Crackle Painting Furniture

By Karl

Crackling is a Way to add an Antique Look to Any Piece of Wood Furniture

Crackling is a popular method of painting that can be used on both furniture and walls. When applied to furniture, it results in a finish that looks antique. Crackle painting produces a worn appearance. Crackled paint looks as if it has been on the furniture at least 100 years – but in reality it is a newly applied finish.

Furniture that has a crackle painted surface can be found for sale in many boutique shops that promote the “shabby chic” look. It can also be found in high-end and also discount furniture stores. This type of furniture finish is very popular and people are willing to pay top dollar for it. Why are people spending hundreds of dollars to purchase crackle finish furniture? Probably because they love the look but don’t think it is something they can accomplish themselves at home.

The truth is, adding a crackle finish to furniture is very easy. It is a technique that can be completed by any novice painter.

How to Add Crackling Glaze to Furniture:

  1. The first step is to obtain a piece of wood furniture that will look good with an antique crackle finish.
  2. Make sure the furniture is stripped of its old finish, sanded and primed.
  3. Next, you must choose two latex paint colors. One of the colors will be the undercoat or the “base” coat. The other color will be the main coat or the “top” coat. The top coat is the one that will be most apparent, but the base coat will also show. Many people like the look of contrasting base coat and top coat colors, but you can also choose different complementary shades.
  4. Use the darker of your two chosen colors as your base coat.
  5. Using a paintbrush, add two layers of the base coat to the furniture. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly between coats.
  6. Over the base coat, you will apply a layer of crackling solution. (This can be purchased at most hardware or crafts supply stores.)
  7. The more crackling solution you use in step 6, the thicker the cracks will appear. Therefore, if you want large cracks you should apply the solution with a heavily loaded paintbrush. If you want small cracks you should apply a very thin layer.
  8. After the crackling solution has been allowed to dry for approximately one hour, apply a layer of the top coat paint. Make sure to brush on the paint in the opposite direction that the crackling solution was applied.
  9. As the top coat dries, it will develop a crackled appearance.
  10. After the top coat of paint dries, apply a layer of polyurethane finish to create a satin or glossy protective coating.


Crackling is an easy painting technique. But, it is still a method of painting that should be tested and practiced before attempting on a piece of favorite furniture. After you add a crackle finish to your furniture, place it in a prominent location in your house. You will be sure to receive many compliments on your newly re-finished piece!

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