Millionayres | This is our life

Elmer’s Glue Cracks Me Up!

I had heard that a crackle finish could be achieved using “Elmer’s glue” or school glue rather than the pricier crackle medium you can find at the craft store. Even if you’re using your coupons at Michael’s or JoAnn’s it is still expensive and if you have a large project you might end up using the entire bottle. Thankfully with school having just started glue is cheap. You can always find it in 2 packs at the Dollar Tree if you know you’ll be using a lot for crackling something or paper mache or even making your own Mod Podge (equal parts water and glue, fyi).

So I set out to see just how easy or difficult this look would be. First, I gathered all my supplies:

Crackle Supplies

  • My material to paint. I picked up this little wood shadowbox from the dollar store.
  • Something to put my paint on, like a fancy shmancy disposable plate.
  • 2 contrasting paint colors, pictured are Charcoal and a light staw color
  • A paint brush, you can even use a foam brush
  • Glue
  • Gummy Bears- Do NOT miss this supply, you’ll need to reward yourself as you complete each step.
I started by painting my box the straw color first and after it dried painted on a layer of elmer’s glue. If you paint it on too thick in some places, you’ll get really big splits in your paint. If you paint it on very thin, you’ll get those small micro crackles. Just mind the time so your glue doesn’t dry before you get around to painting your top coat.

Base coat with glue applied

¬†When the glue had started to dry and became tacky to the touch (don’t touch it too much or you’ll see finger prints) and not dry, I painted over with my contrasting color. Be sure to use careful strokes and paint in 1 direction. Don’t paint back and forth or side to side.

Here is where I made my first mistake. Not wanting to smudge or smear the tacky layer of glue underneath, I painted the top coat on too thick in some places and it didn’t achieve the crackle very well.

Apply top coat

Here’s what I wound up with. I wasn’t perfectly pleased so I decided to attempt it another time on a different object. Thanks to my mother in law for parting with a MDF letter L for this.

The 2nd attempt worked much better. Maybe it was because it was easier to maneuver around since there wasn’t a frame around it, or maybe because I had learned a thing or two, but I’m happy with the outcome. I also chose a different color scheme. Charcoal as a base and mint green as a top coat.

Crackle on different projects

I’m still going to salvage the box and make some Halloween decoration out of it, I like the black with pale contrast. Since some parts crackled well, I can fill in those large solid places with other objects or letters or something festive.

The letter L crackled well enough that I’m adopting it into the acceptable monogram letters I’ll be putting up in our baby boy’s nursery. It will join the ranks of the letter A from our dimensional paperboard letters DIY Wednesday and a foam letter U that I picked up on clearance at Michael’s and covered in rolled book pages.

Crackle close up



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