Monday, March 4, 2013



I pondered over this post for a while, because I have discovered and been taught so many wonderful techniques over the years, but I kept coming back to my favorite technique of all time - CRACKLE!  Crackle is so very versatile, textural and just down right amazing that I had to share it with you today!
I have been layering and crackling paint on various surfaces since I first started crafting as a child.  Back then my tools and supplies were limited and the first time I achieved the crackled paint effect it was purely an accident, but I have been in love with the effect ever since! 
When I was 9 or 10 I received a hand-me-down kitchen table and chair set from a family friend for my dollhouse that was already painted red.  Some of the pieces were loose, so I glued those first and wasn't very neat with my technique, so a smeared the extra glue over the surface of the chair seat to dry because I knew I was going to repaint them.  When I painted the blue over the areas that had the dried glue this wonderful feathery crackle finished appeared and I was hooked! 
Using traditional white glue (like Elmer's) is less expensive than using a medium, but you have a very small window of opportunity with the White glue and the result is not as consistent.
Over the years I have tried many products for crackling, but I keep coming back to one for it's ease of use - Americana Paints Weathered Wood Medium by DecoArt.  This particular medium stays workable for quite a long time - I have event left it overnight, then applied a top coat in the morning and the crackle effect was wonderful.

OK, enough talking, let me show you the wonderful examples of this technique.

Above is a simple piece of white foam board that I painted with Americana Paints Burnt Umber.  I let the base coat dry completely then applied the Weathered Wood Medium in a thin coat (top - this will give you smaller cracks) and a very heavy coat (bottom - this will give you larger cracks). 
Let the medium set up for at least 30 minutes, but like I said earlier, I have let it sit overnight before.  The crackle effects works the best when you apply a contrasting top coat and I like the dark base coat with a light top coat effect the best for a Shabby Chic finish.  To apply the top coat you must move quickly and only paint over the surface once - do not go back over your paint strokes or the crackle will not appear. 
In this first example (above) I have painted a thin top coat of Americana Buttermilk over my thin Weathered Wood coat with my strokes all going in the same direction to reveal fine, thin almost feathery cracks.

In the second example (above) I have painted the Americana Buttermilk in very thick and random strokes over the thick Weathered Wood coat to reveal thicker and chunkier cracks.
I played around with some colors and application thicknesses of the paints and Weathered Wood medium, just to give you an idea of how versatile this technique truly is. 
Lighter base coats with darker top coats.


Different color combinations and thicknesses of the Weathered Wood medium.

Then I tried some metallics, which I had not worked with the crackle.  The sample to the left is Dazzing Metallics Glorious Gold base coat and Burnt Umber top coat, which looks very nice, especially up close.  The sample to the right is Burnt Umber base coat with Patio Paint Pot O' Gold top coat.  Not sure what the Patio Paint has added to it for durability in exterior applications, but it did not crackle well at all.
The surfaces that you can apply a crackle technique to are endless.  In my sample projects above I have crackled on Smoothfoam Balls, a Canvas, Wooden Candlesticks and scrapbook Paper, but the applications are endless.  Try crackle on air dry clay, paper mache, plaster, scrapbook paper, cardboard and even ceramic bisque!
I hope you have enjoyed my favorite technique today.  Please use the Designer Crafts Connection icon on my right hand task bar to hop around to all of the other DCC Crafters to see what their favorite techniques are!  I can't wait to check them all out!

We also have a contest for March from FABSCRAPS!  Don't forget to "like" their FB page

To enter to win, hop through the blogs and then leave a comment on whichever blogs have the technique you think will be your new favorite (pick me, pick me!) and then visit Julie McGuffee's Life in the Craft Lane blog to leave a comment there saying which technique(s) you have so many chances to win! Julie will pick a winner from all the comments in the hop at the end of March. Good luck!
Thanks for stopping by! - Beth


Dawnll said...

Love it Beth! I also love to use crackle- I haven't tried on the Smoothfoam yet-Just brilliant
Thanks for sharing

Michelle Frae Cummings said...

wonderful project! i have that same stuff and also prefer it over the glue idea.

eileen hull said...

What great tips Beth. I can never quite get the technique down- think I brush over too many times. This tutorial gives me hope to try again!

Debra said...

Beth thank you so much! Love this technique and you explained it so well!

Terry Ricioli Designs said...

Very nice technique demonstration!

Jackie Plank said...

Wow, love the results you got with your crackle. I prefer Inksentials Crackle essentials but I have never heard of the one you use.

Anonymous said...

Would you believe that I've had several bottles of crackle medium sitting on a shelf staring at me for years but I've never used them! Your great explanation has inspired me to crack them open! Thank you, Beth!!

Anonymous said...

Would you believe that I've had several bottles of crackle medium sitting on a shelf staring at me for years but I've never used them! Your great explanation has inspired me to crack them open! Thank you, Beth!!