Sunday, June 29, 2008

How-To Crackle: The Art of Weathering

Clean your object using mild soap & water (if non porous only). If wood or plaster, then clean lightly with damp tack cloth to pick up dust, etc.

If choosing an item to "refaux" then, sand gently to allow underlying paint to become "slightly rough." This rough texture allows the new coats of paint to stick to the old coats.

Base Coats
We suggest using an all purpose primer to base coat the vase. Allow to dry for 24 hours.

Base coats seal in "new woods." They also create a "light" one tone layer to paint over. It also results in using fewer coats of "paint."

Crackling (the art of weathering) is as easy to do as painting 123. There are a variety of crackling techniques. You can find a variety of items to crackle. We chose a vase.

Crackling on woods with "country colors" can give your object an aged weathered look (like grandma's lost table.) Or crackle a piece of faux art to create an elegant vase like ours here.

You will need the following tools:
  • Paint brushes
  • Light colored paint
  • Dark colored paint
  • Crackle medium
  • Clear polyurethane finish
  • Sand Paper (extra fine)
  • Gold Metallic paints (acrylic paints)

Painting Object

We used an "Apple Green" on our sample vase. We applyed one coat of latex paint on vase. Allowed to dry overnight.

TIP: Paint in 60 to 80 degree weather. When painting in too hot or too cold temperatures, paint drying times and characteristics of drying changes.

Applying Crackle Medium

There were a lot of "tricks" to applying the medium and the varied results on this particular vase.

  1. We experimented with the crackle medium to achieve the fine crackle.
  2. Large crackles were a result of "thickly applied" crackle medium.
  3. Thinned with water "crackle medium" and thin application resulted in smaller cracks.
  4. The vase is approximately 26 inches tall. Due to the height and shape, the crackling started to "SLIDE!" OOOPS! It was too late to do anything with it at this point. SO slide it did! We fixed this later.
  5. Paint crackle in ONE direction only. If you paint across and then up & down, your cracks will go ACROSS & UP & DOWN.
  6. Once you have applied crackle medium and allowed to dry: Paint top coat-Do NOT re-touch painted areas. Paint one THIN LAYER OF TOP COAT paint only in one direction.

We chose the "thinned crackle application method." Applied the crackle medium per the manufacturers instructions. Allowed to dry for 4 hours.

Applying Paint
Apply top coat. Use a THIN layer of paint only. Paint in one direction. Do not "back into painted areas." Use long strokes.

The paint will begin to crackle immediately. DO NOT TOUCH THE AREAS that you have painted on. OR OOOPS will happen!

Allow to dry for 24 to 48 hours. Crackle medium has been reactivated when applying top coat and will take longer to dry.


With a paint sponge, dip sponge into gold paint. DRY BRUSH off excess gold paint. Lightly paint in same direction as crackle highlights of gold.

Allow to dry.

OPTION: If you find large cracks and what to thin the cracks: Dip sponge into light paint. "Highlight large cracks with paint." This will hide the large cracks. DO NOT do this to all the cracks.

Apply Top Coat
Paint one to two coats of varnish onto vase following manufacturers instructions. After first coat, lightly sand varnish. Dust off with tack cloth. Paint second coat.

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