How To Crackle Paint

Natural Crackle suitable for acrylic paint and semi-gloss or flat latex paintIf perusing Pinterest has you hankering to create your own distressed-look project, you’ve come to the right place. This is where you can learn how Natural Crackle Paint Finish by the Real Milk Paint Co. can help you craft a similar crackle finish on your own painted surfaces.

From the heavy alligator crackle finish of a country corner cupboard to hairline cracks that resemble the glass-like finish of old Windsor chairs, our crackle medium provides the versatility you need to customize furniture and furnishing finds exactly to your liking.

Keep reading to learn more about adding a crackle finish and controlled antiquing the fast and easy way by using Natural Crackle Paint Finish by the Real Milk Paint Co.

What Is a Crackle Finish?

Crackling is the process of laying a faster-drying finish over a slower-drying finish that’s more flexible. Creators sometimes add a crackle finish by using supplies from craft stores like Elmer’s glue or plain white school glue, while others use a commercial crackle medium like our Natural Crackle Paint Finish.

No matter how you go about creating paint crackle, however, the crackle effect happens via the same process — as the base coat color dries under the top coat, the paint shrinks and crackles for a distressed appearance that complements shabby-chic, country-style and rustic spaces.

Benefits of Natural Crackle Paint Finish

If you want to create a distressed look, Natural Crackle paint finish by the Real Milk Paint Co. is just what you’re looking for in a crackle medium. Suitable for use over milk paint, chalk paint, acrylic paint and semi-gloss or flat latex paint, our crackle medium one-ups most commercial crackle medium formulations with multi-surface convenience, controlled crackle technique options, eco-friendly ingredients and simplicity of use.

Multi-Surface Crackle Medium

Distress a painted surface easily thanks to the quick drying times of our Natural Crackle paint finish. Formulated to adhere to myriad surfaces from painted or varnished wood to metal, drywall and glass, our crackle medium allows thinning with water for different effects and dries to a satin sheen for attractive final results.

Controlled Crackle Finish

Apply the crackle effect to your entire piece with a roller or to specific areas with a paintbrush to get exactly the look you want, and clean up after finishing with just soap and water for added convenience in use. Our nonflammable formulation utilizes nontoxic ingredients for eco-friendliness and dries to an odorless finish for pleasant display in your home.

Simple Distressed Look

Use our Natural Crackle medium on numerous projects to achieve a chic distressed look. Formulated to endure 1 to 2 years without refrigeration, this freeze-thaw stable paint crackle medium maintains its viscosity over time, making it a great choice for weekend hobbyists wanting a fuss-free way to add the occasional crackle finish.

How to crackle paint using semi gloss acrylic paint

How to Crackle Paint Using Crackle Medium

While supplies from craft stores work well enough for homemade picture frames, larger project pieces like furniture require crackle painting with a commercial crackle medium to get the look you want. Fortunately, using our crackle medium is simple and convenient.

Supplies Needed for Crackle Painting

Many of the supplies you need for using Natural Crackle Paint Finish are the same as what you need for standard painting projects with Real Milk Paint. Gathering supplies beforehand serves a twofold purpose by eliminating the need to look for necessities and ensuring you stay focused on your project for better final results. Essential supplies for crackle painting include:

  • Two shades of Real Milk Paint — one for a base coat and one for a top coat
  • Natural Crackle Paint Finish, a mixing container and water
  • Tri-Sodium Phosphate and a clean, dry cloth
  • A clean paintbrush or roller
  • A damp cloth
  • A drop cloth to protect flooring
  • Clear-coat sealant to prevent chipping after drying

Prepping Surfaces for a Crackle Finish

An excellent first step to any painting project — crackle painting or otherwise! — is cleaning your project piece. First, lay down your drop cloth to protect your flooring and work area, then move your project onto it. Next, use the clean, dry cloth and Tri-Sodium Phosphate cleaner to remove any dust, dirt or debris from the surface that’s about to be crackle painted. Let your project piece dry, then you’re ready to start painting with crackle medium.

Painting With Crackle Medium

In this crackle paint example, we use our Natural Crackle Paint Finish, an all-natural gelatin with less than 1% phenol added as a preservative. To begin adding a crackle finish, first lay down a base coat of color with the shade of Real Milk Paint you want to show through the cracks. Avoid thin layer, you would want to add two layers of this shade to ensure complete opacity once your base coat color is completely dry. Once covered, let the base coat paint dry for 1 to 4 hours.

Next, pour some Natural Crackle Paint Finish into a container and add water until you achieve a top coat consistency that brushes or rolls onto your surface easily. Keep in mind that a thick formulation makes large cracks, while a thin formulation creates more hairline cracks. Knowing this lets you adjust the mixture so you get the exact crackle top coat finish you desire on your project piece. Once thoroughly mixed, brush the Natural Crackle Paint Finish over the dry milk paint and allow it to completely dry for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

If you’re not happy with the results and want more or better crackling before you add a top coat, apply a second base coat of Natural Crackle over the previous dry base coat and allow it to dry. You can wait as long as you want for the crackle finish to dry as there’s no real window — 2 hours or 2 weeks, it doesn’t matter.

The next step in creating a custom crackle finish is to paint the contrasting color of Real Milk Paint on top of the Natural Crackle Paint Finish. Once you brush it on, allow the milk paint to dry just enough to handle a second coat. Brush that second coat on lightly so as not to pull off the first coat of paint. If crackling starts before you get to the second coat, it’s too late, but don’t worry — you should have ample time unless you’re working on larger pieces of furniture. If this is the case, you may need some help creating a consistent crackle top coat finish.

Special Effects With Our Crackle Medium

Adding special effects to furniture, picture frames and other project pieces is simple with a commercial crackle medium like Natural Crackle Paint Finish. Our formulation works well for various paint crackle technique options, and you can use it to achieve different crackle finish results. Most of the special effects depend on whether you apply the final coat of Real Milk Paint over wet or dry Natural Crackle Paint Finish.

All-Over Crackle Finish

To achieve an all-over crackle finish on furniture and home decor like picture frames, simply paint Natural Crackle over your base coat color in an even, consistent fashion, then let it dry overnight. To be sure you get the right amount of crackling, it helps to treat an unseen space as a scrap piece for testing color and crackling consistency.

Hairline Cracks

Hairline cracks that look like antiqued glass look amazing with shabby-chic furnishings and complement farmhouse design styles. To achieve fine crackling in your project piece, apply a thin layer of Natural Crackle to the surface, and when mixing your crackle medium, be sure to add more water to the formulation.

Big Cracks

A thicker layer of Natural Crackle Paint Finish helps you achieve larger cracks on furniture. Perfect for adding a distressed appearance to dressers and tables, big cracks are a simple special effect to achieve using a thick layer of crackle medium mixed with less water than usual for a heavier feel on your furniture.

tips on how to crackle paint

Tips for Simple Crackle Painting

Keep in mind that if you add Real Milk Paint over Natural Crackle Paint Finish that’s too wet, the formulation just absorbs the paint and the crackle effect doesn’t occur. This means you need to be mindful of drying times to get the best results.

Also, always do a crackle paint experiment before full application to your project. As mentioned above, find an out-of-the-way area and use it as a practice piece before you use a crackle technique on the furniture.

Lastly, we do recommend finishing crackle paint by using a milk paint with a non-water-based finish as your top coat, such as Pure Tung Oil, shellac, varnish or spray acrylic. Almost any clear coat works, and a water-based finish may ruin your crackle paint. The reason for using sealant on top of the crackle effect is preventing moisture from attacking the exposed crackle medium in the cracks and ruining all your hard work.

Now here’s where we use a sneaky sales tactic and ask you to buy some Real Milk Paint. CLICK HERE TO ORDER NOW, or visit one of the Real Milk Paint distributors in your area.

It’s been fun sharing with you,
Dwayne Siever