Thursday, May 30, 2013

For More Than Just Grade School Art!

When I think of old/antique furniture, I imagine dinged corners, worn handles, squeaky joints, and crackled paint.  But so often now we see this trend popping up on newer furniture, calling itself shabby-chic or antiqued or cottage style. Whatever you want to call it, or whether it is in fact old or not, I'm in love the look of this finish! To me, it's whimsical, fun, and romantic. And for furniture, I couldn't ask for anything else. So when I embarked on this mantel adventure, I knew - as did Cam - that this was definitely the type of finish I wanted on our completed project.
I've seen people do this type of paint finish before and knew it could be done - fairly easily - at home but wasn't completely sure how to go about creating it. To be honest, I thought is was special kind of paint you put on top or your desired color that made it crackle. So I decided to do a little research.
There are several different ways you can create this look. The first I came across was an actual crackle medium. I'm not sure exactly how this works, but I couldn't find it at my local hardware store, so I completely negated this as viable option for my project.
Then next option completely floored me...this look can be created using simple school glue! What?! I couldn't believe what I was reading! But for less than $1 how could I discount this as a possible and feasible pick?! So I purchased a small can of antique white paint, as my main color, and a bottle of school glue and went to work!
This is the result: A beautifully crackled painted surface...perfect!
The steps are easy and extremely rewarding. Here is how to get this look with paint and school glue!
First, you must decide what you want to be your base color. This will be the color that appears when your top color begins to crackle. I wanted the wood to show thru so I left the base the color of the wood. If you want a different color, simply put on a base coat and let it dry completely.
Now that your base color is finished, its time to get to work! Take your school glue and begin spreading it all over your surface, evenly. I used a foam brush and put a good amount of glue down. You want a semi-thick layer, but not overly.
Once your glue is evenly spread, you must allow it to dry slightly. When it is semi-dry but still tacky, it is time to apply the top coat of paint, your dominant color; in my case, the antique white. Paint your topcoat using a single long stroke as much as possible. Do not brush back and forth (It will cause the paint to glum up and produce an uneven finish). The paint needn't be thick, but you want all of the glue covered.
This step is also where you can create the most amount of variation in your crackle pattern. If you are looking for small cracks in your top coat, waiting for the glue to dry a bit longer (so it is definitely tacky to the touch and beginning to clear) will accomplish this. If you are looking for large crackle throughout, apply a thicker layer of glue and paint on your top coat when it is still pretty wet. Your top coat will separate much more when applied to wet glue. But remember, at whatever stage you start painting your top coat, you must work fairly quickly. Once the paint hits the glue it will clump up if you try to repaint it, paint over it, or fill in the cracks.
Once your top coat is completed, its time to step back and watch it dry! It doesn't take long for the cracks to appear. As it dries more will appear and others will grow. It really neat to watch!
 Once it's completely dry, you will have a crackled/antiqued/shabby chic/cottage style paint job!
While it may take a little practice to get the hang of exactly what you want, it's really fun to know you can experiment and play around with this and it won't cost you an arm-and-a-leg to do it! Cute and thrifty...I love it!
If you have a chance, try this for yourself and let me know what you think! Do you like it? What would you do differently? What other projects are occupying you days as of late? Please share with me...I love to hear!



  1. so cool! i love the look of this! it totally fits a shabby chic feel!

    1. Thanks! It was so much fun to try out! Can't wait for you to be able to see it in person! :)