How To Apply A Crackle Finish To Furniture or Frames

If you’ve got a piece of furniture or a home accessory that doesn’t have a perfect surface, you might want to consider adding a crackle finish. Crackle refers to the aged, weathered, cracked look that paint gets with age and it can help hide flaws.

A crackle finish can also make any of your pieces of furniture or items such as picture or mirror frames look antique. It’s a great finish for anything that’s in a country style home or even a summer cabin and will even look great in a modern home.

You should always make sure that any surface that you’re going to paint is clean. You can use a mild soap and water to clean real dirty surfaces and just wipe dusty surfaces with a dry or damp rag.

Let the item dry completely, if you have to use a lot of soap and water to clean it let it dry over night. Remove and nails or tacks that sticking up out of the piece before painting.

To apply a crackle finish you’ll need some ready mixed spackle, tack cloth and sandpaper. The crackling medium can be purchased at almost any craft store or you can even use Elmer’s white glue, which is really inexpensive.

You’ll need to purchase a light paint for the top coat and a darker paint for the base coat. Then, of course you’ll need paint brushes and some acrylic wood stain if you want to age the crackle finish.

Repair any dents or cracks with the spackle and let it dry, then sand it until it’s nice and smooth. Apply the darker color of paint first, you can apply as many coats as is needed, but make sure it’s completely dry between coats.

The darker paint will be what shows inside the cracks of the crackling finish. You can either choose a light and dark shade of the same color or for more contrast, use white and a vibrant color or black.

Once the paint has dried, apply the crackling medium with long, smooth strokes. If you’re using the glue instead of a crackling medium, mix the glue with about 10% water and mix it really well.

Make sure that you don’t brush the glue too much, just paint it on and leave it to dry. Once you’ve gotten the crackling medium on the piece and it’s dried, apply the lighter paint.

The paint will crackle in the same direction that the crackling medium is applied. So, you may want to decide which way you’d like the crackle to go before you apply it.

You can add even more age to the piece that you’ve done by adding the acrylic paint. Make sure that the top coat is completely dry and then apply a mixture of 50% water and 50% acrylic stain.

Generously coat the surface with the acrylic paint and water mixture. Use a lint free cloth to remove the excess paint and let it dry before moving on to the next step.

It’s a really good idea to coat your finished piece with a polyurethane paint. The polyurethane will seal the tiny cracks or spots on the piece and help make it moisture proof. If the item is used near water or moisture, the polyurethane is even more important.