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Crackle Canvas

By: Spesh Ink
June 23, 2015

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Crackle Canvas
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A step by step tutorial for creating a mixed media crackle canvas.

Items needed:

  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Gesso - Black
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Gesso - White
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - Crackle Paste - White
  • DecoArt Media Misters - Yellow Green
  • DecoArt Media Misters - Primary Yellow
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Quinacridone Gold
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Cobalt Teal Hue
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Phthalo Turquoise
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Naphthol Red Light
  • DecoArt Media Fluid Acrylics - Hansa Yellow Medium
  • DecoArt Media Mediums and Specialty Products - White Tinting Base
  • DecoArt Media Antiquing Creams - Patina Green
  • Canvas
  • Paint Brushes
  • Stencils
  • Palette Knife
  • Craft Mat
  • Paper Towels


Instruction #1 - DSC 0335
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Gesso the canvas to prep the surface and then using a pallet knife apply the crackle paste to the canvas randomly, varying the thickness of the paste in places. Let the crackle paste dry naturally.

Instruction #2 - 172
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Once the crackle paste is dry, using the pallet knife apply the modeling paste to create a haphazard frame around the crackle and let dry.

Instruction #3 - 245
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Base coat everything with the tinting base. As some of the colours I will be using are transparent I like to work off a white base to make the lighter colours pop more.The cracked area was then painted with Hansa yellow.

Instruction #4 - 389
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A light coat of cadmium orange hue went over the Hansa yellow followed by a wash of napthol red light.

When using washes I tend to use a mop brush as they hold lots of water compared to a standard flat brush.

You will not need a lot of paint here, squeeze out a pea sized blob of fluid acrylic onto your craft mat, dunk your brush into clean water and slowly mix, I also keep a mini mister close by. Apply the wash to the cracked area, it should flow evenly across the surface,if you find to much paint is being left behind just give a little squirt with the mister.

Instruction #5 - 415
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To bring out the cracks and add a colour contrast use the antiquing cream, like with the fluid acrylics, a little goes a long time no way. I applied the antiquing cream with my finger so I could really work it into the cracks.

Instruction #6 - 510
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You can find Andy Skinners video tutorial on the antiquing creams for more in depth information about using antiquing creams.

To add more texture and interest to the back ground use the acrylic misters.

As these are an acrylic rather than water based dye mister they sit on your painted surface perfectly and dry like paint, they will not be reactive with water or varnishes which for me is a big bonus.

Instruction #8 - 613
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Instruction #9 - 751
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For the boarder I base coated with Phthalo turquoise followed by a rough coat of cobalt teal hue.

Instruction #10 - 891
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Mixing cobalt teal with some tinting base I started dry brushing the framed area. This step was repeated several times lightening the cobalt teal each time. The dry brushing picks out the raised details and texture but It's important that almost all of your paint has been removed from the brush before dry brushing. Load up the paint onto your brush and wipe the excess away by swiping across a paper towel. Very lightly flick the tip of the brush across the surface, don't apply to much pressure the idea is to leave the paint on the high spots only.

Instruction #11 - 1050
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I decided to use gesso for my stenciling, being that little bit thicker it helps prevent bleeding under the stencil which is great when working on uneven surfaces. The beauty of the fluid acrylics is the white gesso is easily tinted.  My main image was stenciled first using the black gesso.

Instruction #12 - 1145
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Adding just 2 drops of Quinacridone gold to a blob of white gesso about an inch across and mixing together with my pallet knife to get a nice warm creamy orange colour.

Instruction #13 - 1252
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I used the Andy skinner stencil and daisies and placed them so they would look like they were behind the main image.

Instruction #14 - 1382
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I finished off by adding the words using black gesso again.

Instruction #15 - main10
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The whole canvas was sealed with a couple of coats of satin varnish.


grest tutorial Mark. I really like this piece.

Candy Colwell

June 23, 2015

What a beautiful canvas Mark - great tutorial too!

Anne R

June 23, 2015

Love your cracks and the colours are just fab, so a great result. x


June 23, 2015

Thanks for the step by step tutorial Mark. The piece is very cool. Love the crackle!


July 15, 2015

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