Debi's Design Diary » DIY adventures with Vintage Style

Crackle and distress your furniture Elmer’s glue and Chalk Paint!


I have been told by other DIYer’s that Elmer’s glue will work as a crackle medium on furniture instead of various more expensive crackle products.
I had never tried this alternative as I had also heard that it works only half of the time, besides, if this were true, why are there so many crackle medium’s available in home-improvement stores and wouldn’t this little secret be out by now? I continued to purchase crackle medium thinking I did’t want to waste time with something that only worked sporadically.
In fact I wanted to start selling crackle medium in my store along with the other great paint products and brushes I already carry so I asked on Facebook what the best crackle medium on the market was? Again I was told that Elmer’s glue works as a crackle medium and there was no need to pay more for other products. At this point I decided to investigate, make a video, and put Elmers glue to the test.


I also wanted to try out CeCe Caldwell’s new Aging Dust. This is something you can use instead of dark wax, it comes in powder form and you sprinkle it into the detailed areas of furniture to get just a little bit of age into your project without having to wax the entire piece.

Here’s the video I created, demonstrating how Elmers glue transformed this $5 yard sale chair.

I was so happy with the crackle process that I also painted this end table.


Here are a few tips I discovered while experimenting with the crackle process…
-The thickness of the glue will determine how pronounced your crackling will be. A thin layer of glue produces tiny cracks and a thicker layer will create larger cracks.
– After you apply the glue and are going over it with your second coat of paint your brush will drag and feel funny, the temptation is to correct your brush marks, however you don’t want to do this as it will interfere with the crackling process, instead wait for your second layer of paint to dry completely, and then touch up your brush strokes after the crackling has appeared.
-If you end up with more crackling than you want, you can lightly add a wash of paint to make it appear more subtle.
-Although I have not tried other brands of white glue, I’ve been told they work as well Elmer’a glue. A friend of mine says she uses the white school glue from the dollar store all the time.


I will be offering a new class that will include some specialty finishes such as crackling, glazing and stenciling, along with my paint 101 classes this summer!

I am so excited about the new classes we have been offering at my store here is a photo of our outdoor classroom area!


We have space availbale in our paint 101 class this Saturday, all the detials are HERE

Hope you can join us, I would love to have you!

linking up here!

Redoux Interiors


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  • May 17, 2013 - 1:03 am

    Laura S - Oh, Debi, I’m so glad that I found your Blog!! You’re Videos always make my day so much better! Thank you! The blue chair is precious. I signed up to receive your Blog Post :) Already a follower on YouTube but I don’t always get my emails alerting me of a new post…so, I’m glad I found ya! Wish I was close to your store. I’d be there for every class. Lol Hugs, LauraReplyCancel

  • May 17, 2013 - 5:18 pm

    Ann - Debi, my 2010 blog post on crackle paint using Elmer’s glue is my number one draw. I didn’t do a video but I showed LOTS of finished crackle effects with different craft paints. Didn’t use chalk paint tho, so that’s on my list. Love your blog!

  • September 28, 2013 - 3:48 am

    elba - What paint is best to use or doesnt it matter?ReplyCancel

    • September 29, 2013 - 5:43 pm - hi Elba! most paint should work, I used CeCe Caldwell because it’s awesome and easy:) If you have a specific paint you want to try, I would do a test on a scrap piece of wood first.ReplyCancel

  • November 25, 2013 - 2:31 pm

    Leann - I’m currently test this out. Here’s a tip I want to pass along. You MUST use flat paint on the top layer. I had some leftover semi-gloss paint I was using as a test……BARELY cracked. Do-over with flat paint….appears to be working great. (used a hairdryer to speed up the process)

    Also, painting the glue on in a “X” like motion, fairly thick seems to work the best.


  • September 11, 2015 - 7:27 pm

    Douglas Crowel - love the outcome and the presentationReplyCancel