Painting Wood Furniture With Crackle Spray Paint

Lee Weal

Many homeowners haunt garage sales and antique stores to find furniture with a crackled paint appearance. Others opt to apply this distinctive finish to modern furniture on their own.

Crackle spray paint is a chemical medium applied between two coats of paint to create an aged look on furniture and other home accessories. The top coat of paint crackles to display the color of the base coat underneath. This distinctive painting technique is simple enough for faux finishing novices to achieve a positive result.

  1. Remove drawer handles or tape off areas that should not receive the crackled finish.

  2. Clean furniture of any dust, dirt or oils with any commercial cleaner. Wipe down with clear water and allow to dry.

  3. Sand the furniture lightly to dull glossy areas and to roughen the surface to help the paint adhere to the wood, and then paint the furniture with a base coat of latex paint. Skip this step if the furniture is already coated with the desired base color.

  4. Lightly spray the crackle medium over the entire piece of furniture. Allow the crackle medium to dry for the manufacturer's recommended time. The furniture should feel slightly tacky to the touch.

  5. Paint the furniture smoothly and evenly with the top coat of latex paint or glaze. The top coat will begin to crackle shortly after it is applied, so work quickly to achieve a uniform appearance. A thin coat of paint or glaze will appear as finely cracked lines allowing the base coat to show through. Thicker coats will crack into larger sections.

  6. Allow the top coat of paint to thoroughly dry. Apply two to three coats of clear lacquer to protect the crackled finish and allow to dry.

  7. Tip

    Practice the technique on a scrap piece of wood to view the end result before starting the project. Crackle medium is available in both spray and brush-on formulas.