How to Achieve the Weathered Crackle Paint Technique

A crackle paint design is one of the most commonly used patterns in and outside of the home. While normal paint jobs may eventually crack and peel, crackle painting the surface intentionally is a controlled way of creating a particular aesthetic for any surface in your home. Rather than allow the paint to suffer exposure damage on its own in order to begin to crack, most home owners use a method for achieving the crackle paint look without the time or the damage. Follow these steps to achieve the crackled and weathered look for any painted surface in or around your house.

Step 1 - Gather Your Materials

You'll need the following items and tools in order to create a crackled surface paint job:

  • Milk paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Gold or another color of spray paint
  • Hyde glue
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Varnish and oil-based sealer

You may also want to practice the technique on a piece of scrap board or cardboard before attempting to create this effect on your official paint surface.

Step 2 - Lay the Spray Paint and Varnish

Spray the gold spray paint over the surface of the area that you wish to paint. Use a coat of varnish to help seal and protect the gold spray paint after it has dried.

Step 3 - Sand the Painted Surface

Gently and carefully sand the surface of the material. You do not want to sand the object itself, and you also do not want to completely scratch off the layer of spray paint. Rather, you want to make the surface of the paint somewhat rough, which will help the glue to stick to the paint in the next step.

Step 4 - Brush on a Layer of Glue

Using uneven strokes in multiple directions, paint on a thin coat of hyde or resolvent glue to the sanded surface of the spray paint. This will help to create the crackled appearance. The manner in which you spread the glue as well as the thickness of the glue layer will help to determine the final appearance of the paint, so this step is one that you may want to experiment with on a practice surface. Allow the glue plenty of time to dry.

Step 5 - Paint over the Glue

With an acrylic or milk paint, paint over the surface of the glue in clean and even strokes. Do not paint over a layer once you have already made a stroke. The paint should crack relatively quickly as it begins to dry. Take note that latex-based paints will not crack properly, so you'll have to use a water-based paint in order to achieve the desired result.

Cracked paint of this type will easily break and peel if it is made susceptible to any outside elements or if it is even brushed up against. Take care to keep any surface with a crackled paint finish away from potential sources of damage of this type. If you have any questions about this procedure, speak with a paint specialist at a hardware store.