A pair of red spray painted paper maché rocking horses caught my eye on one of my recent thrifting adventures. Immediately I had a vision of one of those gorgeous old antique wooden rocking horses with the lovely crackled paint. It was then that I knew I had a couple of fun new canvases to work on!
The first step was to paint an “undercoat.” I used a custom mix of 4 parts Pure White to 1 part French Linen. Once that was completely dry, I grabbed my Artisan Enhancements Easy Crackle.
Easy Crackle creates a beautiful, natural looking aged crackle. It has no VOC, which I love. Brush it on for linear cracks or stipple it for a more irregular crackle. I chose to brush it on in some places and stipple it on others for this project as I feel the variation creates the most organic overall crackle finish.
It is important to apply the Easy Crackle liberally, not so much that it’s dripping, but a thick enough layer to make it effective.
Once the Easy Crackle has completely dried, you are ready to apply your top coat of paint. I chose to use Old White. As you brush on this coat of paint, it is so important not to overwork the surface. The cracks start to appear very quickly, and brushing back over them will ruin the effect.
You can see how the soft grey base coat shows through in the cracks. Notice that I didn’t try to get full coverage with the Old White but left some of the crevices grey as well. I think this really adds to the natural looking aged patina.
The next step was to antique and enhance the crackled finish with one more technique. Scumble by Artisan Enhancements is a transparent, tintable medium that acts as a glaze over painted surfaces. You might remember me using it in my Artful Storage post a few weeks ago.
I love the versatility of being able to create any color of glaze that I could possibly want just by mixing a little paint into the Scumble product. In this case I used French Linen. I started with about 1 part French Linen to 5 parts Scumble, brushed it onto an area of the horse and knew immediately that it was going to be too subtle for this finish, so I added a tiny bit more French Linen and tried again.
This time it was perfect. I used my paint brush to apply the Scumble mix, wiping off the excess and smoothing it out with a wet wipe immediately after. I have also used a damp sea sponge for this step and even stippled off the Scumble in areas for a very different effect. In this case the wet wipes were handy and helped me achieve the smooth, glazed finish I was after. Scumble has an open time of approximately 15-20 minutes, which means there is sufficient time to play with the glaze and get your finish just right before it dries completely. If the color or look isn’t working for you, you can wipe it off with a moistened rag and start over!
I was so happy with the effect of the French Linen tinted Scumble and how it brought out the features in the horse’s face as well as the beautiful cracks created with the Easy Crackle product.
After having painted the rocking stand in French Linen, it was time to seal the entire piece in order to protect its new finish.
Clear Topcoat Sealer by Artisan Enhancements is a no VOC, non yellowing sealer. Very little product is needed to create a protective coat on your finished surface. I used a Topcoat brush from Artisan Enhancements for the application and you can see what a small amount of product I actually loaded onto my brush each time I brushed it on. If I were sealing a piece of furniture, I would wait 24 hours and apply a second coat. For this decorative piece that I don’t expect to be handled much, I was comfortable applying just one coat of sealer.
Once the Clear Topcoat Sealer had dried, I added a glittered snowflake to the horse’s neck. A little sparkle is always welcome, especially during this time of year!
This pretty rocking horse with it’s new antiqued, crackled and glazed finish went straight to Camas Antiques to be a part of my Christmas display. The second one is in the garage awaiting it’s transformation and I plan to create this exact same finish on it…and then I just might hold onto it and enjoy it in my own home for a while.
Disclosure: This is an Artisan Enhancements sponsored post, however the opinions and ideas expressed here are mine and I will only ever promote products that I enjoy using and feel may benefit my readers.
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