Thursday, 17 May 2012

Faux finishes week: Crackle

Fourth post about the faux finishes and today Michelle shows us how to master the crackle effect with a combination of techniques which she used on her gorgeous Scrapbook page. 

I wanted to try a few different products to maybe compile a 'which' report on the different crackles we have in stock at The Craft Barn but was amazed how many different crackle products there were on the website!
Needless to say, common sense prevailed and I stuck to trying just four different products, Dreamweaver Crackle Paste. Croco Crackling Colour, Crackle Accents and PVA with Acrylic paint.
Here's the how to

To make the test fair I cut four pieces of mountboard and painted them with a peachy orange acrylic paint.

I followed the directions on the crackle medium as follows

(Top) On the top piece of mountboard I layered a thickish coat of Dreamweaver crackle paste over the terra paint 
(Next) On the next mountboard, I spread a thick coat of Transparent Croco Crackling Colour over the terra paint
(2nd from bottom) On this mountboard, I spread a coat of Ranger Crackle Accents
(Bottom) On this piece I spread a coat of PVA glue then immediately coated it with darker acrylic paint

All the pieces were then left to dry
As you can see all the different crackle medium had different appearances and characteristics. I was surprised at the difference in texture between each of the medium

When this piece was totally dry I painted it liberally with Broken China Distress stains which I left to soak in then wiped off with a baby wipe, after which I just rubbed a bit of terra paint along the edges of the board.

This is the Glossy Accents piece coloured with a liberal application of VintagePphoto Distress Stains. A lot of the crackle wiped off when I cleaned the stain off with the baby wipe.
The thin piece of mountboard is the home made PVA crackle. This worked really well and has completely different texture from the commercial crackle. 

This is the piece coated with Croco Crackle Colour, which has also been coloured with vintage photo Distress Ink. Quite a bit of crackle lifted off when I cleaned the stain off and left quite a coarse crackle texture.

And here's the way I've used the pieces, to create a scrapbook page with photos of Anthony Gormley's installation on Crosby Beach.

Dreamweaver embossing paste: Crackle
PaperArtsy Fresco Finish paints: Chocolate pudding and Butternut
Distress Stains: Broken china and Vintage photo
Stampers Anonymous - Tim Holtz: Stuff to say
Andy Skinner acrylic stamps: Antiques
7 Dots Studio - Wonderland: Mad tea party and Quadrille

You can also create crackle effects with:


  1. A fabulous LO & thanks for doing that trial. It is interesting to see how different all the products are & the effects they give. The PVA is a new one on me (& I don't even have to buy anything else for it!). I believe you can also vary the crackle effect by altering the thickness of the product.

  2. Thank you for the comparison between the various products, I found that really useful. They all produce great effects, just different!

  3. Thanks for sharing your comparisons have only tried pva and ranger crackle like the larger crackle made by croco must add to my "need" list:)


  4. Thank you so much for doing this for us! Its very interesting to see the different effects and its great to see that I have a choice as Rangers always give me such a sore hand if I need to cover a large area, thank you again x

  5. A very helpful post. Words and pictures make such a difference to an explanation. Love the effects on the final piece.

  6. Thank you, such useful info - the finished project is fabulous xx

  7. Such an interesting comparison each giving such a different effect, horse for courses as they say :)
    Thank you for taking the time to play
    Von x♥x

  8. That's a great tutorial on crackle effects, Izzy. I have got quite a large pot of crackle glaze that I bought years ago in a decorating shop, and I use that with emulsion paint and/or acrylics, and it works fine. It's a great effect, and I love what you've done with the distress stains, too. Thanks for sharing, and keep up the good work! Off to see what other finishes you've come up with!


  9. Fabulous layout Michelle and a very useful comparison of the various crackle medium.

    Lesley Xx

  10. I so love it when people take the time to try different things out and publish their findings, this was a very helpful test for me thank you. I love your scrapbook page, really draws you in.

  11. Michelle, the best of crackle mediums !!! :-) Wonderful work, I love it


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