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  • Writer's pictureMiriam Fayez

Fineline Crackle Varnish – Pentart 101 – Episode 13

Pentart Fineline Crackle

What is Fineline Crackle Varnish? It is a two-component crackle varnish that will create very fine shallow cracks on the surface of your piece. Similar to an old porcelain. Even though it states it’s a varnish, It’s not meant to be a sealer.

Fineline Crackle will go over any surface.

Rules on Fineline Crackle Varnish: 

  • Moisture: Fineline Crackle Varnish does not mix with moisture. That means, any water – based products cannot be used on top of Fineline Crackle Varnish. This also includes using baby wipes, and a wet brush. If water-based products are used on top of Fineline Crackle Varnish, your piece will turn gummy. The special chemical in Fineline Crackle does not do well with water. 

  • Water – based varnish: Before using Fineline Crackle, your piece must be sealed with a water – based varnish and needs to be completely 100% dry.

  •  Solvent – based varnish: After applying Fineline Crackle, and using either Antique Paste, Pigment Powders, or Liquid Patina, use a soft cloth or a dry paper towel to remove the excess. Solvent turpentine will help remove any residue. Then seal your piece with a solvent- based varnish or resin. It’s best to wait 24hrs before sealing your piece as more cracks could form. 

Pro Tip: Component 1, is the same as all the other Crackle Varnishes in Pentart. They are just labeled differently. Therefore, Crackling Primer Universal, Crackling Paste Primer and component 1 Crackles are the same product. 

Temperature is also an issue; humidity can be an issue. Do Fineline Crackle in a temperature-controlled environment. About 70 F degrees is optimal. Don’t do it outside, which could affect the results. 

Applying Fineline Crackle

Always use dry brushes when applying Fineline Crackle. Don’t incorporate any water into your project at all when you know you’re going to be using Fineline Crackle. Make sure to have several dry clean brushes beforehand. 

Apply Component 1 with your clean dry brush, make sure the surface is completely covered with Component 1. It will go on white and dry transparent. It is recommended to allow step 1 to dry naturally. 

Once Component 1 is dry, apply Component 2.

If there is any discoloration where the components have settled to the bottom of the bottle, do not shake as it will cause bubbles. Instead, gently swirl the bottle around. Sometimes it can crystalize on the bottom.  Just bring it back to room temperature. Use a dry clean brush to apply it to your piece.

Step 1 and 2 is going to determine the outcome of your cracks, whether they will be super fine or thicker. It is recommended to allow step 2 to dry naturally.

If it’s fully dry and no cracks have appeared, then at this point you should use your heat gun to help it crack. Hold the heat gun away from your project, otherwise you could burn the product. 

To Reveal Crackle:

To reveal the crackle use Antique Paste, Pigment Powders (Mica, Metal) or Liquid Patina. Apply the product of your choice and wipe away any excess.

How to seal Fine Line Crackle Varnish

Once you have sucessfully revealed the cracks, use a solvent based sealant such as Pentart Solvent Glossy or Matte varnish.


Key Tip: You can use transfers with Fineline Crackle Varnish. Seal your transfer with a water – based varnish. When it’s completely dry, apply Fineline Crackle and follow the process for Fineline Crackle.

Following these rules will achieve the best Fineline Crackle effects.

For more tips and a detailed explanation how to use Pentart Fineline Crackle watch our demonstration below.

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