Crackle the Table Top

For a completely different look to an ordinary table, create your own faux finished crackle effect. It requires the use of two coats of different color paint so the crackling effect is more defined. But don't stop there. If you like to experiment, you may find a technique you like better, as is often the case with faux finishing.

  1. The first step to obtaining a successful crackle finish is to test your crackle glaze. These glazes can be obtained as part of a kit that is available at most hardware stores. The thickness of this glaze coat will determine the final appearance of your finish. The thicker the glaze, the more pronounced the crackling will be. Study steps 2, 3 and 4 and repeat them on a test area. Vary the thickness of your crackle glaze until you obtain the desired appearance. This is also a good time to experiment with the color of your two coats of latex paint.
  2. Apply one coat of flat latex paint to the item you have chosen to finish. Use a paintbrush to apply this base coat. Remember that the color you choose for this coat will be the one that shows through the cracks.
  3. Allow the base coat to dry completely (usually 4 to 6 hours with a flat latex is plenty of time), then apply one even coat of your crackle glaze with a brush. It is important that you brush in one direction only when applying this coat and the next latex top coat. Apply the crackle glaze at the thickness that worked best for you when you did your test samples.
  4. Apply the top coat. You may want to choose a water base acrylic enamel for hardness if this is going on a table that will be exposed to a variety of treatments. Make sure your brush is well loaded with paint and apply the paint with steady strokes. Work in the same direction that you did with the crackle glaze and avoid going over the surface more than once. Cracks will begin to form immediately. Let the top coat dry completely. Any gloss level latex paint is suitable for your top coat, but the higher the gloss level the longer you should wait before moving on to step 5. The longest dry time will be with a semigloss or gloss latex; allow about 24 hours for these to dry.
  5. When the piece is dry, sand it lightly and apply one coat of acrylic varnish to protect the finish.