Crackling Techniques


What normally takes many years of wind and weather can occur almost instantly on any painted surface with a few brush strokes of crackle medium. These waterbase, non-toxic mediums are easy to use on furniture and decorative accessories.

Crackling with One Color (Aged Look)

  • Apply the crackle medium over the basecoated surface. Let it dry 30 , 60 minutes (you may need a bit more drying time depending on the weather.) When the Crackle Medium is dry there should be an overall sheen to the surface. If any areas appear dull, apply another coat of Crackle Medium.
  • Next apply a coat of FolkArt┬« Clear Satin Varnish. This is the coat that will be crackling. You will need to load your brush fairly heavy and work in small areas. DO NOT overstroke, as this will make you cracks disappear. Simply apply and move on to the next area. Let dry 24 hours.
  • The varnish will dry clear and you won't be able to see the cracks until you apply FolkArt┬« Antiquing Medium. You will need to antique in the cracks so that the surface will appear aged. Apply the antiquing medium onto the surface with a regular sponge by first dampening the sponge so it will be soft and pliable. Squeeze a small amount (1/8 teaspoon , ┬╝ teaspoon) of antiquing onto one side of the sponge. Squeeze the sponge together to press the paint into the surface of the sponge.
  • Rub this antiquing onto the surface of your project and into the cracks. When the surface looks appealing to you and the cracks have been rubbed with enough paint, wipe or rub any excess paint off the surface with a clean, slightly damp soft rag or another sponge; be careful not to remove too much from the cracks. Do this before the antiquing medium has dried. If you wait too long and the medium is dry, lightly sand the surface with very fine sandpaper. This will remove only the film of paint left on the surface. If you used too much antiquing paint, sand the entire surface and start again.

Crackling with Two Colors:

  • To crackle using two colors, apply one coat of FolkArt Crackle Medium over base painted surface with a foam brush. Allow to dry 2 , 4 hours. When the Crackle Medium is dry there should be an overall sheen to the surface. If any areas appear dull, apply another coat of Crackle Medium.
  • Apply a contrasting paint color over the dried Crackle Medium. Brush the paint onto the surface with a foam or soft bristled brush. Be very careful not to overlap or restroke the area. Crackling will begin instantly and if you go back over it, the cracks will mess up or disappear completely. Work as fast and smoothly as possible.

Different Degrees of Crackling:

  • You can easily create different degrees of crackling, from subtle to bold. For a subtle crackle, apply a thin coat of medium. For a bolder look, apply more Crackle Medium.
  • Crackle Medium will also react differently according to the applicator with which you apply it. For bolder cracks, apply it with a sponge. For finer cracks, use a brush.

Apply Crackle MediumZoom In
  Apply Crackle Medium.
Apply color over crackle medium Zoom In
  Apply color over crackle medium - dark over light base.
Finished crackle - dark base with light topZoom In
  Finished crackle - dark base with light top coat.