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crackle effect

How to Create a Worn and Crackled Effect

Do you like antique furniture, imperfect pieces of furniture with their aged, weathered look? I love them! I l also love to use medium to create a worn and crackled effect.

Almost everyone loves seeing decor where everything is perfectly decorated and organized, like in a magazine. Every decorative item seems to have been meticulously chosen, and everything is in its proper place to make the decor pleasing to the eye.

Often, these created images make us believe in an unrealistic world in which no one lives! I was once a cleaner, the title that best suited the work I was doing at the time. So I had to maintain houses of all kinds, and most of the houses I’ve had the opportunity to visit were, if I may call them that, simple houses in their natural state, houses in which family life was very much present. Some of them were even due for renovation. I didn’t often have the opportunity to visit perfect houses without a single blemish, where there wasn’t a piece of peeling furniture or wall.

There was however, one house in particular that was almost identical to a magazine page. Despite this, my customer was not satisfied with two or three things that seemed a little off-putting to her. This lovely lady was always on the lookout for elements to improve her décor and make it as perfect as possible. Let me tell you, I’ve found that this feeling of always wanting to make our little nest as cozy and perfect as possible is impossible to achieve, no matter how hard we try. Why? Because a lifeless house is not a home, it is a cold, unrealistic setting. No matter how careful you are, as the years go by, furniture ages and history is written on it.

We can look at a scratch on the sideboard and say to ourselves… well that is from the time that my brother-in-law had one too many drinks and dropped his plate onto in, or remember the time my little niece drew on the sofa thinking she was Picasso. There are too memories to count!

In short, all this leads me to tell you why I like to create imperfect furniture like these two tables. I love doing this easy-to-create style with spectacular results because the way this style will allow the tables to survive future mishaps and scratches is simply brilliant. Any future scratches or other marks will simply add detail to the work. Personally, I’m too much of a perfectionist to have glossy, smooth furniture and have to accept the marks that will become apparent over time. I’m a bit like my husband with his car, my heart sinks when my children hit the furniture. That’s one of the reasons why the worn style suits me so well.

For some people, it may seem difficult to achieve a worn and crackled effect, but in my opinion, it’s a way of highlighting imperfections. The techniques for achieving these effects are worth learning and practising to give your furniture and accessories a unique, old-fashioned look.

So instead of fixating on a few minor details, you’ll instead be in awe of your perfectly imperfect execution. In fact, your furniture will become a masterpiece in itself.

The Steps

By reading on, you will easily learn how to create a worn and crackled effect on furniture and other decorative objects.


Even if this is the least interesting part of the project, it’s undoubtedly the most important for a successful job.

First remove all cabinet hardware if necessary.

Spray Colorantic Cleaner and Varnish Remover and leave for 30 minutes. Once the time has elapsed, it is very important to rinse well twice to remove all residue left by the cleaner.

I didn’t apply any oil primer as the varnish cleaner and remover had rendered the old varnish very matte, so I was ready to move on to the next step.


The Paint

If, like me, you like to see the wood come out of the cracks, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Apply two coats of Toasted Marshmallow paint to all surfaces. Do not paint the areas where you want cracking.
  2. Once the paint is completely dry, apply crackle medium to the unpainted areas and allow to dry thoroughly.
  3. Once the cracking medium is dry, you can apply a single coat of paint, and in no time you’ll see the cracks forming.
  4. Using the sanding block, you can now apply wear in the desired areas.
  • If you want two-tone crackles, first apply a base colour. Once dry, apply the medium, leave to dry and apply the second, contrasting colour. It won’t be long before you see coloured cracks appearing.


Now that your work is complete, you are ready to apply two coats of Matte Top Coat Varnish to protect everything.

cracked table


These are beautiful pieces of furniture that will stand the test of time. If you’d like to have even more ideas for repurposing furniture and other objects, you can join our Facebook group, Colorantic English Paint Community or follow our publications on various online platforms.

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