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.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

CHEAP Elmer's glue crackle chalkboards

Dear Faithful Readers - Here's a wonderful way to shabby up some simple frames for some very cool looking chalkboards. I' ll soon be back to regular posting now that I've finished chemo and radiation and the side effects are diminishing.

In the meantime, enjoy. It's simple and cheap and has a big WOW factor. You can do this!!

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 bargain builder's supplyat $1 each. 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.

Crackle, baby!

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 every time I do this. 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'm linking this up to the fun linky parties. Be there or be square!



  1. Very cool. I have a whole bag of small frames that I am looking to redo for a wall.This may be what I am going to do. I love how they turned out and so EASY!!


  2. I stopped in to check on you, and here's one of my favorite things I learned from you in your post. I love that you can do crackle with Elmer's glue...I used your technique on some wooden letters and it turned out beautifully! So glad your chemo and radiation are behind you, and I hope each day now is better than the day before. Take care of yourself! Best, Vicki

  3. Glad to hear your cancer treatment is over, and hope you feel much better soon! It's good to see you back. I love the frames. I've done a bit of this and it's great! I loved one I did, with silver acrylic paint, then crackle glaze, then white with the tiniest touch of grey (nicer than dead white) - really pretty with a silver and blue accented project. Love messing about with paints!

  4. Pretty cool... lov'in it!
    What an easy, clever craft... thanks for sharing :]

  5. I am so glad that the effects of the Chemo and Radiation are diminishing. That is really good news. You are such an amazing and inspirational person. I love to read your blog! You are always spreading a genuine joy.

  6. Those are awesome! Glad you are feeling a bit better. I think I am going to end up pinning almost your entire site! You are very talented

  7. I absolutely love this. I am going to try this myself because I love the look and it looks so amazingly easy!! Thank you for sharing!!

  8. Who knew you could use Elmer's glue to make a crackle finish??? So glad that you did! I will be stocking up on the glue now. Thank you for admiring my clocks. I am a newbie at blogging. Will keep your recovery in my prayers.
    Blessings, Audrey

  9. Those look great! I just picked up some chalk board paint this week and now I have an idea of what to do with it!

  10. How awesome did these turn out... I didn't know you could use glue to do that.

    Jeanna @ dramaqueenseams.blogspot.com

  11. Hi, me again! Thanks for the comment on my blog. Glad you like my Steampunk project! No worries about not getting back to me. I hope you are feeling really well now.

    I've been doing some more crackle glazing as you will have seen! I love this effect! If you want to see the frame with the silver, it's here:


    I had so much fun making that project! When I run out of the decorating crackle glaze I've got, I shall certainly try Elmer's.

  12. This is amazing! I've been looking for a great crackle paint tutorial and I think this one does the trick. So pretty!


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