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Home > Craft Topics > Projects > Crackle Glaze

Colour Projects - Crackle Glaze Paint Techniques

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Colour Projects - Crackle Glaze Paint Techniques from www.walkaboutcrafts.comCrackle Paint Effect

What to decorate

Any item which can be painted is suitable, but you must experiment with colours and technique before you start. Use the finish to decorate door or cupboard frames, lamp bases, candle stocks and enamelware jugs. Do not use it to paint containers that are used for food, as water based paint will not stand up to regular washing.

Colour choice

This finish looks more effective when contrasting colours are applied, or when it is used to show off different tones of one colour. Bear in mind that streaks and splatters of the background colour may be lost if they are too subtle.

Materials and Equipment

Emulsion paint - ordinary household emulsion paints can be used.
Gum arabic - most art shops sell water colour gum arabic. You can also buy crystals which need to be dissolved in boiling water and then left to stand overnight to thicken slightly. Crackle paint kits, which include gum arabic, are available from large art and craft shops.

Protective finish

Use Polyurethane varnish in matt or satin to finish. Buff up with beeswax polish.

Crackle Paint Method

You will need:

Emulsion paint in two colours
Paint brushes, about 1.2 cm wide.
Water - colour gum arabic
Washing up liquid

1. Prepare the surface of the item to be painted so that it is  clean, dry and completely free of grease. Apply a coat of the first colour emulsion and leave to dry thoroughly.

2. Add a small drop of washing up liquid to the gum arabic to stop it breaking open when applied; mix thoroughly. Brush the gum arabic over the entire surface and leave to dry.

3. Quickly and evenly paint a second colour emulsion over the surface. Do not go over the same area more than once as this will mix and spoil the previously applied layers. Cracks start to appear very quickly - use a hair dryer to speed up the process and to make bigger cracks in the top layer of paint.

4. For a finer crackled finish, repeat steps 2 and 3. Finally varnish or wax the surface to protect it from wear and tear.

Crackle Varnish Technique

Ideal for picture frames, decoupage finishing and items required to look aged without colour

You will need:

Crackle varnish pack (from art shops) or two types of varnish: one oil based and one water based
Two paint brushes about 1.2 - 2.5cm wide
Artists oils for highlighting he cracks
White spirit
Lint free cotton rags

1. Thin first coat of varnish with white spirit, if necessary, so that you can brush it over the surface in a thin, very even layer. Leave to dry until the surface is just tacky when you touch it - this usually takes 1 -2 hours, but can vary according to the temperature and humidity of the room you are working in.

2. Quickly cover the entire first coat of varnish with a thick layer of the second water based varnish. Leave to dry. The cracking becomes more obvious if you use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process.

3. When the varnish is dry, and if you are satisfied with the finish, continue to step 4. If the cracking is too subtle, the first layer of varnish was too dry when the second coat was applied. In this case, wipe off the second varnish with a damp cloth and repeat steps 1 and 2, leaving less time between applying the coats.

4. Mix the chosen artists oil colour with a little of the first coat of oil based varnish. Using a rag, rub this gently over the entire surface and work it well into each of the cracks.

5. Using a clean, dry cloth, carefully remove the excess oil colour from the surface, leaving some in the cracks.

6. Allow final finish to dry for 3 - 7 days. Protect with two coats of oil based varnish or wax.

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