I can't even begin to tell you all how excited I am about this product. Even though it has been around for a while (I have had some in my arsenal of paints and mediums for years!) I had never taken the time to play around with it and try it out. I have used crackle finishes many times before, but usually I am looking for a more 'rustic' or 'country' look and my go to product was DecoArt Weathered Wood. I love that product, and I had even made a video showing how I applied it, as it was not only effective, but it was fun (and SATISFYING!) to see the paint cracking right before your eyes. (Here is the link to my video if you are interested in seeing this process done: Video on Applying Weathered Wood Crackle Medium)
But I don't always want a weathered and blistered type of crackle. That type of finish would suit the new ornament set that I was working on. This set was to be a bit more 'elegant' and I wanted them to look like fine, aged porcelain.
Enter "One Step Crackle" medium:
Who would have thought that a product that also crackles could bring such a different results?
When I saw my friend's project on Facebook, she had applied this crackle medium just to the lettering of her pretty bread box. The effect it gave was beautiful. While the background of the box was still a lovely, clean barn red color, the tan lettering was finely cracked, resembling a sticker that perhaps had cracked over time. The cracks were very tiny and subtle and made the piece very interesting. It didn't have the overall 'ratty' look that the Weathered Wood would give it, but it rather looked like the piece was well cared for, but definitely aged. It was awesome.
It got me thinking about the ornaments that I was planning to paint. I wanted them to be simple to paint, but still have some interest. In my mind, I had settled on a black and white theme with gold trim because I thought it would look classic and elegant. However, I didn't want these ornaments to appear too stark, as I was in danger of doing with using the white background. I had considered using a background with more tan or even beige tones, but if I did that, I would lose the striking contrast and risk the pieces of looking muddy instead of crisp and clear. When I saw the very subtle effect of using this One Step Crackle medium, I knew that it would add the subtle interest that I wanted without overpowering the design. It would be a perfect solution.
It did take me several tries to achieve the look I wanted. As with any new product we work with – there is always a learning curve. Unlike the Weathered Wood product that is applied over a (usually darker) base coat and then the (usually lighter) top coat is what bonds to the medium and cracks, the One Step Crackle is applied over the base color (which is the 'finish color' – in my case the WHITE) and it sits and cracks on top of the base color and dries CLEAR. You then apply a wash or glaze of contrasting color and quickly wipe it back, removing it from the surface of the cracks and allowing the contrasting color to settle into the cracks, showing your very subtle cracking pattern. I tried several methods of both applying the crackle medium as well as what I used to wipe over it and I finally settled on a beautiful result that was perfect for these elegant ornaments. I used a light gold Metallic Lustre acrylic wax and the gold shimmer filled the cracks beautifully and gave the appearance of aged porcelain or even marble.
It was AWESOME! Now I was really excited! You saw the result of the tree in yesterday's post and today I will show you the rest of the set finished. Here are the six ornaments included in the new pattern:
I think they look pretty darn nice:
Because of the very fine crackle, they almost look like marble or stone:
I think that both the painters who follow my blogs and the woodworkers alike will agree that this is something that they could both apply to many projects. I only used 1/8" Baltic Birch plywood for these pieces and they look like they are made of stone or porcelain. Think of the boxes, frames and other things that you could use this method with! The painting is very simple – and the only shading involved is the loose float shading of the metallic paint around the edges. The black painting is slightly 'picky' – you need to have a good lining brush to do it – but I like to think of it as a 'skill builder' which will help improve your line work and basic painting skills. The layer of black Glamour Dust Ultra Fine Glitter Paint over the design also helps hide a multitude of errors. As you can see in my own pieces, even though I was in no way "perfect" in what I painted, the designs look crisp, clear and balanced and beautiful.
I am really pleased with the outcome of these.
I am working up the pattern for them in the next few days and they should be available on my site by the update early next week. I will also be selling the wood pieces for this project for those of you who don't cut wood. The basic shapes are fun and I bet you can think of multiple ways to use them.
I hope you found these past couple of blogs informative. Crackle mediums can be very confusing and sometimes difficult to understand. However, with a bit of understanding and a little practice they are simple to use and can give you a wide range of beautiful possibilities.
I hope you all have a fabulous weekend! Happy Friday to you!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"