Antique crackle applied to a wooden frame

How to create crackle paint effects

The Owatrol Spirit range has two products to create decorative crackle paint effects on any surface.

For a small crackle, we suggest you use Crackle Spirit. For larger cracks with a natural weathered antique finish, we recommend you use Antik Crackle Spirit.

Before you start your project you will need to check if the surface of your project is non-porous or if it has a shiny surface such as plastic, glass or stainless steel etc. If this is the case you will first need to apply a coating of Absolute Primer. Once the surface is dry, you are then ready to start.

Crackle Spirit

Crackle Spirit is a 2 product system.

Using Crackle Spirit is very easy and can be done in 2 ways – A 2 step system, and a 4 step system.

How to use the 2 step system

Step 1

Begin by mixing the Crackle Spirit Step 1 into your first paint colour which will be the ‘cracks’. To do this we recommend mixing 50% water-based or acrylic paint to 50% Crackle Spirit Step 1. Once the two are thoroughly mixed apply to your chosen surface with a brush or roller.

Step 2

Once this underlayer is dry, you are then ready to apply the second layer of paint that will create the ‘pieces’ on the surface. You might want to choose a different colour for the surface layer for contrast; mix a ratio of 40% paint to 60% Crackle Spirit Step 2. Again, you can use a brush or a roller.

You will notice cracks beginning to form very quickly and after around 5 minutes you will see your end result. However, each step will take approximately 4-6 hours to completely dry.

For long-term protection of your new cracked effect, consider applying a coat of Natural Varnish.

Take a look at our demonstration video below to learn more:


How to use the 4 step system

Begin by painting your chosen surface in the colour of your choice. This colour will end up being the ‘pieces’ on the top surface. After the paint has dried, apply a coating of Crackle Spirit Step 1 straight onto the painted surface. This will dry clear.

Step 2

After around 4 hours, or until the Crackle Spirit Step 1 is dry, you will then need to apply a coat of Crackle Spirit Step 2. You should notice the surface begin to crack.

Step 3

Next, once the surface is dry, you can then apply your next chosen colour of finish that will form the colour of the ‘cracks’. Paint a coat of your chosen colour onto the surface.

Step 4

Finally, using a clean lint-free cloth, begin to wipe the paint off to expose the previous colour that was painted fo your ‘pieces’. You can wipe off as much or as little as you like until you achieve your desired finished look.

For long-term protection of your new crackle paint effects, consider applying a coat of Natural Varnish.

Watch our demonstration video below to learn more:


Antik Crackle Spirit

If you want to achieve a more antique looking crackle paint effect, you may prefer to use Antik Crackle Spirit instead.

The colour of the cracked areas will be that of your chosen surface. If you wish to change the colour of the cracks, you will first need to paint the surface with a waterbased/acrylic paint and allow it to dry.

Once your surface has dried, it is ready for the application of Antique Crackle.

Apply one very generous coat of the Antique Crackle and allow it to dry.

Next, apply a coat of waterbased/acrylic paint to the surface and leave it to dry. Be sure to not re-apply or smooth out the paint as this will affect the finished result.

You will notice the background colour begin to appear through the cracks within a few minutes as the paint begins to dry.

When the final effect has dried, if you wish, you can further the aged look of the surface. To do this, carefully pour very hot water onto the areas you wish to remove the finish, therefore creating a more ‘distressed’ look.

For long-term protection of your new crackle paint effects, consider applying a coat of Natural Varnish.


If you have used any of our Spirit range products, please feel free to share them with us! You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest all at @Owatroluk or at the hashtag #owatroluk

how to create crackle paint effects - Pinterest

About Owatrol Team

Our team are ready and willing to support you with your requirements whether it is protecting your newly laid deck or renovating a luxury yacht, whatever the application Owatrol has the solution you are looking for.

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