Make Your Own Crackle Finish

Crackle07

Of all the expensive, hard to manage supplies I’ve come across, crackle finish wins as both ridiculously costly, and annoyingly unreliable. When I first heard of crackle finishes being done with consistently good results, and with a cost effective medium, I was dubious. I was wrong. You really can get a great crackle finish on cardstock, chipboard, wood and even fabric using—-wait for it—-Elmer’s Glue All, which costs less than a dollar for a 4 oz. bottle if you hit a back to school sale.

To make your crackle finish, you’ll need:

  • Elmer’s Glue All white glue. This technique may work with other white glues, but I haven’t tried them. I do know it doesn’t work with Tacky Glue.
  • Acrylic paints. I used the cheap stuff, as always, because I wanted to let some of the base coat show through the top coat. You’ll need two colors. For my samples, I used teal and black as base coats, and a mix of white and yellow ochre for the top coat.
  • A wide bristle brush, an old credit card, or scrap of chipboard.
  • A surface. I did my samples on cardstock and wood. I’ve seen this done on muslin, too.

This is a technique you’ll want to test, on a surface similar to what you want to crackle. Results may vary widely, due to surface choice, paint viscosity, and weather conditions.

crackle_hs01Here are your basic materials: Elmer’s Glue All, and cheap acrylic paint.

crackle_hs02Start by base coating your surface with paint. You can do this in one color, or several. Whatever you use with show up as the crack part of your finished piece—that is, your base coat will show up as the cracks between the pieces of your top coat color.

Let the base coat dry completely. This is very important.

crackle_hs03Apply a coat of glue, using the applicator of your choice. A thick layer of glue seems to give bigger cracks, while a thinner one seems to give finer, smaller cracks.

crackle_hs04One of the things I noticed was using a brush horizontally to apply the glue seemed to give more horizontal cracks.

Let the glue dry until it’s just tacky.

crackle_hs05Load up your brush with the top coat color, and apply it in even strokes over the tacky glue layer. Try to do just one pass over each section of glue for best results.

crackle_hs06The surface will begin to crackle very faintly almost immediately. Don’t hover, because at this point, you can’t change the results you’re going to get. Put your piece down, and walk away for ten minutes. The surface will continue to crackle until all layers are dry.

crackle_hs07I noticed that the glue took longer to get tacky on wood than it did on cardstock, but the results were fairly similar.

And the results? Here we go:

Crackle01Cardstock base.
Glue applied vertically, with a brush.
Top coat applied horizontally, with a brush.

Crackle02Cardstock base.
Glue applied horizontally, with a credit card.
Top coat applied horizontally, with a brush.

Crackle03Cardstock base.
Glue applied horizontally, with a credit card.
Top coat applied horizontally, with a brush.

Crackle04Cardstock base.
Glue applied vertically, with a brush.
Top coat applied horizontally, with a brush.

Crackle05Wood base.
Glue applied horizontally, with a credit card.
Top coat applied horizontally.

Crackle06Wood base.
Glue applied horizontally, with a credit card.
Top coat applied horizontally.

Share the creativity...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on TumblrEmail this to someone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *