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Crackle Glaze

Open House Miniatures - crackle glaze effect

This blog entry is completely biased – I am not an admirer “Crackle Glaze” products and usually dislike the utterly fake effect they produce.

When the same product is the put in a smaller bottle, with a label on it that says  “For Miniature Work” (or similar) steam begins to come out of my ears and I see red.

The reason for this over-the-top reaction is unhappy experience of full-size “crackle” effect  – huge, cavernous cracks separating vast areas of glaze – all over my hard work.

So what do I do if I need  a cracked, aged effect in miniature?

The example above is on the flat surface of a card screen, which has been painted with household emulsion paint (with a “washable” surface).

When this paint was completely dry, I applied a coat of washable PVA glue.

It was a thick coat and I brushed it on up and down, top to bottom, following what would be the grain of the wood in real life.

When the glue was completely dry, I varnished over the top of it with a water-based household (Ronseal) clear matt varnish.

On one panel I applied the varnish with quick light strokes, top to bottom – in the same direction as the glue.

On the other two panels I scrubbed the brush around a bit and the glue dissolved and formed  disastrous looking, lumpy globules.

I let this coat of varnish dry completely – lumps and all – and as it dried cracks formed in it.

I found these cracks impossible to photograph – so I moved on to the next stage and lightly sanded, up and down, the imaginary grain of the wood.

(I used the fine sand-paper that is sold for sharpening pencils – this is the finest grade, that works on this sort of surface, I have ever found )

When the surface was no longer lumpy, I brushed on a coat of coloured varnish (Ronseal, medium oak, gloss), and watched that sink into the cracks.

Then I brushed on some more coloured varnish ( I wanted a dark treacley finish) – and then I let the varnish dry completely.

Open House miniatures - crackle glaze wet

The final stage was all sanding, and then more sanding, until the surface was smooth.

I then rubbed over the sanded surface with an old towel, to remove the dust, and the surface came up clean with a softly polished glow.

I may continue to sand until the majority of the coloured varnish is gone, but for today I stopped here.

Open House Miniatures - crackle glaze detail

Different paint, PVA and varnish give slightly different finishes (some with a much smaller “crack” effect. It is worthwile practicing on spare card, or paper until you get a result that pleases you.

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