Items that you have decorated by painting may actually become family heirlooms and why not, after the love and care you put into painting it, right? It may actually get a chance to look really old like an heirloom should be or, you can actually make it look old, like an heirloom, right now!
One of the most popular techniques decorative painters use to give an item an aged look is crackling.
I crackled this wooden palette then painted a roses design over it. You can also use a crackling effect on parts of an item only e.g. the sides of a box or the edges of a plate. You can even crackle the whole project without painting any design if that’s what you want.
The basic steps for crackling are :
- Basecoat the surface as you would normally do for a painting project. Let it dry.
- Apply an even coat of crackle medium with a large flat brush and let it dry until “tacky” – see what your medium instructions say. It could be 20 to 60 minutes.
- Apply the contrasting topcoat of paint – as this paint dries, your cracks will develop and show the basecoat colour.
- Leave to dry for 1 – 2 weeks before sanding and varnishing or painting over it.
Depending on how much top coat paint you use and which way or how you apply the paint, you can achieve different looks:
- Apply a thin layer of paint over the crackle medium – and the result is fine cracks.
- Apply a thick layer of paint – you get large, bold cracks.
- If you brush the top coat in one single direction, you will get cracks going horizontally or vertically in that direction.
- If you brush the top coat using a “slip slap” or criss-cross direction, you will get cracks going in various directions.
If you have never crackled before, you might find it a bit daunting at first because you’ll probably have read that with crackling, sometimes you get what you want, and sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. No matter what you do. Its true that there are so many different variables that affect the outcome of crackling from the paint you use, to the crackling medium, even the humidity around you!
The best thing to do is “play” – practise crackling on different surfaces, using difference mediums, in different environments and develop your experience.
You will find useful tips for crackling here in the Artezan website.