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Crackle Glaze
by Sharon Jacobsen

Are you one of those people who are always looking for cheap ways of improving your home? As well as being cheap, does it need to be dead easy too? If that just about sums you up, crackle glazing may well be worth considering.

If you’ve somehow managed to miss every DIY and makeover show that’s ever included crackle glazing (if you did, please let the rest of us know how you managed it), I’ll tell you quickly that it’s a method used to make furniture and other small items appear older than they are. As the name suggests, the paint appears to be crackled with age. I’ve used this technique on two or three pieces of furniture and a handful of small items, so I know it works. The only reason I stopped doing it was because it started to remind me of what I saw in the mirror every morning. Too many fine lines!

Assuming that you’ve spent the last 5 years in the country that probably shows more DIY programmes in a month than any other European country shows in a year, you’ll have seen crackle glazing and would be excused for thinking that I’m going to tell you about the kits that are sold in DIY stores. I’m not though. This is the "old-fashioned" way of doing it. It’s just as easy and looks more authentic. It’s probably cheaper too, because the varnish can be used for lots of different jobs whereas the kits are for crackle glazing and crackle glazing only.


Here’s what you need:

Primer (if your surface needs one)
One pot of paint (emulsion or oil-based)
One pot of water based varnish (acrylic)
One pot of oil based varnish
Paint brushes (size depends on what you’re painting)
Artists oil for highlighting the cracks
White spirit
2 cotton rags


Here’s what you do:

1. Prime and paint the surface to be crackle glazed and allow to dry. If you’re only painting a small item, a tester pot or two will probably be enough.

2. The first varnish to use is the oil-based one. You might need to use a little white spirit to thin it out because you’ll need a thin, even layer.

3. When the first layer is still slightly tacky, probably about 1 – 2 hours after coating, you will need to apply a coat of the water-based varnish. This coat must be thick!

4. As the varnish dries you’ll notice the cracks starting to appear. The reason this happens is because the water-based varnish dries quicker than the oil-based one, and the movement from the underlying layer, which is still drying, causes the top layer to crack.

5. Mix some artists oil with a little of the oil-based varnish and, using the rag, rub this gently over the surface, working it well into the cracks.

6. Using a clean rag, remove excess oil from the surface.

7. Allow everything to dry for about a week and then varnish again.

That’s it! Easy peasy.

Remember to clean your brush between each layer though.

This really is a remarkably easy way of creating an aged effect and can be used on all sorts of items, from picture frames and wooden boxes to flower pots and lamp bases.

Happy crackling!

Crackle Glaze

by Sharon Jacobsen

Sharon is the owner of Friends Your Way.co.uk

 

 



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