DIY Crackle Paint – Part 2

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In this post, I walk you through the steps to create a DIY crackle paint with a wood finish underneath and for larger pieces of furniture.

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Earlier this week, I shared with you how to create a DIY crackle paint finish using Elmer’s glue. We used a small stool as an example since it’s a fairly small size to work on.

However, there were a couple of things I wanted to expand upon in applying this technique that were not covered in the previous post.

  1. What if you want to achieve the effect so that wood grain is peeking through the crackle?
  2. How does this process work on larger pieces of furniture?

Both are valid questions and I hope to answer them today.

DIY Crackle Paint – Part 2

So first, let’s re-cap the supplies that are needed for this project. To answer the questions above, in this post I used a bench and I decided to let the natural wood grain peek through the crackle finish.

Let’s look at some “Before” photos of the bench.

While it is not horrible looking, I felt the bench could be improved. It was a little plain and the olive green paint on the top wasn’t providing much help in spiffing up the bench’s appearance. So, let’s see if we can take this piece of furniture and turn it into something that looks aged and has texture.


First, do NOT buy any expensive crackle paint application. It is absolutely NOT necessary. However you will need some supplies:

  • Elmer’s school glue
  • Small 2″ paint brush. ( I used one from the dollar store)
  • Small container to hold the glue
  • MMS milk paint – any color you choose
  • Small 2-3″ paint brush (I have had the same Zibra paint brush for about 5 years)
  • 120 and 220 grit sand paper
  • Top Coat – MilkCoat (This is optional you can choose to seal it with a wax)
  • hair dryer

You should be able to gather all these supplies for less than $40. (Assuming you already own a hair dryer). Because this is a larger piece of furniture, you may need to buy more milk paint than you would use for a stool.

Step 1- Prep Your Piece

Using the 120 grit sandpaper, rough up the surface of the item you are painting. The idea is to scuff sand the piece of furniture so that the milk paint will adhere to the surface.

Also, I must confess, I did not like that wooden embellishment on the front of the bench. So, I removed it.

Bench sanded and prepped

You can see in the photo above that the bench was sanded and that the wooden embellishment was removed. Also, for simplicity and to save time, I used my random orbital sander to sand down the bench. It’s not absolutely necessary to use a random orbital sander but it does help make the process go faster.

Bench prep for painting

After the bench was sanded, I thoroughly wiped it down using a degreaser and a cloth. The idea is to completely remove any dust or dirt remaining on the piece of furniture.

Step 2 – Apply the Glue

As you may recall, we are trying to get the wood to peek through the crazing. So we are going to apply Elmer’s glue directly onto the bench.

Pour 1/3 a cup of Elmer’s glue into a container and then using your cheap-brush from the dollar store, paint the glue on to the furniture.

It’s ok if the glue goes on thicker in some areas and thinner in other areas. It will help the crackle appearance look more authentic if there is variability.

Applying Elmer's Glue to a Wooden Bench

I primarily applied the glue to the flat wide areas on the bench. I didn’t try to cover every square inch. The photo above shows how the glue was applied to the side of the bench.

Wait for a bit for the glue to get tacky but not dry. TIP– do not wait for the glue to dry. Now is the time to mix up your milk paint.

Step 3- Paint the Bench

While the glue is still tacky ( not dry) – use your good paint brush to apply the MMS Milk Paint.

Applying MMS Milk Paint to the bench

The first coat will look a little patchy and splotchy. That’s ok. Don’t be deterred. Use your hair dryer to help the paint and glue dry.

Painting bench upside down

I like to turn my furniture upside down, to ensure that I don’t miss any spots while painting.

Apply a second coat of paint and use your hair dryer to help it dry quickly. When the paint is completely dry, sand the piece with 220 grit sandpaper. This will help smooth out any areas where paint has built up or dripped.

Step 4 – Seal the Paint

You can use a variety of products to seal the paint. Since this is a bench, and it is likely that people will rest coffee cups, ice tea and other food products on the surface, – I chose a top coat called MilkCoat – formerly known as Tough Coat. It provides a clear protective coat. You can also use MilkWax to seal your bench but just be aware that it won’t be a durable as a clear coat.

MMS Milk Paint

As most of you know, I have been using MMS Milk Paint for many years and it’s a product that I love and stand behind. Milk Paint provides an authentic look to furniture that other paints don’t. Furthermore, it is nontoxic and all natural. Not many paint companies can make that claim.

MMS Milk Paint SLH 10% off

Much to my joy, I have recently collaborated with the MMS Milk Paint company. As a result if you purchase any milk paint from the link provided, I will receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting this little business of mine. Be sure to use the code 10OFFSH to save 10% on your purchase.

Step 5- Enjoy your Project

Whether you painted a bench or something else – now is when you can declare your project done and enjoy it. I have decided to use the bench to drink my morning coffee while looking out at the garden.

You can pin any of the images below to your Pinterest boards for future reference. So, if you want to try this project several months from now, simply click on one of these images that are pinned to your boards. Clicking on the image will take you straight to this post. If you like the DIY projects that I share, you can also follow me on Pinterest. This way images for future projects that I write about will show up in your Pinterest feed.

Here are some “after” photos so you can see how the bench turned out. The crackle paint is very subtle and as a result I had a difficult time capturing the bench’s texture and patina with my camera.

DIY Crackle Paint 1

The above photo gives you an idea as to how the bench turned out. Notice, the wooden embellishment is gone! (Yikes -that was SO 90s)

DIY Crackle Paint 3

This photo captures the top of the bench and crackle finish that was created using the Elmer’s glue.

DIY Crackle Paint 2

If you look closely, you can see the subtle crazing and areas where there was slightly chipping on the bench. You can see the natural wood peeking through.

DIY Crackle Paint 4

Here is one final photo that shows a faux fur throw that I put on the bench to make it a little warmer to sit on. As of now, I use the bench to drink my coffee in the morning while looking out the window at the garden.

DIY Crackle Paint

Here is one more graphic showing the before and after of this bench. It’s too bad that the camera could not pick up the finer details of the crackle finish. However, I think this gives you a good idea as to how the transformation looks.

If you want to read part 1 you can click on this DIY Crackle Paint Part 1.


Thank you for stopping by the blog today. I hope you found some inspiration. Creating a crackle paint finish is easy and it creates some amazing results.

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  1. Good morning. “Turn furniture upside down, while painting, so you don’t miss any spots”, is a really useful tip. Really useful.

    Love how you gave the stool character, through crinkle, thank you for the instructions.

    1. Thank you Susan! If you decide to use this technique – I hope you share a photo of the end result!!

  2. Love this technique, Anna! These stools are popular around here and I can’t wait to give this method a try on one sitting in my workshop right now! Pinned 😊

    1. Hi Cindy! Thanks for commenting. I hope you do give it a try! It’s an easy technique that yields great results.

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