Alligatoring - How Can I Make It Happen (No, not a typo)

beth0301August 10, 2013

I am trying to achieve an alligator/cracked paint finish. Normally I know how to do this but for a particular project, I'm a little stumped. Normally I would use a latex crackling agent applied over a base coat and then followed by a top coat, which would crackle/alligator because of the agent, allowing the base coat to show through.

The project I'm wanting to do, however, cannot have a base coat. Plus i would prefer it be done in an oil paint. Someone suggesting wetting the bare wood and then applying the oil paint to it. Presumably the paint would crack from the moisture drying in the wood.

Would that do it? Is there a better way to cause this problem so many try hard to prevent? I'm antiquing some brand new items that were built in a primitive style and want the paint to crackle. Instead of the traditional base color showing through, I want the bare wood to show through.

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Annie Deighnaugh

You can try it using elmer's glue as the base which dries transparent....

Here is a link that might be useful: Elmer's glue crackle

    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 12:02PM
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I thought about that, but then I wouldn't be able to put stain over it and highlight the underneath. Someone suggested chalk paint applied super thick and then sanding. I was hoping to go oil since it'll have a lot of things set on it and a lot of cleaning.

I think I'll take some scrap boards and try the elmers method plus some thick chalk paint and see if either work.


    Bookmark   August 11, 2013 at 6:01PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I'm not sure I understand what the issue is. The glue goes underneath and is clear so the wood will show through. If you then use a flat paint on top, you should still be able to apply a coat of stain over it, certainly a gel stain will work, but you may not need to depending on how the alligatoring works. Then you can seal over top with a few coats of urethane in whatever gloss you want. No need to use oil based products...the water based urethanes can be pretty tough.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 8:00AM
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You can definitely apply stain over the Elmer's glue crackle.

It will stain the glue

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 1:23PM
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Google "crackle medium"

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 9:28PM
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This came to mind. Never tried it, dont know if it works.
Take two small samples of your coating, put one in the fridge and one in the freezer. Test. Tell us how it turned out.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 8:35PM
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I'm going to try this process with milk paint and heat.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 9:40PM
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