art - distressed and framed

I've been framed! I received an email this morning from a happy customer who just received the painting she commissioned from me and she's already framed it. Here it is in the distressed frame she did herself.

Sooo... I was reminded of the many pieces of painted furniture, signs and even some of my paintings on canvas that I used to distress with a crackle finish. This is a little different from her technique and creates a shabby chippy cottage look like you see in the sample below.

I love the aged character this gives a piece and it's really simple to do. You don't have to go out and buy all those kits and concoctions at the craft store to do it either, infact you have everything you need right on your paint shelf.
Here's a simple lesson in crackling.

get your supplies together:

a board, or whatever you want to crackle
two contrasting water based paint colors (one for the bottom coat which will end up the crackle color and one for the top coat, the overall color)
white hyde glue - like elmers glue (i even use the yellow wood glue when i don't have the white)
wide paint brushes
a blow dryer
stain (if you want a grunge look)
spray varnish/sealer

Base coat the piece with the color you want for the cracks and let it thoroughly dry.

Pour the glue on top of the dried base color and brush it in all directions to totally cover the base coat. Sometimes I thin it with a little water to make it easier to spread but don't thin it out too much. Let it thoroughly dry.

Paint your top coat (which must be water based paint or it won't crackle) over the glue that has dried, making sure to do it quickly without going over your brush strokes. Now that it's totally covered with the top coat , it's time for the fun!

Get out your trusty blow dryer and dry the paint on the high heat setting.

In a short time you'll begin to see the paint crackle. When it gets to the crackle look that you like, stop and let it finish drying thoroughly.

If you want a more distressed look that emphasizes all the crackle lines, you can wipe a dark stain over it to get into all the cracks and then wipe it off.

Finally, protect the surface with an oil-based sealer. A matte or eggshell finish looks better on crackle than a high-gloss finish .

Play around with it! Try using different consistencies of paint and glue for variations in the crackle size and uniformity.

The skies the limit with your new found craft! Imagine little tables, shelves, wood turnings for candlesticks, frames etc..

Crackling is JUST COOL!

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