tips and tricks needed on crackle painting

oorahgirlMay 30, 2007

Hiya all...I got these great spindles from my Aunt. She snagged them from her mother-in-laws neighbors

I want to crackle paint them but never did it before.

Can you give me tips and tricks on how to do it please. And can you use spray paints with crackling?

Oh..and if your wondering what I'm doing with them...I am going to have my dad help me cut them and drill holes in the top so I can add flags to them. going to put them in my flower garden. I'll post a picture later of how I am going to use them...I put them out there already to see if I liked how it looked before messing with them..LOL

thanks for any info

- Jacque

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Hi Jacque,

You can get "crackle medium" at either Walmart, Joann's or Michael's or other craft store. A two oz bottle does not cost much at all. You first paint your item the (under) color you want and let that dry. Then paint on the crackle medium and let that dry. The bottle says "overnight" but I'm not sure if you have to really wait that long. The birdhouse I did crackle, I did wait overnight. Maybe it has to do with it penetrating the base color, I don't know. Next apply your top color. Careful though, you don't want to brush back and forth over the same area as it will mess up the crackle effect in that area. I do believe, and maybe someone else knows the answer, that crackle medium comes in different sizes "of crackle" - meaning, there is a fine crackle, a medium crackle and a large crackle once you put on the top coat. Try it on a piece of wood you can throw away or not worry about first if you want to get the feel of doing the top coat. I really don't know if it will work on spray paint and maybe someone else can help you with that question also. Personally, I would try it on spray paint. And, what kind of paints are you using? If you're using acrylics, you should really seal your pieces to protect it from the outdoor elements. If you're using enamel paint, that should be just fine outdoors. Even with enamel paints, I will sometimes seal what I painted, just to be on the safe side of having it fade in the Sun.

Your project sounds fantastic, please post pics when you're done so we can see.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 5:42PM
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kudzukween(8 MS)

I use regular school glue as a crackle medium,like Elmer's. I buy whatever brand is cheapest,sometimes I thin it down with water,and brush it on. Thick for large crackles,thin for smaller crackles. Then I paint over it with acrylic paint. I've never tried spray paint before,I might have to just to see:) And the rest,follow Craftylady's advise on the brushstrokes and using a sealer. Remember,whatever color base coat you use,will show through the crackles. I sometimes paint over the glue before it dries,it comes out the same no matter what. You can look at a frame I crackled painted here, I took pics of all the steps. It's on page 5 of my garden junk album. Hope that helps:)

Here is a link that might be useful: my album

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 6:49PM
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From a rather frustrating experience, don't use either metallic paint (spray or brush) or use any paint that is glossy. The crackle medium won't stick properly, even if you use a sealer.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 7:29PM
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shpnquen(z5, IN)

I know you can use spray paint for your base color, but I don't think you can use it for the top color, if you're using acrylic crackle medium. I thought I tested it once & it didn't work, but I might not be remembering correctly. From my own experience, the bigger the cracking effect, the thicker you apply the crackle & with fewer brush strokes. The more brush strokes, the finer the crackle. You really should put a sealer on it, especially if it's going outside. I've crackled quite a few pieces, but nothing real big, but I plan on crackling the wooden base of an enamel top table I got. It's painted in John Deere green & yellow!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 9:02PM
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Thanks for all the great tips everyone. Here is a quick pic of what I am doing. I just planted MOST..not all..of my flowers today. See the spindles on the left side..I set those in there so I knew where to plant around those are what I am going to paint and then drill holes in the tops and add flags to go along with my patriotic front porch. And I was thinking of crackle painting them. I know the colors I wanted to paint them and it was in spray if I can't crackle with spray paint..I'm going to have to skip it and just crackle paint something else..LOL. I'll test it out though. going to get some medium tomorrow and try it with some spray paint I already have as a tester. I'll let you all know how I make out. And of course will post a new pic once I get them done.

- Jacque

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 11:46PM
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Ohhhh, I like how this little area is going to be!!!!!
I think the spindles are fine white since they match the gazebo. I've not had any luck with crackling, tried it twice and obviously did something wrong. Decided sponge painting closest I can do for effect. LOL

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 2:42AM
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sponge that's an idea too...didn't think of that. And I have sponge painted that effect.

Karen...I like the white also (they already are peeling and all) but was thinking of doing one red, one the gold yellow like I did my marine corps chair, and one navy blue (like the chairs are going to be on my porch) and then maybe adding a star to the top and bottom of the spindle. Drill the holes on top and add the flags....or do you think that is to much..LOL....I don't know. I was thinking I liked them white also after I saw them next to the gazebo but thought if I painted them it would bring even more color over to that side since there is sooooo much white..I think they get lost a bit with the white siding.

What does everyone else think?

- Jacque

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 8:12AM
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craftyjanjan(Z-8 La)

Wow!! That sounds awesome. I love your idea for the spindles. I agree that if you paint them they will stand out more. Can't wait to see the finished product.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 8:32AM
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painterchic98(z5 W Illinois)

I crackled my very first bowling ball using an oil based fact it was a metallic paint for the basecoat, then a latex(waterbased acrylic) for the topcoat crackle.
directions on the can of crackling medium says to use waterbased paint for your topcoat.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 8:50AM
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oorahgirl much as they look nice white..I think I'm going to paint them to add more color. Took them up to my parents house yesterday so I could use Dad's saw to straighten out the tops and bottoms of them and then snagged some old rebar from him as well. I'm going to try to work on these this weekend...might have to wait til after Monday though...we have 2 baseball games this weekend that my son is playing in.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 4:36PM
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I've crackled quite a few things and have been told that you need to use flat paint underneath. Not glossy or satin. It has always worked for me, but I never tried it any other way. I've never tried spray paint. Let us know if it works.


    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 4:40PM
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I want to crackle finish (I think) a bedroom set I found on Craigslist. The set is an old Thomasville. Do I need to strip the very old factory finish COMPLETELY off? Or, can I just lightly sand it and go from there. I will be very grateful to anyone who has done something similar and who is willing to share what they know.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 1:42PM
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Spray paint will work for the base coat however it dries too fast to work as a top coat. Tried it as a short cut! Thanks for all the great tips. Angie

    Bookmark   June 7, 2009 at 10:52AM
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