How to Paint Over A Crackle Faux Finish

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Cracked PaintPainting over a cracked or crackle style faux finish can be fairly tricky.  As you know all faux painting can be painted over, but each time you decide to paint over any paint you have to take into account what it is you are covering up.  Some finishes take a little extra effort to “start fresh”.

I got this email from a desperate newsletter subscriber:

Hi!  I am in a bit of a bind.  I painted my walls a dark purple and then used the crackle faux finish on top.  However, I didn’t like it and painted over the crackle with more of the dark purple.
Now, I’d like to put my house on the market to sell and want to repaint the bedroom a neutral color.
Is there anyway to remove the crackle, or to make it so I can paint over it?  Does it just need to be sanded off or will primer work?
Thanks for any help you can give me!!

What a job it would be to sand the walls down below the crackle finish!  Oh my gosh…I just can’t even imagine.  Not a project I would EVER want to tackle.  Egads!!!  I do have a few suggestions that will be easier and quicker.

1. The paint and crackle mediums make a huge impact on what you will do next. Let’s assume that they are all acrylic – water based – materials.  If you used soap and water to clean up the brushes… then you used water based mediums.

2. The crackle finish is being reactivated with the paint overlay.  Every layer is still affected by the previous layer.  The crackling is probably somewhat less with each coat, but still a problem.

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3. The crackle finish creates a high/low texture on the wall, which will show even if the crackling isn’t activating.

So… how should you tackle this problem without cracking up? :)

My suggestion is to use an oil based primer.  Get a small can to start… it isn’t cheap stuff.  Try this on a small area of you wall…  in an out of the way spot, like behind the door or headboard area.  Use 2 coats if needed, dry time will be listed on the can.  The oil based primer smells and is somewhat toxic if used in unventilated areas… so make sure you keep the windows open and the fans on!

If the primer cracks… I don’t mean showing a crackled texture, but actually cracks, then try a water based primer on another area of your wall.  Water or oil based  – a primer should be the answer to keep the crackle finish from activating.

Once you find the primer solution, continue on the entire wall.

The paint you choose to finish your room should be a flat finish.  Any sheen in the paint will highlight the imperfections in the walls.  I know…I know…I hate flat paint, but if you’re selling your home… then this will be the best choice.

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  1. lindsay says

    Has anyone evr painted stripes using tape and then tried to paint over them? I cant get rid of the “lines” where the paint built up.

  2. Jeanie says

    Hi, I have use scotch tape. Not the cheep stuff. It works great for a small area. If you are painting stripes, I would do only 2 or 3 at a time and remove the tape as soon as possible. Make sure the area being taped is clean and very dry. I don’t use flat paint very often, so I do not know if this would work on such a surface. Also press the tape down so there are no air bubbles and paint over it carefully so the paint is not too thick. I always leave myself a tab. This makes removing the tape easier.
    May I offer another suggestion? When painting the trim around windows, I use strips of wet newspaper. It sticks to the windows nicely and I don’t have to be so carefull not to get paint on the glass.

  3. Michelle says

    Hi. I recently used the 3 step process of crackle paint for the first time on one wall of my kitchen. Some of the wall didn’t crackle as much as the other. Can I put the crackle medium and top coat over those spots to create more of a crackle effect?
    I’m also reading that using sand paper or a wire brush can create the weathered look I’m trying to create. However, I have tried sandpaper and it did not work.
    Looking forward to you response.

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