July 27, 2011

keep calm and crackle on...{tutorial}

I've been seeing crackling on many projects as I browse through blog land. I love the aged look it gives.. but living out in the North, 2 hours from the nearest city I don't have access to crackle mediums.. I figured there had to be a way to add that magic texture to my projects, with things I had in my stash at home. A few searches on the internet and I found out yes, I can give things a vintage, aged finish with just a few items I have on hand.. Boy was I ever excited.. a little doubtful.. but jumped head first into trying.
I bet you're asking what DO I need? Just 3 simple items : acrylic paint, white glue(such as Elmer's or craft glue...not Tacky glue.. for some reason it doesn't work.) and a sealer.

So how does it work? It's pretty simple.Not to mention fun.
First start off with an item you want to crackle. In my case I started with a Tattered Angels frame.
Choose two colours of paint.. one darker than the other.. more on that in a minute.

Start by painting the colour you want the cracks to be.. in my case I used an acrylic paint in a 'Country Maple" -a nice dark brown.. Allow to dry completely.

Once dry apply a nice layer of white glue. The deeper you want your cracks to be the thicker you should apply the glue..for thinner more delicate cracks apply it thinner. Apply the glue in the direction you want the cracks to appear...(I'm still playing around with this effect..not quite sure if it's true or not. More playing to be done :) )

This is the brand I have on hand.. ( you might have different results with other brands of white/school glue. Let me know, I'd love to hear from you..and see your results.)
Allow glue to dry to a 'tacky' stage.. not quite dry..about 3 or 4 minutes depending on drying times...different brands will vary.. In the mean time pick your contrasting top colour.

Once glue is at the tacky stage apply your contrasting top coat.
Some things I have learned:
Apply the paint in one stroke, not too thickly.
Don't go back and forth over the paint..It will result in no cracking.
After a couple minutes the cracks start to form. This method produces more of an aged, shabby crackle..unlike crackle medium which is more even and has smaller uniform-ish cracks.
Let the top coat dry completely.Once dry I usually antique it a bit more with some Distress Ink along the edges..sometimes on top of the paler cracks(if I use a lighter colour to begin with). Once it is shabbied up the way you want I suggest sealing it..Modge Podge is perfect.

This is what I use.. it adds a nice dimension to it as well.. use whatever you have on hand, just to help preserve the crackle of your artwork.
It takes some practice to get it just how you want it.. but that's half the fun.. playing around and figuring out what you like or dislike.. it works well on most surfaces.. even fabrics!!
The finished product..a little glaze on top and voila.. a nice aged piece to add to a card..be on the lookout for that post soon:)

Go on; Give it a whirl..
Let me know how it works out for you.. link to your project post in the comments section and I'll drop by and leave some love.. and please pass along any of your tips that you come across while playing around.. I'd love to learn more.
Happy crackling!


  1. Delightful! I can't wait to give this a try. I do so love the crackled look and your tutorial is simple and easy to follow. Thanks much for the tip - you're so clever!

  2. Great tutorial Becks ... I had to buy my stuff on the internet as we don't have any craft stores near either ... have fun my friend ... can't wait to see the finished article

  3. This is such a brilliant idea! Thank you so much for the tutorial!

  4. Really and truly gorgeous! Thanks so much for sharing your tips...I have a collection of glues I can try this with!


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