Hey, it's what I do! Welcome to my creative arts blog!

Welcome to my Maker's blog, where I feature my own unique creative projects. I'm eight years out from breast cancer and counting my blessings.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Make Vintage Style Books (Part 2) With Crackle Paint

Here is a row of my restyled books in my bookshelf. They aren't antique collectors' editions, they are all modern hardbacks that I've redone for a vintage look. Please note-no books are destroyed making them over like this. They are all still readable!

In Part One of this post I showed how I decoupaged pretty papers to hardback books using Mod Podge, hot glue and paint. Here's a link...

Here in Part Two I'll show you how to use a cheap and easy crackle technique with Elmer's school glue and craft paint. You can give your books a cool antique look and upstyle your bookcases and decor.

Here is a set of three books redone in black and red and a little bit of gold paint. See how cool they turned out? For these projects you will need hard back books, craft paint, hot glue, Elmer's school glue and paint brushes. You probably already have everything on hand in your stash!

 First, choose your book and paint the whole cover in the base color you want to show under the finished crackle. I used black craft paint on this book, then added fake "stitching" with hot glue. The ruler helps get the "stitching" straight and evenly spaced. Note-It took two more coats of black paint to cover the title on the spine.

Once the craft paint is dry I painted a coat of slightly watered down Elmer's school glue over the whole cover. Dollar Store school glue also works for this technique. Brush the glue on in an even layer then let it dry for a few minutes. For the next step the glue MUST BE TACKY. If it is NOT STICKY the top layer of paint will not crack!

Using a soft bristled brush and long strokes in one direction ONLY, add your top coat in your choice of color of acrylic latex craft paint. Do NOT brush back and forth or dab your paint. Use long even strokes going one way for an even crackle texture to form.

Within a few moments the cracks will start to show. I LOVE watching this part!

Once the crackled paint was dry, I added precut labels to two of my books and a skeleton key to the other. Then I dry brushed black paint over all the edges and the "stitched" spines to bring out the details. I also added gold metallic paint to one label.

Here's another look at the three finished red books. For additional texture on the bottom and top books, I first Mod Podged crinkled up tissue paper before painting the base color, then proceeded with the glue and paint crackling. The dry brushing at the end really highlights the crinkled paper, making it look like old leather.

My livingroom colors are turquoise, red and brown, so these books are PERFECT for making my livingroom pretty and colorful!

My books have never looked this GOOD! I did not spend any money on restyling these books since I had everything on hand in my stash. Mod Podge, hot glue, paint, tissue, Elmer's glue and pre cut labels.

I'm making them in sets of three in different colors and trying them out for wedding decor. We have three family weddings this year and these will look beautiful on the reception tables.

And more...

and even skeleton keys for Halloween!

And last but not least, turquoise with black patterned papers, including damask!

This is a fun and inexpensive way to add beautiful color and texture to your home's decor. Try it, you'll like it!


  1. Such a cool technique! That's great that you were able to get the finish with glue.

  2. This is a truly superb idea! I collect antiquarian tomes, and often lament at how dull modern books are cover-wise. This. This I love. Thank you :)

  3. Clever idea! The golden books are my fave. So thanks heaps for sharing the DIY with us. Also thank you for stopping by my blog x

  4. Wow...I love how these turned out!! So cool! I'm totally pinning and can't wait to try transforming my old books now...thanks for sharing. Christina at Dear Beautiful You

  5. WOW! Those are beautiful! I love the basic old ones, but the yellow gold ones are ART! I have a book club and am always looking for presents for my gals. I'm thinking of maybe doing your technique and then hollowing them out for boxes! Thank you for the inspiration!

    ~Tam Francis~

  6. This is the kind of stuff my dreams are made of. I have always wanted to try the Elmer's glue crackle paint method, but had such bad luck with with store bought crackle, that I was leery of it. Now I will try this. Your books are all so interesting an unique. Those wedding ones will look amazing on the tables, you'll probably get tons of comments, thumbs up and pinning~ Amy @ StowandTellU

  7. Ann, I love all your creative ideas. Theses books are really great!


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