found an old steel headboard that was nasty. Sandblasting was too expensive so I "crackled it with a base coat of deep rose and over coated with white. My daughter used it for many years.
Materials: You will need your standard prep materials,sandpaper, ready mixed spackle, and tack cloth.
Liquid crackling medium which is available in most craft stores or you can use regular elmers white glue. I mix it with about 10% water. Hide glue is another good one and is available at Ace hardware.
Your dark base coat color and a lighter color for the top coat. The fine cracks will be your base coat color.
Paintbrushes, and if you choose to age the finish some you will need a small amount of acrylic wood stain.
1. Patch and cracks or big ding's with your spackle and when dry sand the surface smooth. Wipe clean with a tack cloth.
2. Paint the piece with one or two coats of the darker base color and let dry. Then apply the crackling medium using long, smooth, even strokes. You can use a paintbrush or when I am doing picture frames I use a damp sponge. It is great for getting into the carved areas.
Its important that you do not overbrush the glue,just put it on and leave it, thin coats result in fine cracks and thicker coats produce larger cracks.
3. When it's dry, paint the piece with the lighter top color, here again don't brush the paint out too much,apply,lay it off and leave it.
The paint will crackle in the direction it was brushed.
4. If you want to add a little "age" to the piece wait until the top coat is dry, and paint over it with a thinned down mixture of your acrylic stain,about a 50/50 mix with water is good.
Flood it on the surface and remove the excess with a lint-free rag.
When dry you can then seal the paint with a matte or satin-finish polyurethane if it is going to be subjected to a lot of use. Picture frames for example can be left as is.
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