Why doesn't crackle paint work on metal?

by Nan

I have used an old jar of Valspar crackle medium both directly on cleaned metal and over a base coat of paint. It won’t crackle. Any ideas why?can acrylic spray paint be used as a base paint?

  5 answers
  • Mona Blake Mona Blake on Jun 03, 2019

    In order to crackle, you must use a base coat under it. It chemically reacts with ither paint to crackle.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jun 03, 2019

    Hi there, Mona is right, Check out Valspar and ask what you need......

  • Lynn Sorrell Lynn Sorrell on Jun 03, 2019


    • latex paint (two colors: base coat satin, top coat flat)
    • crackle glaze
    • 1/4-inch nap roller
    • paintbrush
    • sanding sponge


    1. Make sure that the piece of furniture you are working on is sanded and ready for paint. Apply your satin-finish base coat in the color of your choice using the roller. I chose a darker color for my base and a lighter shade for the top coat, but you can choose whichever version suits your fancy!

    2. Allow the base coat to dry for at least four hours or overnight before applying the crackle medium.

    3. Apply the crackle medium using the roller. This is where it gets really tricky and where my way might be a bit new. I only apply crackle to the areas where I want some weathering. It may seem weird at first to just apply crackle to certain spots and in random patterns, but it creates a truly authentic look in the end. I solemnly swear it! When applying the crackle medium, try to get it on in one swipe of the roller and as evenly as possible. Do not work the roller back and forth. Crackle medium is super moody!

    4. Allow the crackle medium to dry for one to two hours. Do not get impatient; it will ruin the effect if you start too early! If you give the piece more than four hours of drying time, you will have to reapply.

    5. Once the crackle medium is dry, it is time to apply the top coat. You must use a flat paint for the top coat or the crackle will not work at all. So make sure that your top coat is flat. If you don’t get anything else right, get this! You have ONE shot to go over the crackle medium, so make sure that there is enough paint on your brush to cover the crackle area. You absolutely cannot go back over the medium once you have painted it. If you go back over the medium a second time, it will make your medium lumpy and smear the crackle effect. Super bad news!

    6. Finish applying the top coat to the entire piece and let dry. You will see crackles appear after only a few short minutes. Don’t worry if you’re unhappy with some areas; you can get them once the top coat is dry and you move on to finishing the piece. I speak from experience!

    7. After the top coat is dry, I like to completely sand the piece as I normally would. This is also great for any uneven places or areas that may seem not quite right to you. The sanding unifies the entire piece.

    8. With the sanding complete, apply a coat of dark stain to create the final touch of intentional weathering!

    Crackling is a very tricky process but can be fun for creating aged spots. I hope you enjoy trying your hand at it!

    See you next week!

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Jun 03, 2019

    Mona is right about using a base. I've never done a crackle finish on metal, but I am guessing the paint you applied might be too thin.

  • Deb Deb on Aug 11, 2020

    Lynn Sorrell, Your giving instructions for wood, but what about metal? I have a crackle medium by RANGER called Distress Crackle paint clear rock candy and it says to apply this first it keeps saying its one step, meaning no primer, but i can't imagine why the crackle would work on metal with no paint under it. But it does say to use a primer coat when working on WOOD and that is what you are giving instruction for, thus the confusion... did you try crackle on metal with no undercoat ? (I realize you're saying you need one but what makes this product different?) I did contact the manufacturer waiting for an answer, so just to let you know, but if you have an answer please tell me i contacted

    rangerink.com on their contact area. thanks