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DIY Crackle Paint Finish

Posted by  ·  October 22, 2014  ·  Last Updated: May 21, 2016

I am so excited to share that you can make your own crackle finish with Elmer’s Glue. Yes, you heard me right.! I had no idea you could achieve this crackle look with glue! It was the perfect way to turn my paper mache skull into a spooky Halloween decoration!

How to crackle paint with Elmers glue

Supplies for DIY crackle finish

Elmer’s Glue-All (this one in particular worked best for me), acrylic paint for base coat (color you want to show through) and a different color for top coat, paint brush and something you want to paint.

How to make a crackle paint finish

First give your object a base coat of acrylic paint. Allow paint to completely dry.

DIY Crackle Finish base coat

Paint a layer of Elmer’s Glue-All over base coat. Allow glue to dry for about 5 minutes. It really shouldn’t be any longer than that. The glue needs to be tacky. This is important.

DIY Crackle Finish with Elmers Glue

Paint over the tacky glue with acrylic paint. Go in long strokes trying not to go over areas that have already been painted. The paint will start to crackle in minutes.

Elmers Glue Crackle Finish

As the paint dries it will crackle all over…….

Crackle Paint with Elmers

..and you will have a spooky skull!

DIY Crackle Finish Skull

Can you imagine the possibilities? This technique works on a variety of surfaces from picture frames to glass jars!

Elmers logo

I am a proud member of the 2014 Elmer’s Craft it Crew.  A big thank you Elmer’s for sponsoring this tutorial and helping me to provide content here.  I only endorse products and brands that I believe in 100% and use in my day to day life! Elmer’s is one of those brands!

Leave a Comment


  1. Sarah
    Saturday, February 14th, 2015
    I used to work as a painter in a professional theater and we used this technique all the time. I once painted six 8ft tall church windows just like this for the wold premiere of "Memphis" (which happened to win a Tony for best show a few years later). So this technique can work on small scale projects AND big ones!
  2. Sharon
    Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014
    I love the crackle effect. I buy the medium to get this effect on my projects. I was thinking about doing a large piece and was not looking forward to how much of the medium I'd have to buy. I'm excited to give the Elmer's glue method a try.