Do you love a vintage look? Are you damn tired of disappointing crackle paint? If so, I might have the product for you!
My name is Ann, and I like old stuff, especially if it’s cracked, rusted, broken, bent, and more thoroughly beaten and dejected than my son’s last soccer team. Whenever possible, I prefer to work with actual vintage items from an actual antique mall, but sometimes – say, at two o’clock in the morning on a Sunday – the antique mall is closed, which is obviously terrible. In such hours of desperation, I have been known to try aging things manufactured in the last 12 months, yet I have never been 100% satisfied with either the products on the market or the results I get with them – until last week, when I discovered Crackle Paste.
Mmmm. Crackle Paste.
Crackle Paste is not a new product, I grant you. It’s also not a cheap product. It does produce some amazing results, though.
Before & After
I know, I know: The after picture is creepy. But look at the cracks! They’re everywhere! And they’re crazy! And amazing! Just look at the top of the head!
If you like the look of these cracks, you can apply Crackle Paste to objects of your own, with the following provisions:
- Your surface – or as the art folks like to say, your “support” – should be solid. If you use this paste on a flexible surface, it may very well crack and fall onto your floor in giant, expensive, heartbreaking chunks.
- Crackle Paste requires patience. I allowed my doll head to dry for 3 1/2 days, and you should probably do the same with your project. You can’t speed things along with your heat gun. With this product, you just. Have to. Wait.
- Crackle Paste dries white. After waiting patiently for 3 1/2 days, you can add a glaze, a stain, watered-down acrylics, walnut ink, or whatever else puts the knees on your bees.
Still on board? Here’s a quick, step-by-step walk through on a shadowbox frame.
- Prepping & gessoing
For any project involving crackle paste, you will need something like a putty knife to spread the paste and something like a piece of newspaper to protect your work area.
You should also cover the object you’re planning to distress with a coat of gesso or craft paint. (I opted for the latter.)
2. Frosting the cake
Crackle Paste has a consistency very much like cake frosting, and you can expect the same things to happen when you’re spreading it. Put another way, unless you sacrifice a goat and chant backwards in Swahili while channeling the entire staff of the Food Network, it will never get completely smooth. Don’t drive yourself nuts trying to make it perfect. Imperfections are charming, or so my sweet husband keeps telling me.
Important Note: The thicker the coat of paste, the deeper and more dramatic the cracks, so don’t skimp on the product unless you want to skimp on the effect.
3. Tidying up
Candidly, I don’t obsess about areas of my work that no one will see. If you need to clean up paste that’s going to interfere with mechanical parts or other areas that have to be clean, use a toothpick, a rag, or a combination of both. Meanwhile, wipe down your tools and get ready to wait!
To show you why the wait is worth it, I snapped photos at several points in the drying process.
First, we have a photo from Day 1, approximately 8 1/2 hours after the initial application of Crackle Paste. If you squint, you can kind of see one crack.
On Day 2, approximately 31 hours after the initial application, you can stop squinting. The top is cracking beautifully – and much faster than the doll head did.
The side of the frame, however, not so much. Looks like there’s more waiting after all.
And finally, after 3.5 days, approximately 60 hours after the initial application, there are nice deep fissures in the top, where I put the most product:
The cracks on the side, meanwhile, have multiplied and spread:
Although I’m not finished with this project, here’s how the frame looks with a few layers of paint and ink:
I hope all of these pics encourage you to try Crackle Paste – or if you discovered it long ago but haven’t messed with it in awhile, to try it again! Have fun, and while the Crackle Paste is drying, but sure to check out the wide array of cool altered things at wonderstrange! Getting in the mood for Halloween (like I am)? We have more cool stuff for that, too!