Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Super Easy Crackle Paint DIY

Have you seen all of the crackle paint tutorials hitting Pinterest lately? Well, I have officially caught the bug. I just love how you can take a ho-hum piece of furniture and turn it into a beautiful conversation piece for your home.

Let me start out by saying that I am no expert. My previous furniture refinishing experience comes down to spray painting a desk and hitting it with some metal pipe from my husband's shop. And while it came out beautifully, I've been itching to try my hand at some new techniques for a while now.

I started out by combing Craigslist for an inexpensive, smallish, but pretty piece of furniture. Trust me, I have dreams of doing an entire dining room set with this technique, but knowing me, I figured I'd need to experiment on something easy and cheap just in case it was a total disaster!

I found a pretty little sofa table that cost me $30. It was black to begin with, but I gave it a quick clean and painted it with some gray satin spray paint that I had on hand. I used Rust-Oleum American Accents Spray in London Gray.

Here's a few pictures of my table with the gray base coat. You can see that I didn't get too picky with the coverage- we're gonna cover this baby in crackle-y paint anyway, right?

 Here's another close-up shot of how badly I sprayed the table with the gray base coat. That's the beauty of crackle paint- imperfect is what you want (This really drove my husband, an engineer, crazy by the way. He's a little too mathematically correct to be a fan of "perfectly imperfect" sometimes)!

After letting the base coat dry for a few hours, I painted the entire thing with a crackle medium. The one I chose was Valspar Weathered Crackle Glaze. It wasn't super cheap (about $15) but I only used about a 1/4 of the quart so I can use it again. It's also good to note that Valspar makes a Porcelain Crackle Glaze that makes smaller cracks in the paint. But I wanted big, heavy cracks that would stand out. 

After about an hour of drying time, the glaze was a nice level of tackiness. You want it to be slightly sticky, not wet. If you wait too long and the glaze dries, just paint on a little more glaze and wait for it to get slightly sticky again. 

Once the glaze was ready, I painted on a thin layer of Olympic Icon Interior Paint in Colonial White (a nice, off-whitesh color) that is in a FLAT finish. 

Here are some things to keep in mind when doing the topcoat of your crackle project:

1.) ALWAYS use a flat or matte finish paint. Anything else won't work.

2.) Only paint in one direction when applying paint. Don't sweep your brush back and forth. This stressed me out at first because I thought I wasn't getting enough white paint on top of the gray, but it turned out great. Trust me- it'll turn out beautifully!

3.) Don't glob on too much. I made this mistake when I was having the above-mentioned stress-out. It ends up dripping down your piece and not really doing its crackle thing correctly. But if you do do this, remember to just let it dry and you can sand if off later.

And about 20 minutes later.... crackle, crackle, crackle!
Another thing to remember- see that there are one or two big spots of no white paint? They are perfectly fine, but after staring at the thing for about 5 hours, I wasn't happy. So I just carefully sanded down those spots, reapplied the glaze, let it get tacky, and then (carefully!) repainted my topcoat of white. The nice thing about this finish is that it's very forgiving. :-)

Scroll detail after I sanded off some of the white crackle. 

The one thing I found that is if there's any detail in your piece, the crackle finish might cover it up more than you'd like. This happened with mine. There is some pretty scrolling on the front of my table and I wanted it to stand out. So after the paint dried, I just took a little piece of sandpaper and scuffed off some of the white paint to let the detail shine through.

Once I was happy with the way it looked, I let it dry overnight and sprayed the whole thing with Rust-Oleum Ultra Matte Clear Cover to seal it all in. So easy!

And here's the finished product! I'm in love.

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