DIY Crackle Paint With Elmer's Glue

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There's no need to buy expensive crackle medium when you want to create a crackled paint finish. Elmer's Glue-All brushed onto the project before painting lets you create a crackled finish -- but the working time is short, so act quickly.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat latex or acrylic paint in two colors

  • Paintbrushes

  • Elmer's Glue-All

  • Foam brush (optional)


The DIY crackle-paint effect works best on materials that accept glue and acrylic paint well, including porous materials such as wood, cardboard and paper, as well as natural fabrics such as muslin or canvas.

Step 1: Apply the Base Coat

Paint the project piece -- after it has been cleaned -- with a ​flat latex or acrylic paint​. This is the base color that will show through the cracks in the top paint color. Allow the paint to dry completely.


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If you're already happy with the color of your project piece, there's no need for a new base-coat color and you can skip this step.

Step 2: Brush on the Glue

Brush on a coat of Elmer's Glue-All with a paintbrush or foam brush. Apply a thick coat of glue and allow it to dry for five minutes or so -- just long enough to be ​tacky and sticky​, but not dry.

Step 3: Add the Top Paint Color

Brush on the top paint color -- a different shade than the base coat -- atop the wet glue using ​long, even strokes​. Do not go back over any of the painted areas or the crackling may not happen. As the paint and glue dry, the top paint color crackles, revealing the original paint shade beneath. Allow the project to dry completely before you touch it.


Elmer's Wood Glue may be used in place of multipurpose Glue-All.

Experiment with effects by thinning the top paint color slightly. Thinned paint results in larger gaps in the top color so the base paint shade becomes more visible.


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