DIY Network

How to Crackle Paint a Wall

Learn how to create a crackle finish on picture frames, pots, furniture and walls.

More in Painting

create a crackle finish on walls
  • Time

    2 hours

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Start with the Base Coat

Crackle is a popular painting technique that is used to make furniture, picture frames, etc. look old, but have you ever seen a whole room painted with the crackle look?

Apply a base coat of latex paint to your walls, allowing the paint to dry at least overnight. Select a color that will show through the crackle effect in the topcoat. Use a satin finish for the basecoat.

crackle is popular painting technique

Step 2: Apply the Crackle Finish Medium

For this technique, apply a crackle finish medium. It looks like a clear paste with the consistency of paint. Craft stores sell crackle finish in small pint containers, and paint stores sell it in larger quart or gallon containers.

For small projects like flower pots or picture frames, you can apply the crackle all at once. For larger projects, like furniture or walls, work one section at a time. Begin by masking off any part of the project that you do not wish to crackle with masking tape.

Using a brush or roller, depending on the size of your project to apply the crackle. For painting walls, cut in the edges and roll on the crackle finish. Allow the crackle finish to dry. Read the manufacturers directions, but it generally takes 30 minutes to an hour to dry. One word of caution, you need to apply the topcoat of paint as soon as the crackle finish is dried. If you wait too long you may need to reapply the finish.

Step 3: Apply the Topcoat

The topcoat of latex satin paint can be applied over the crackle finish two ways. One is by using a natural sea sponge, which will produce smaller random hairline cracks. The other is by using a paint brush which will give much bigger cracks that generally flow in the direction you brush. For large surfaces such as walls a brush works best. Any way that you apply it, you're going to get a workout.