Asked on Feb 10, 2015

First time crackle painting... what did I do wrong?

I wanted that distressed crackle paint look so we looked up how to do it and found the elmers glue trick. We painted the glue over the base coat and made sure it didn't dry, then we did our top coat and waited for it to dry... small cracks appeared in few places. All the tutorials said if we put a thick layer of glue it would work but... I didn't see the results I wanted... Hit me with all your tricks! (I also need to know how to finish it off so that the paint doesn't continue to peel)
We're trying to get this look
  15 answers
  • Leslie Crawford Leslie Crawford on Feb 10, 2015
    I have only done the crackle technique one time in changing the look of a frame. It was gold and I wanted it black. I used the Elmer's over the gold paint and let it DRY. Then I painted over with the black and it dried beautifully with the cracked effect. Try letting your Elmer's dry, then paint.
    • See 1 previous
    • Sonya Sonya on Jan 27, 2021

      What I meant was when you’re applying the Elmers glue to your base color do you let the Elmers glue dry before you put your new color on

  • Annette Annette on Feb 10, 2015
    I love this look!! I'd seal it and call it great.
  • Marsha Marsha on Feb 10, 2015
    I used a blow dryer to help with drying and crackling. just use a sealer and call it done.
  • 117135 117135 on Feb 10, 2015
    Use a chip brush to apply the glue and you want the pattern to be random, not straight lines. If this is your outcome above, I think it looks great! I would spray seal it with a few good coats!
  • Country Design Home Country Design Home on Feb 11, 2015
    Could you post a photo of the piece you did so we can see what the issue might be?
    • Marilyn Marilyn on Feb 11, 2015
      If I understand you correctly, the photo is what you want to achieve rather than what you did achieve. If you post a photo of your project and the paint products used, someone will probably have some ideas of what's needed to get the look you want.
  • Pam Pam on Feb 13, 2015
    You have to let the Elmer's or crackle finish solution dry before painting over it. You stated you made sure it didn't dry before you painted over the glue. That's what your problem was.
    • Country Design Home Country Design Home on Feb 14, 2015
      @Pam Actually, most of the crackle products being sold at local crafts stores do require it to be completely dry before painting. But with Elmer's, their instructions specifically say not to allow it to dry, but just let it get tacky. I made the mistake of allowing it to completely dry and nothing happened when I applied the paint. Since it did crackle in some places, why not just sand down the other spots and try to blend it all together?
  • 861650 861650 on Feb 14, 2015
    Seal it. The piece looks good just as it is. Some folks like small cracks and others like the larger ones. The question now is, do YOU like it? It's the only answer that counts.
  • Ilona Elliott Ilona Elliott on Feb 15, 2015
    Neverpeel is supposed to be a good sealer--go matte instead of glossy.
  • Kathy Kathy on Feb 17, 2015
    From the looks of your piece you put the medium on very heavy in places and it was not completely dry all the way through. That will cause it to separate and pull apart.. but it is still beautiful....if you antique it just a little so that the areas where it separated look more muted, I think you will have a look that is very intentional rather than an oops .. Hope this helps!
  • GabbyinPa. GabbyinPa. on Feb 19, 2015
    It looks great to me. One little fyi for future referance....the heavier the coat of crackle medium the larger the cracks, the thinner the coat, the smaller the cracks. Everybody has their own preferance. Have fun and experiment on a scrap piece of wood.
  • Terry Terry on Feb 21, 2015
    Not sure what the problem is. It's definitely crackled. Did you want a different color showing through the cracks? If so, that should have been the background. Definitely let the glue dry before adding the paint over the glue.
  • Repurpose Diva Repurpose Diva on Jun 07, 2015
    I think the piece looks great just the way it is. Please post more pics of the finished piece
  • Michele pearson Michele pearson on May 31, 2016
    So, they gave a sample pic of effect they wanted to get and everyone agrees it looks good, except one. So anyone know how to get that look??
  • Sharon Shields Sharon Shields on Sep 06, 2019

    I used 99cent store white glue for my jewelry box revamp. I am getting back to crafting and art after 26 years of stagnation...and I was astounded by the smooth beauty of it! I am now doing a shelf that runs the whole length of my bedroom (built into the wall... don't ask! lol). I'm creating an escape bedroom being a Harry Potter fanatic! I'm mixing the Gryffindor Common Room with their bedroom dorm area. Any how, it's a fun thing to do this crackle! You have to pay attention to the direction you want your crackle to go and I simply painted the glue on (a bit watered down to spread easier, and then I literally painted in one stroke over it. Going over it a bit will change it and make much finer crackles... over all... it amazed me at how well it went. I also used a blow dryer to crack it where I wanted it to have more or larger cracks. The finish is very smooth to the touch. And it is a mix of a really good latex (Lowe's bargain paints already oops mixed) and Apple Craft Paints. The majority of the Cream color is the latex base and then I mixed a brown shade as well as a grey into my 'pick up paint' before laying it down. I first painted over the dark old wood finish with a dark gray craft paint mixed with plaster of paris to give it a bit of grit for my glue and top paint to adhere. It was all simply a 'guess your best' project. But my end result was absolutely beautiful and couldn't be any more of what I was hoping to achieve (miracle!) Easy and cheap! The best kind! The Mexican Sarape Table underneath was actually my FIRST attempt back to doing some kind of art a few months ago... the catalyst to feeling creative again!

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  • Sharon Sharon on Jan 28, 2021

    I like it, it looks authentic like an old piece.