Crackle Finish With Elmer’s Glue

Welcome to my Maker’s blog, where I feature my own unique creative projects. Unlike photographic wood grain images and similar designs that are either embedded in or imprinted on plastic — like Formica® laminate and Pergo® floors — Corbett’s crackle finish uses no photography; every stroke of the brush produces a unique mosaic. A big factor in getting any of the mediums to crackle is to apply the paint coat while the medium is tacky, but not set or dry. Problem: The newest water-based acrylic urethanes and paints are meant to go over any other finish including an oil base. I then bought a product called Wood-Shield Clear Coat Acrylic Polyurethane Wood Finish, in a satin” gloss level, which I was happy with.

Lay a drop cloth under the piece of furniture and lay the drawers and doors on another one. I had to re-do my letter J as I painted the wood glue onto the base coat before it had dried and by the time I painted the top coat on it was a disaster and didn’t crackle at all. Liquid hide glue can take as little as 24 hours or up to 3 days to dry completely depending on the surrounding temperature and humidity. Depending on the direction and the amount of crackle you apply, you’ll have big or small cracks at the respective direction.

Movement, motion, tendency—these are the words that he uses to describe trending, particularly when it comes to one of Corbett’s specialties, faux crackle finishing. Resene Crackle is best used on a small area – such as a piece of furniture, frame, handrails and similar as it is hard to get an even effect on a wall. In the following 5 examples, several layers of Furniture Paints, Glazes and water based Top Coats are combined in the tradition of old world craftsmen to create unique, distressed looks in any color palette. Crackle paint will show up with a dark on light contrast as well as a light on dark.


In fact, creating many of today’s most popular faux finishes has become nearly as time- and cost-effective as applying two coats of an enamel finish. According to most coating manufactures ,the recommended choices for finishes to apply over the crackle lacquer are vinyl sealer with conversion topcoat, conversion sealer with conversion topcoat, or two part urethane.

I crackled my very first bowling ball using an oil based paint…in fact it was a metallic paint for the basecoat, then a latex(waterbased acrylic) for the topcoat crackle. Simply mask out the various areas you want to have paint and no paint on. Then paint in between the spaces using Resene testpots or for larger areas small cans of Resene paint. The look of distressing and antiquing is enhanced on furniture with moldings and raised panels.

To reduce the time it takes to realize a quality result, Corbett has come up with a unique faux crackle finish that blends current technology with the look of an old-world patina. I haven’t found the perfect brush for the top coat just yet, but I can tell you the size and bristle material of your brush can affect how the cracks look. Just wondering what you think, based on your experience, and if you had a preferred glue that I can look for. Make wood stains of any color by mixing this medium in equal parts with acrylic paint. Spraying with clear coat will add strength to your new crackle finish if it will be in an area where it may get bumped or dinged.

Alternatively, you can use two shades of the same color – one darker, one lighter – to create a more subtle crackle effect. The base coat and crackle lacquer are formulated with different unequal surface tension that allows the crackle lacquer to pull” and shrink over top of the nitro-cellulose base coat, creating the crazed crackle effect. That would give the metal dimension and would be A LOT easier than the crackle route. The crazed pattern won’t age further, or, in other words, the crackle won’t crackle.

After the small crackle medium is applied over a dried coating, it should be allowed to set up, which can take between 1 and 3 hours. Hemp Oil is best when it’s applied to a porous surface (like raw wood, stained wood or Milk Painted raw wood.) It will absorb into the surface, creating a durable finish. Brush the glue on a base coated piece, and when the glue is just dry enough to form a thin skin, brush on the top coat color. Just apply crackle medium where you want the cracks and apply the top coat as normal.