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.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cheap Elmer's glue crackle chalkboard project

I used this super simple but effective process on some chalkboards awhile back, and here's the tutorial. You'll love it. You'll want to crackle something for sure. I love this cheap crackle technique! It seems like magic every time I use it and did I mention that it was cheap? Holy cow, with Elmer's school glue 4 for $1 right now, I have stocked up big time.

I started out with cupboard doors from a local builder's supply. After spray painting them flat black (which saves you money on the expensive chalkboard paint) I spread the glue on really thick. I did not use a brush for this but laid a nice line of glue around the frame and spread it with my fingers. You are not looking for an elegant finish here, you want a nice layer of glue on your intended crackled target. Now, wait til it gets tacky. DO NOT LET THE GLUE DRY, the glue MUST be moist when you do the next step.

Taking plain old acrylic craft paint, load up your brush and paint, in one direction only, a nice thick coat of color. Do NOT go back and try to touch up and at this point and do NOT go back and forth. One direction, one swipe, with a light touch. You want a nice layer of paint on top of the still moist glue layer. The crackle effect will begin almost immediately and within a few minutes you will see a great aged patina bloom right before your eyes. The picture above was taken within 5 minutes of painting.

It does not matter if your paint goes on thick and thin, as this effect looks much better with a bit of uneven paint. Look at that, it makes me smile everytime I do this. Crackle, baby! If you have some spots you have to touch up, use a smaller paint brush and a light touch and go in the same direction as before but lightly, lightly. At this point it is very easy to drag the paint and the glue and make a big non crackled spot. If this does happen, let it dry, add more glue and repaint with a gentle hand. This technique is very forgiving.

If you have perhaps got distracted by kids, pets, some kitchen disaster, life and your glue has dried, don't worry. Just add more glue and go on from there. I've done this dozens of times and this technique has lots of wiggle room.

Oooh, ahhh. I like the white on black, love the black on white and ADORE the turquoise on white. Gorgeous, just gorgeous. Let your paint and glue dry thoroughly before you seal the crackled edges with clear acrylic. I added a thin layer of umber glaze before I sealed mine. Then paint the centers with chalkboard paint. Wait 24 hours or close to it if you are impatient like me ;0) and season the chalkboard with a layer of chalk, wipe it off and voila! Easy peasy crackle framed chalkboard, baby!

My FAVORITE board was the red on black, it was stunning and of course it was the first one we sold at the Artwalk. Now I'll have to make another. Good thing I stocked up on Elmer's glue!

I'll be linking up to the fun parties on my sidebar. Come on over and check out the interesting projects out in blogland. You'll be glad you did!


  1. that red is gorgeous.....
    thanks for the tutorial. this will work on any frame and be very 'cool' looking.

  2. This is sooo cool! Love that red one too, but the blue is a close second!!!!! I might try apple green or yellow....thank you for this super easy idea!!!!!!!!

  3. You're right! I HAVE to crackle something now! Sending hubs to wal-mart to stock up on the glue!
    Your tutorial was excellent!


  4. COOL! I can do elmers. Thanks for the lesson! I do plan on using it very soon...
    Hugs- Tete

  5. Thanks for the tutorial. They turned out great! La

  6. Elmers glue! I'm gonna be crackling EVERYTHING!!!!!

  7. You had me at "cheap".... LOL... I love it. I am going out to try it right now. will let you know how it turns out!

    Thanks for the tip.
    have a great day.

  8. This is genius! I'm so going to Walmart to stock up on glue so I can do this!

  9. What a great technique! I'm so glad to know a new use for white glue.

  10. I've never done crackle with Elmmer's, only crackle stuff from Michael's. Nice!

    Atticmag has started a new Link party each Friday called Giveaway Friday!, a convenient place for bloggers to come post about their giveaway(s) each week.

    It's simple; after you put a link up to your giveaway, link back to Atticmag/Giveaway Friday on your blog. I hope you'll join us the next time you have a giveaway!

    We're kicking it off with a giveaway of our own - kitchen back splash material. So if you haven't already left a comment to win, drop by!

    Swinging by from BNOTP,

  11. I've never tried crackle but these are beautiful! I'm going to bookmark it to try it later. Thanks.

  12. Those colors are beautiful. Love the chalkboards.

  13. I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to.

    God Bless You ~Ron

  14. I just learned about crackle glue too. Isn't it amazing and all of it is cheap. The frames look great!


  15. I WILL be doing this, thanks a million. I just might get addicted :)

  16. I just found a stash of cabinet doors I was going to make into hairbow holders and have been tryring to decide o the right finish! Thanks for sharing this, I have a stash of elmers and am going to get right on it!

    New follower from the weekly linkup and I will be linking back to your post next week. ;)


    I just love the way this turned out! It's really beautiful, and something I think I can do too - which makes it even more inspiring! Thanks for sharing, and as always inspiring!
    P.S., stop by and let me know what you think of my little video I did of my house. I hope you like it - would love to know what you think!

  18. WOW I love this!!! So is this easier/better/cheaper to do then buying the crackle stuff at Michael's??

  19. What a great idea!! Thanks for sharing...I love cheap ways to make awesome finishes!

  20. What a great idea-and cheap-I'll have to try that!

  21. Great idea! Love those chalkboard!


  22. I like them all, but the red one does stand out quite a bit! Check back a couple of posts in my blog if you have a minute, I had some fun with chalkboard paint on my pantry door! Debbie @ Cottage Hann~Me~Downs

  23. Wow! How did you come up with this! You are saving people so much mulah! Thanks for your sweet comment about my teacup clock!

    love your guts

  24. Oooh... love your chalkboards, especially the white one! Gorgeous!!
    ~ Jo :)

  25. This is a great technique! Thanks for sharing it...I love to "crackle" paint...

  26. When you use flat paint does it erase well?

  27. Sarah, thanks for commenting and your question. The black paint is for a base coat only, I put a layer of chalkboard paint over it. That way the chalkboard paint covers better and goes further. Normally you would have to use 2 or more coats of chalkboard paint to get the best result. This way works just fine and saves money!

  28. GREAT IDEA and love it that it is so cheap and easy! Thanks for sharing!!

  29. I've got to try this on something soon. In fact I think I'll just pull out the glue tomorrow and do it!!! Thanks for the great idea!

  30. Awwww! Thank you so much for finding me now I have been able to find you too!

    Any way that we can inspire brings us great joy does it not? I am so happy that you found a peacefulness in my creative areas of my art and home. I scaled down to a simplure way of living and it really does give me a freedom to create and think clear.

    I am not a true shabby chic-er with all whites, I add soft creams in the oatmill tone so it has a bit of gray's to it and lots of raw washed with milky whites and gray's to the furniture piece's driftwood in tone :)

    Love the Primitives you create, my Mom is very Primitive Folkart and is just now going into a cream canvas duck slipcover for her sofa...Wow what a big move for her.

    Girl you keep on doing what moves your spirit in this wonderful world of blogging.
    I am a new follower :)

  31. thanks for all your ideas really like this one

  32. I thought about something more that you could do with this. Instead of the black chalkboard you could use beautiful artsy type of pictures that you might find at the dollar store or in magazines. Then you could mod podge them in the center space. Add a bead border at the edge of the center and you have a nice piece of art to hang on your wall.

  33. Love the crackle... especially the white over the black base coat. Using glue is so much more cost effective than using crackle products. Thanks for the post.

  34. I LOVE the crackle glue idea, thanks! I enjoy reading your blog & just wanted to let you know that I linked your blog in a post I did about a crackle painted sign.

    Check it my blog if you wish:

  35. I'm your latest follower!! Love your blog!

  36. Oh wow! Absolutely love this. The red one is pretty...but that blue one has me! Just a question...did you use black paint on all? If so, how did you do the black on white?


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