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  • Writer's pictureMiriam Fayez

Crackle Medium and Cracking Paste - Pentart 101 - Episode 16

Crackle medium and cracking paste. How to use

While they both have very similar names, crackle medium and cracking paste are two different products. Let's look at each one in more detail!


Crackle Medium: Is an acrylic - based product. A one step component to create an antique design. Applied with either a sponge or a brush.

Let's make a crackle sandwich. Recipe goes as:

Apply one layer of acrylic paint, one layer of Crackle Medium, then another layer of contrasting acrylic paint color. Allow to dry in between coats.

Tip: If you apply Crackle Medium alone, no crackle will happen. It's the acrylic paint that activates the crackling effect.

There are a few different variables to take into consideration to determine the size of cracks and the type of cracks that you'd get applying Crackle Medium. Thicker will result in wider cracks, sometimes the humidity and temperature can play a factor. The cracks will appear in the direction of your brush strokes.

Key Tip: Crackle Medium will not crackle if the top layer is metallic paint. The metallic paint can be used on the bottom and not on the top layer.

Applying the top layer of acrylic paint will start it to cracking immediately. Don't go over the same area with paint, because you'll cover up your crackle.

Tip: You could apply Crackle medium over decoupage, then paint the top layer.

Keep in mind that the contrast of the paint color is going to have an impact. For example, by using two dark colored paints, the crackle won't be so visible.


Cracking Paste: A water -based 2 component system to create 3D cracked surface. Comes in white, black and metallic colors (Dark Gold, Blue, Silvery Blue, Rose Gold, Silver). The white Crackle Paste can be colored with Pigment Pastes.

Example Project. Crackle Medium on Black & Red background. Crackle Paste around edges
Example Project. Crackle Medium on Black & Red background. Crackle Paste around edges

To apply Cracking Paste over your piece, you'd need to first use step 1 component which is the primer with a brush. All of Pentart crackling systems use the same 1 step component.

Then apply 2 step (Cracking Paste) with a palette knife as it's a thick paste. Applying it thicker or thinner will determine the depth and shape of cracks. Generally it's best to allow the Crackle Paste to dry naturally. Once dried, you're free to decorate it as you please whether with Antiquing Gels, Waxes, Pastes, paints etc.

Tip: Cracking Paste has the double effect of being a cracking paste as well as a texture paste. For example, the whole piece can be textured with Cracking Paste but only have a few areas crackled based on where you've applied the step 1 component.

Pro Tip: Upon opening the jar of Cracking Paste, it's best to use plastic wrap on the tops of the lids to prevent it from drying out and help it to last longer.

To learn more about each of these different crackling systems watch our live demonstration in replay here:

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