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Crackling is very popular as aged finishes have become so much a part of showcasing warmth and history in our homes. It can be done without purchasing expensive crackling kits. Crackled finishes are a simple chemical reaction. All you need are two colors of latex paint, one a base coat that will peek through, and one a top coat, that you will see most of, and household glue. Thatís right, direct from your kidís art box. Sand and prime your piece if necessary, then paint with your base coat. Remember, this will be color will just peek through, so itís best if it contrasts with top coat. Let dry. Now mix household glue with equal parts water, and brush onto your base coat. This can be done easiest with a foam brush. Allow glue to dry until just tacky, about 30 minutes. Now for reaction part. Brush on your top coat directly over glue coat. Donít brush over any one area more than once, you will ruin crackle effect in that area. You should start seeing crackling take place within a minute or so. The size of crackles has a lot to do with your technique in applying top coat, so experiment a little first. Long, smooth strokes tend to produce larger more dramatic cracks than short strokes, and
if you really want a subtle effect, try sponging or ragging on final coat. Allow to dry overnight. If you wish to further antique your work, simply dab or brush it with some wood stain, then wipe off. Repeat until you get look desired. You can seal with polyurethane or clearcoat, or coat it with common furniture wax.
Kathleen WIlson is the editor of a free ezine and newsletter called The Budget Decorator, dedicated to the "budget impaired" home decorator. Visit her at http://www.thebudgetdecorator.com for more free ideas and projects, and for info on her workshop.