How to Give a Crackle Texture to a Venetian Plaster Finish

  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-250
What You'll Need
Drop cloth
Painters tape
Painters mask
Large trowel
Small trowel
Fine sandpaper
Venetian plaster
2 Practice boards
6 inch to 9 inch paint roller

A Venetian plaster finish traditionally has a smooth glossy finish, resembling polished marble. When you add a crackle texture to the plaster you create a more aged look. This is a very popular faux finish as it lends elegance yet warmth to any room. Rich tones or muted subtle colors can be used to create a completely different feel using the same technique. There are several different products available to make this job possible for even the novice do-it-yourselfer. Patience and some simple techniques will give rewarding results. There are two types of crackle one which is applied before the plaster, giving deep dramatic cracks, and one applied after the plaster which gives the look of cracks found in fine china. For this example, we are working with achieving deep dramatic cracks.

Step 1 - Preparation

Prepare the walls for your crackled Venetian plaster finish. Wash the walls, make sure they are free of any grease; rinsed well and dried completely before applying the primer coat.

Step 2 – Practice Board

It is highly advisable to first try these steps on a practice board. Once you achieve the look you want on a practice board you will have more success on the wall.

Step 3 – Primer

Apply a flat primer coat to the wall allow ample drying time before applying the crackle.

Step 4 – Apply Crackle

Dip one end of the roller into the crackle, roll onto the primed wall. Use a generous amount of crackle, the thicker you apply the crackle the deeper the cracks, apply in two coats if necessary to create the desired thickness. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying time; generally drying time is approximately 30 to 45 minutes.

Step 5 – Apply the Venetian Plaster

Work in a 3 foot by 3 foot area at a time. Load up the larger trowel with the plaster. Scoop a workable amount of plaster off the larger trowel with the smaller trowel. Apply and spread a thick layer of plaster with the smaller trowel. Move on to your next 3 foot by 3 foot area. You may see a drag spot if you overlap the wet plaster, this is due to the crackle activation. If this occurs, carefully apply a thick layer of the plaster over this area. Once you have completed the application, begin at the original spot and burnish the entire wall. The key to the application of cracked Venetian plaster is the drying time between coats.

Step 6 – Applying a Second Coat

If your first coat of Venetian plaster gives you the look you like, simple apply a coat of wax to the plaster and you are finished. If you prefer a shiny richer look you will apply a second coat of Venetian plaster. Apply this coat firmly and evenly filling in any thinner areas. Burnish the area again.