Crackled & Aged Image Transfer Paint Finish Tutorial

This old metal mop bucket was great as is but we knew it could be so much more interesting with a beautiful old graphic and a crackle paint finish!  After a good cleaning, we stippled on a thick application of Easy Crackle with our round brush.  Easy Crackle is a much thinner medium than Crackle Tex, so we felt it would be the best choice for the layering underneath the image transfer.  We also wanted a fine crackle effect in the image itself, which Easy Crackle produces beautifully.

Once our Easy Crackle was completely dry, we loaded up our paint brush and applied a thick layer of paint all over the bucket.  Being careful not to overwork the paint, we attempted just one pass over each section.  When working with crackle mediums and paint, it’s important to remember brushing back and forth over your crackle medium will result in fewer cracks.

As the paint dried, cracks began to appear.  Applying Easy Crackle in a “stippled” application resulted in these fine spiderweb-type cracks.

If you want to achieve a cleaner, more precise look, at this point, you may want to seal your dry crackle paint finish with 2 thin coats of Artisan Enhancements Clear Topcoat Sealer. Allow the sealed crackled paint finish a day or two to cure before proceeding to the Transfer Gel image application.  As we were after a very rustic, chippy effect for this bucket, we moved on to the next step without applying sealer.

Our floral label from The Graphics Fairy was printed on a laser printer at our local print shop for under $1.  We requested to have the image reversed and printed on 24lb paper.  In order to avoid the white “halo” effect that often occurs with image transfer, we chose to cut out our image before application.

You can choose to apply your Transfer Gel to your graphic or to your project (surface).  Either way works, just make sure that you apply enough Transfer Gel to completely adhere the paper to your project.

We then applied our paper, face down onto the bucket, carefully smoothing out any bubbles.

Be sure to allow your Transfer Gel to dry at least 24 hours before attempting to remove the paper fibers.  The longer you wait, the better your chances are at a successful transfer.  We used a damp sponge to wet sections of the paper and very carefully rubbed the paper fibers away with our finger tips.

The crackle was just visible enough through the image to make it look as though the label had been painted on the bucket and left to age overtime.  This was precisely the look we were after!

To further age the paint finish, we decided to add a custom tinted Scumble glaze.  Again, if you want to have more control over your finish, you may choose to apply Clear Topcoat Sealer before proceeding.  We felt like this old bucket was going to look best chippy and well-weathered, so we moved on the glaze without sealing.

To create our custom antique brown glaze, we mixed 1 part brown paint to 5 parts Scumble glaze medium, measuring and mixing with a teaspoon.  We then used our round brush to slather the glaze all over the bucket, wiping back with a damp sponge.

We decided to further distress the finish with our damp sponge, revealing the original finish of the bucket underneath the layers we had applied.  Once dry, we used our 45mm Topcoat Brush to apply a thin layer of Clear Topcoat Sealer to the entire bucket.  Twenty four hours later, we brushed on a second thin coat.  This crackled, aged graphic bucket would make a great planter for a patio or front porch and because Clear Topcoat Sealer is exterior grade, it is ready for outdoor use!

We hope this tutorial has inspired you to try layering a few different products and techniques for a paint finish that is truly one of a kind!

Please feel free to pin this post for future reference and share the inspiration with your friends!

Be sure to hashtag #artisanenhancements when you share your projects on social media!  We love seeing your creations!

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