Crackle Console - Rehab an old table with French flair (excerpted from Creating the French Look by Annie Sloan)
Crackle varnish is a technique that copies the look of old varnish that, over time, has cracked like the surface of an old master painting. Today, we see this crackling of varnish on furniture as a decoration in itself. Although a rural look, this is one that originated in the chateau.
Small can of white paint
Crackle varnish kit
3 large paintbrushes
3.4 oz dark wax
3.4 oz clear wax
Dry cotton cloth
1. To prepare the piece, rub with fine sandpaper to make the surface smooth, then apply two coas of white paint. Apply the first part of the kit over the main flat surfaces. Allow to dry. For finer cracks, apply the liquid thinly, altering the thickness to give variation. It does not matter in which direction in the brushstrokes are applied. Apply the second part of the kit. Paint it all over the area to which you have applied the first part of the kit. Treat each area separately. As both parts of the kits are the same color, it can be difficult to see if the surface is completely covered, so tilt the furniture in the light to find any areas you may have missed. Vary the thickness of the application, but take care not to make it too thick. Layers applied to vertical surfaces may drip.
2. For the cracks to appear, the surface needs to be heated. This can be done artificially using a hairdryer, or it can be done by leaving the furniture in the warm atmosphere, either a heated or sun-warmed room. The cracks may take from five minutes to half an hour to appear and will at first be seen at certain angles only.
3. To make the cracks more visible, apply dark wax over all the surfaces, making certain you brush it in all directions so that it penetrates deep into the cracks. It may look messy at this stage, but don't panic. Don't let the dark wax dry out, and it will be difficult to remove. Wipe off excess dark wax using a clean cotton cloth, rubbing into the cracks as you go, making certain that they are all filled. You should be able to clean off a large amount of the wax.
4. Wipe some clear wax lightly over the surface. The aim is for the surface to be as clean as you can make it with the dark wax remaining in the cracks.
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