Can I control the size and direction of the cracks?
The size of the cracks will depend on the thickness of the crackle layer. The thicker the layer the bigger the cracks. You can experiment with different barriers to influence the way the cracks form and isolate the crackle within different areas of a project. Examples here show the use of blu-tack, masking tape and cookie cutters used to confine crackle to specific areas and allow thicker layers within those areas. The platelets adjacent to an edge tend to form at right angles with the edge, and tend to be longer and thinner than the cracks as they move further from the edge. Masking tape can be useful to make a barrier around the edges of a panel, if you want larger cracks right up to the edge. When using the DeMented Derma technique, the pattern of cracks can be influence by the direction of the brush strokes in the pva glue layer and the crackle layer can be manipulated with tools or brushes before being heated.
I am seeing very few cracks and the cracks that have formed are very small.
There are two main problems that can affect cracking and stop it from happening. You may have applied a layer of crackle that is not thick enough – this might happen if a brush is used to apply crackle instead of a palette knife or similar tool. Thinking of applying the crackle like icing a cake may help, you should be aiming for a layer around a millimeter thick. Alternatively too much paint may have been added to the crackle before applying. You can mix in small amounts of acrylic paint to crackle - up to approximately five percent before applying, but larger amounts than this can prevent cracks from forming. For stronger colours, use artists quality, high tint strength colours, or acrylic inks to tint the crackle.
I have waited over twenty-four hours and the crackle is barely cracking and is still wet. How long will it take to dry?
There are several factors that affect the length of the drying time. The thicker the crackle layer the longer it will take to dry, and the bigger the cracks will be. The surface that it is applied to will affect the length of the drying time. An absorbent surface like canvas or other fabrics will take longer than a denser smoother surface like heavy paper or card. The temperature and humidity of the place where you leave the crackle to dry will also affect the drying time. A warm dry place will shorten the drying time.
Can I accelerate the drying time?
If you need a shorter drying time try using the DeMented Derma technique using a layer of pva glue and a heat tool. This technique causes cracks to occur within minutes, but the surface will have a different look than using the slow drying basic technique. This is a useful technique to use if you want to work on a 3D surface.
It is possible to speed up the later stages of the basic technique once the cracks have formed by using a heat tool. If a heat tool is used on a partially cracked surface, the force of the hot air will influence the way the cracks cluster making some interesting but less uniform effects.
The cracked platelets are barely attached to the surface and seem like they will flake off.
When the cracks form each separate little platelet is attached in only one spot, often a point the size of a pinhead. However this point of attachment is usually quite strong especially if a layer of acrylic paint or medium is coating the underlying surface. Once all the cracks have formed it is important to apply a layer of acrylic medium to seal the surface and make sure all the platelets are held firmly in place. Fluid acrylic medium diluted with water is recommended as it will penetrate the crackle material making a strong bond with the surface while not affecting the appearance of the cracked surface. Thicker, more heavy bodied gels will also work, but brushstrokes may remain visible, affecting the look of the finished texture. Acrylic colours may be added to the acrylic medium to create different tints. If acrylic colours are applied on top of the dried crackle layer they can act as a sealer as they contain the same gluey binders as clear acrylic mediums.
The cracks that have formed make little platelets that are curving upwards.
These can be smoothed back down with a paintbrush or with your fingers when sealing the surface with acrylic medium.
I want a clear cracked surface but the Kroma Crackle changed colour when it dried and turned white.
Kroma crackle is a clear gel that turns white as it dries. It cannot be used as a varnish type layer that allows the surface underneath to be completely visible. It can be used as a cracked textured surface that you can paint on top of using many kinds of art materials.
I applied a layer of acrylic colour to the surface, let it dry, then applied Kroma Crackle. The acrylic colour that I applied did not show between the cracks once dry.
There are two main reasons why this can happen. The first is that if the layer of acrylic is still wet when the Kroma Crackle is applied, the Kroma Crackle will try to pull the paint with it as it cracks, revealing the surface beneath. The second reason could be that the acrylic paint used is low quality and not strong enough to adhere to the surface as the crackle platlets are separating from one another.
I followed the instructions for the DeMented Derma technique and got a crusty bumpy surface.
When using this technique, the thicker the crackle layer the bumpier the surface will be. To achieve an instant crackle effect without a bumpy raised surface use the DeMented Derma technique with only a thin layer of crackle.
When should I seal the crackle layer?
When the crackle layer is completely dry it will have turned white. You do not need to wait until the crackle layer is completely dry before sealing. You can seal it once all the cracks have completely formed. The acrylic medium will make the white platelets softer and transparent again, but as it dries they will continue to turn white once more.