Monday, November 15, 2010

Crackle Effect, Part 2

As I wrote in Crackle Effect, Part 1, crackling furniture is a big fat pain. Briefly, you paint a top coat, put on a crackle medium, and then, if done right, you put on a top coat that will "crack" and allow the base coat to show through these cracks. Sounds easy, but the top coat cracks quickly, so you only have a minute or so to get that top coat on before it gets clumpy and instead of pretty cracks, you often get a clumpy mess. If you mess up, you cannot just scrap off that top coat, you have to get rid of everything and start again with the base coat. Believe me, I know from experience.

After using glue as a crackle medium and not liking the effects, I decided to revisit a true crackle medium. I am cheaper than cheap, so instead of going straight to Sherwin Williams to buy the product I had used ages ago when I first tried crackling, I headed to Lowes for the Valspar crackle medium. I was not happy with the effect. To quote my husband, it did not look aged, but camouflaged. He was right, the brown base coat showing through an off-white top coat looked like a confused giraffe, blotchy instead of pretty antique cracks. So I scraped/sanded it all off and made a trip to Sherwin Williams, which is what I should have done in the first place.

Rather than redo a whole piece of furniture, I got smart and tried it on just the shelf. I'd rather mess up one small part than the whole thing. The shelf turned out beautiful and the results I got on the whole shelf were great, so my advice on crackle is to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE before trying it on a piece of furniture, and to use good crackle.

Crackling is still not my favorite effect, I find it hard to avoid top-coat runs and clumps. And it is really hard, even when using high-quality paints, to get the top coat to cover the base coat fully. Not a big deal where it cracks, but where there are no cracks and the base coat show through the top coat, I personally think it looks weird. I've tried I second coat of top-coat, but it either covers up too much of the cracks, and you can tell the area has been "touched up", or it smears the crackled paint, creating lumps.

The pics I have with the narrative are in the order of the process. I do not have one of the complete shelf since a pic of the whole does not do it justice. But the pics are, in order, 1. FINISHED; 2. the shelf in its original state; 3. base coat; and 4. crackle coat.

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