Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Revamped Dresser with a Cute Crackle Finish

Want to make a cute crackle finish like this.... 

To revamp an ugly piece of furniture like this....? 

   Sand Paper
   Primer (depending on your color choice)
   High Gloss Base color/ crackle paint (mine's red)
   FLAT (No gloss!) Top color paint (mine's blue)
   Crackle glaze OR Elmer's glue* OR Hyde's glue
   Optional (but recommended):
 Brushing Lacquer add shine and protect from scuffs 
(*You can purchase a gallon of Elmer's at an art supply store for $11.) 


Give a light scuff sanding to your old piece of furniture to help the paint adhere better. 

TIP: As you follow all the following steps, also do them on a scrap piece so that you can practice your crackle technique before putting it on the actual furniture. On the dresser, I used the entire back as my practice space since it faces the wall. 

Optional step: Paint a base layer or two of primer. I used primer because I was covering a light piece of furniture with red paint, and red paint is highly recommended for using a primer anyway. 

Paint your base color. This is the color that will only be seen inside the crackles (mine's red). Be sure you get a good, even coat. Of course since I chose red mine took.. eh.. quite a few coats. Be sure this layer is dried COMPLETELY! (I'm talking overnight, not just an hour...)  

Paint the crackle or glue glaze. The thicker the crackle is applied, the bigger your cracks will be. Be sure you apply it as smoothly and evenly as possible, and get full coverage. Also, don't doddle, because you'll want to start painting your final top coat soon. If you bought a can of crackle, follow the instructions on the can, including recommended drying times to a T! If you are using glue, you can water it down a little to make for easier spreading. Don't let it dry completely or else your paint won't crackle... paint your top coat while the glue is still tacky. 

Paint your top coat color, in long, full, even strokes going in one direction only (not back and forth)... using as few strokes as possible. Avoid overlapping strokes, as this can funkify your crackle. You only get one chance to paint this layer as best as you can, which is why I highly recommend practicing your technique on a scrap first. Keep your brush strokes all going in the same direction, because that's how the crackles will appear. As the paint dries, it will begin to crackle. 

Optional Step: Since the crackle finish requires a flat top coat, the result will be... well... flat. If you desire a glossy finish instead, and/or you want to protect it from scuffs and scratches, then I recommend using Brushing Lacquer. I used Polyurethane on this dresser and it worked GREAT to protect it from scratches and give it a nice finished appearance. I learned after the fact that Poly isn't generally recommended because over time it can cause your furniture to yellow. Perhaps the reason I haven't had that problem is because I painted it so dark. But in the future I'll stick with Brushing Lacquer.  I think the protective coating is an important step because after all this hard work it would be really annoying for the paint to get scratched up and look bad. 

After your piece is completely dry, if you have any knobs that you plan to paint, put them on loosely, over a plastic baggie, then paint them as desired. After painting, I used polyurethane on the knobs since I also used it on the dresser. Remove the baggies after the paint is dry and finish screwing in the knobs. If you're using pre-finished knobs then just stick 'em on and you're done! 

Now stand back and admire your handiwork!!! 

If you give this painting technique a try, please email me a photo of your finished project! 

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