How to Crackle Paint
A big Hello to my favorite crafters. It’s Rebecca, from The Bookery, back today with an easy and inexpensive Mixed Media technique tutorial – How to Crackle Paint! The best part is that there are no expensive potions necessary. It is great for junk journals, books, and just about every art and craft that we make here on The Graphics Fairy.
All you need to do this technique are a few simple supplies that you probably already have in your stash.
Step 1: Apply a coat of Gesso to the entire surface. I used black so you can easily see the crackling when it happens. Allow this to dry thoroughly 15-20 minutes on my index card. This is important. A damp base will affect they drying time and the crackle. TIP: When it no longer feels cold, it is dry enough. If it feels very cold, it is still drying. Remember: Whatever color you use as a base coat will show through the cracks of the finish. I applied Gesso, because the Index Card is porous. You can apply acrylic paint, but it will soak into your cardstock.
Step 2: Apply a nice, even coat of glue to your surface. I used a soft mop brush. I applied mine in a horizontal manner for testing purposes, but I encourage you to try other strokes. (See Accidental Findings below.)
For the 4X6″ Index Card, I used about 1 tablespoon of glue. NOTE: A thick layer of glue results in bigger cracks. A thinner coat creates smaller cracking. TIP: A very thick coat can take up to 48 hours to dry completely.
I did several tests, which you can see the results below. The top card has the 1 tablespoon of glue. The middle card has about 2-1/2 tablespoons of glue. The bottom card has about 4 tablespoons of glue.
Step 3: Drying Times. Let the glue dry until it is almost transparent and the cloudiness has dissipated. The top image below shows how your glue should look when ready. It will be just a little tacky to touch. NOTE: The times below are for the 1 tablespoon of glue. Times will be longer for greater amounts of glue. Times will also vary depending on the surface and the basecoat. TIP: Take the time to make test samples before you start on any surface!
Step 4: Load your brush with a good amount of the top coat acrylic paint. Apply it in even horizontal strokes over the tacky glue layer. You should have enough paint on your brush to be able to spread the paint over the glue in one stroke. TIP: One pass over each section produces best results. As you can see below, my first pass at the top of the card did not reach the other side of the card. I had to reload and apply more.
Step 5: Tiny crackling at the edges should start to show immediately. The surface will continue to crackle until all layers are dry. TIP: Do Not play with the paint or try to encourage drying with a heat tool. At this point you cannot change the results. You can however, make a mess. NOTE: The times below are for the 1 tablespoon of glue. Times will be longer for greater amounts of glue.
I learned something important when I added this crackle finish to the TGF image below. I applied the glue haphazardly with a credit card, not with a horizontal stroke as I used on the above samples. I also applied the paint layer in different directions, taking care not to overlap. The cracking was more random and fine. It looks like eggshell cracking! And I love this! So play with directioning of glue and paint! FYI: The image below was transferred to cardstock and coated with a thin layer of Clear Gesso before applying the above steps for How to Create a Crackle Finish.
Below is an example where I watered down the glue. I was able to produce some cracks, but not as much as with full strength glue. I thought it would cause more fine cracking. Not so much!
I hope that you had a blast exploring How to Crackle Paint with me!! When I am not playing with new and old Techniques for Mixed Media in my Graphics Fairy sandbox, I also create Photoshop Elements tutorials and craft project videos over on The Graphics Fairy Premium Membership site. You can find even more of my books, art, and whimsical shenanigans on The Bookery