Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Create the perfect crackle finish every time with DecoArt's Weathered Wood.



At You Can Folk It HQ, we love creating new projects and playing with different mediums and products to create different surfaces to add our Folk Art designs on to. One product we have been loving lately is DecoArt's Weathered wood. This fantastic liquid can help us turn any plain surface into one with texture and detail by causing your paint to crack and split.   Following our journal makeover, we have had so many questions about using weathered wood, we thought we would let you know how to use it well to create the best finish for each and every one of your future projects. 

Use DecoArt's weathered wood medium between two different colours/layers of paint to create cracks in your paint. This gives any project a vintage, aged look.

For this project, you will need: 

2 different colours of Decoart Americana or Chalky Finish Paints 
Base coating brush sponge 
Mount board for practice - this is great as it won't warp and we can add any practice boards we don't use for a project to our painting journal.


DecoArt weathered wood is known as a 'sandwich crackle' because it has to be sandwiched between 2 layers of paint to work. How you apply the top layer of paint determines how the crackle will appear, so it's always a good idea to try out variations before starting a project.

Here you can see some of the different effects you can create:

By applying the paint using a sponge or a brush, DecoArt Weathered wood creates different cracks on the surface of your project.

Depending on the look you wish to create, you can apply a dark colour on the base and a lighter colour on top or vice versa.  If you are using DecoArt Americana Acrylic or chalky finish paint for both layers, they can be used in any order you wish.  However, when you are using Dazzling Metallics, as we have done (see mount board No 4) metallics do not crackle. For this reason they can only be used as the base coat, not the top coat.

So now you have chosen your colours, let's begin.

Step 1. Basecoat your board and leave to dry. As always, you can leave your paint to dry naturally or speed the process up with a good old hairdryer.

Step 2. Apply a layer of the crackle medium and allow to dry naturally. This normally takes around 30 minutes.You'll know it's ready for the next step when your fingers don't stick to the surface.

Step 3 - Apply your top coat.  Feel free to mix a custom colour for your top coat but never water down your paint as this will affect the medium and prevent it from working as well. Once you've got your topcoat ready, this is where the magic happens! Two factors contribute to the crackle pattern you end up with; what you apply the top coat with and how thick you apply the top coat.

Applying paint with a sponge - dabbing the top coat onto the crackle medium. The trick to this method is to always work in a methodical way. Don't go back over the area you've already added paint to as this will remove the paint you've just applied.  On mount boards 1 & 3 above, you will see this method creates a lovely spidery pattern which is often finer than when you apply it with a brush.

Next, create some test samples using a brush to apply the top coat. When applying the paint lay the paint down gently, don't apply any pressure to the brush - you need to aim for a nice solid covering in one coat.

Again, once you've laid the paint down, don't go back over it, otherwise you will remove the paint. The main reason for this is that the top coat activates the weathered wood and it turns to a jelly like substance that is easily disturbed.

When applying the paint with a brush, the direction in which you apply the paint with a brush is the direction in which the cracks will form. Looking at examples 2 & 4 above, you can see that the paint has been applied with a brush using vertical strokes.  Had the paint been applied from left to right, the result would have been horizontal cracks.   

When painting circular or cylindrical items, apply DecoArt's weathered wood with a sponge. Creating vertical or horizontal lines would look severe and distract the eye from its shape.


The direction becomes important when you are considering the finished look of your project.   For a circular project for example, applying the paint with a sponge is the best option. As you can see from the enamel bucket we painted (above), the spidery cracks give it a beautiful finish. Creating lines of crackle would have distracted from the shape. However, when painting a wardrobe for example, by applying the top coat vertically, the cracks begin to enhance the shape of each panel you apply it to. 


Applying the top coat of paint in varying thicknesses will change the size of the cracks that form on your project.  Thicker paint will create larger cracks and a thin layer of paint will create finer cracks.  Never water down your paint or change the consistency in any way.

There are so many ways you can use crackle and there are so many factors that change the appearance of the finished look. Play with different colours and investigate whether you prefer light colours underneath or deeper shades as the base coat.   Why not try applying with a brush in a cross hatch motion which will give you a different effect once again. The great thing is with this medium is that you do not need to apply the medium all over the object or surface.  It's fun to just apply patches of weathered wood to the base or vary the thickness of the topcoat to change the size of the cracks you wish to form (as the love heart above shows).  

Change or update the look of any item with DecoArt Weathered Wood medium. We love the crackled, aged effect it creates.

Once we were happy with our crackled items, we used DecoArt Metallic Lustres to add stencils to some of them and also dry brushed the lustre around any raised areas/edges to give each one a bit of sparkle.  Whether you wish to leave them plain, stencil them or add a bit of Folky detail on your projects, each one will look nothing less than beautiful. 

Happy Folking, 

The You Can Folk It team xx


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2 comments

  1. Beautiful projects. I love the candle, as it personalises it in such a way that even when the candle has burnt away, the visual memory is still there and can be kept. But then... I love the bucket too.

    I've just posted a blog post on my blog about the Christmas Folk It kit, and thought that it was perhaps polite to come and let you know so that you can view the post yourself if you choose to. I hope I've done Folk It proud, and have recommended your products.

    Link directly to the blog post itself: https://thecobweboriumemporium.wordpress.com/2016/09/12/hand-painting-christmas/

    Can't wait to see what you're bringing out next and hopefully have a play with it.
    Regards and have a blessed rest of your day ~ Cobs. x

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  2. Hi Cobs,

    Thank you for your lovely comments, we are so happy to hear you like the ideas we discussed. What a lovely post, they're all beautiful and we love how you have paired the designs with different cards and feathers etc. We will certainly share your post very soon for others to enjoy and be inspired x

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