Crackle Painting Tree Decoration Tutorial

by Gill Hobbs

Crackle Painting Tree Decoration Tutorial

These little skates are perfect for the tree. My Christmas tree is a mixture of lots of ornaments that I’ve gathered over the years and my favourite colour is red, bright and cheery. If you have a colour co-ordinated tree this colour way may not fit the scheme. On the DecoArt website there is a “Learning” section where you can find techniques and helpful information. You will find right at the top of the list “Americana Shading & Highlight Chart” This chart names the colours that work best with each other to add dimension to your project. It takes away the guess work on what will work together.

In my paint stash I have True Red the suggested colours they have listed are Rookwood Red and Cadmium Orange and I have these colours too. At this point I do several colour swatches on card to see what the outcomes will look like.

This is True Red, Emperors Gold painted on top of Yellow Ochre, Shimmering Silver painted on top of Slate Grey, and Titanium White. I’ve applied and dried the Crackle Medium and applied and dried my top coat of paint, this is the results.

I like the red on white and the white on red and the white over silver for the blades. I’ll do two colour ways. White as the palest colour and has no highlight colour. I’m going to try the shading colour for White Wash which is Slate Grey.

By playing with colour on card I don’t waste my MDF shapes, because sometimes what you see in your minds eye doesn’t work out on your project.

I’ve done my shading and highlighting and am extremely pleased with the outcome. The grey shading did not work on this I thought it was too harsh I tried to wipe it off with a cotton bud and it lifted the top coat – a coat of clear glaze medium will seal the crackle, another lesson learnt. I tried the shading again with a bit of True Red in the grey. I’ve also experimented with a fur trim for the top of the skates.

I’ve found a super video on YouTube that clearly shows how to use Weathered Wood Crackle Medium, there is not much information out there to find and this one is really good. Thank You to Sheila for her permission to share this here with you.

Let’s get painting.

Instructions for Red on White Skate

Use a ¾ Wash brush and seal both skates with DecoArt All Purpose Sealer. Dry.

Use a 10 Flat brush. Paint each section with White and Silver including the sides and think about where the heel of the boot is and paint accordingly. Note use Slate Grey as a base colour for Silver. Several coats of paint will give an opaque finish and dry between each coat of paint. Brush on thin coats of paint this will give you a smoother finish on your project, thick coats of paint can leave ridges in your paint and if not dried thoroughly the paint will lift off when the next coat is brushed on.

With fine sandpaper or a crumpled up brown paper bag, sand the project gently you don’t want to remove the paint, this will smooth out any furred/fluffy edges on the MDF, the cut side edges will always be a different texture.

Using No 10 Flat brush. Work one side at a time. Dry between each application of medium. First apply Weathered Wood over the Titanium White and Silver with No 10 Flat brush (make sure you wash the brush, this is sticky stuff to use). Dry. Apply top coat of True Red over White and White over the Silver and dry. Apply a coat of Glazing Medium to seal and protect your crackle. Dry. (Glazing Medium is white be aware of the puddle of left over white paint!) Repeat on the other side. Touch up the side/cut edges of the boot with True Red and dry. Do this after glazing because your brush may accidentally touch the blade section if it does wipe the red paint off with a dampened cotton bud before it dries. The blade section can be touched up in the same way with White. Dry.

Highlighting & Shading

Mark with a pencil 10mm/ 4/10th of an inch down from the top of the boot.

½ Angle brush float Cadmium Orange from the boots toe all the way up to the top and from the top of the heel bulge all the way to the top. Dry and repeat if necessary to give a very soft Highlight.

½ Angle brush float Rookwood Red along the bottom of the boot and under the line at the top of the boot, carry these shading floats all the way around. Dry and repeat if necessary

½ Angle brush float Slate Grey on the heel under the boot and the blade where the boot is attached. Dry and repeat if necessary.

Darken the cut edge under the boot with Rookwood Red and dry.

Stippled Fur Edging

This is the same technique used to create my “Thank Ewe” project http://youtu.be/cqSCRd7KxUI

¼ Deerfoot brush, use the brush dry, stipple True Red on the top stripe all the way around and dry. Wash and dry the brush repeat stippling with Cadmium Orange, allow some of the True Red to show through and dry. Wash & dry the brush repeat with Titanium White allowing the other colours to show through. Wash & dry the brush repeat with Silver and dry. Wash and dry the brush, repeat with Titanium White and dry.

Optional – I’ve added a small stencilled snowflake and added some dots of silver with a stylus. I used the Viva Decor My Paper World Flexible Stencils - Christmas Borders, self adhesive vinyl stencils that stick onto your project eliminating seepage. Highly recommended.

Leave to dry thoroughly and seal your finished project with 2 or 3 coats of Duraclear Gloss Varnish.

Matching ribbons on Red is hard unless you have the finished project to compare, I will use a 7mm White Satin.

Instructions for White on Red

This is basically the same but a lot easier to apply the top coat over the crackle medium.

Use a 10 Flat brush. Paint each section with True Red and Silver including the sides and think about where the heel of the boot is and paint accordingly. Note use Slate Grey as a base colour for Silver.

With fine sandpaper or a crumpled up brown paper bag, sand the project gently you don’t want to remove the paint, this will smooth out any furred/fluffy edges on the MDF, the cut edge will always be a different texture.

Using No 10 Flat brush. Work one side at a time. Dry between each application of medium. First apply Weathered Wood over the True Red and Silver with No 10 Flat brush (make sure you wash the brush, this is sticky stuff to use). Dry. Apply top coat of Titanium White over the True Red and the Silver and dry. Apply a coat of Glazing Medium to seal and protect your crackle. Dry. (Glazing Medium is white be aware of the puddle of left over white paint!) Repeat on the other side. Touch up the side/cut edges of the boot and blade with Titanium White and dry.

Shading – No Highlighting on White as it is the palest colour available

Mark with a pencil 10mm/ 4/10th of an inch down from the top of the boot.

½ Angle brush float a brush mix of Slate Grey and True Red along the bottom of the boot and under the line at the top of the boot, carry these shading floats all the way around. Dry and repeat if necessary

½ Angle brush float Slate Grey on the heel under the boot and the blade where the boot is attached. Dry and repeat if necessary.

Darken the cut edge under the boot with a brush mix of Slate Grey and True Red.

Stippled Fur Edging

¼ Deerfoot brush, use the brush dry, stipple True Red on the top stripe all the way around and dry. Wash and dry the brush repeat stippling with Slate Grey, allow some of the True Red to show through and dry. Wash & dry the brush repeat with Titanium White allowing the other colours to show through. Wash & dry the brush repeat with Silver and dry. Wash and dry the brush, repeat with Titanium White and dry.

Optional – Using True Red I’ve added a small stencilled snowflake and added some dots of silver. Leave to dry thoroughly and seal your finished project with 2 or 3 coats of Duraclear Gloss Varnish.

Ribbon colour is not such a big problem on this colour way but I will still use a 7mm White Satin.

These two skates clearly show the uniqueness of each project, you think you apply the Weathered Wood the same each time and yet the outcome is so different.

I’m glad I tried both colour ways; I still can’t decide which I like best.

Products Mentioned

  • DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint 59ml 2oz - Cadmium Orange DA014
  • DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint 59ml 2oz - Rookwood Red DA097
  • DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint 59ml 2oz - Slate Grey DA068-3
  • DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint 59ml 2oz - Snow (Titanium) White DA01
  • DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint 59ml 2oz - True Red DA129-3
  • DecoArt Americana Paint Medium 59ml (2oz) - Faux Glazing DS18-3
  • DecoArt Americana Paint Medium - Weathered Wood Crackle 2oz DAS8
  • DecoArt Dazzling Metallics Acrylic Paint 59ml (2oz) - Shimmering Silver DA070
  • DecoArt DuraClear Varnish - 59ml Gloss DS19
  • DecoArt Multi-Purpose Sealer DS17 59ml
  • Kars Waterproof Sanding Mats - Pack of 4
  • Leonhardy Angle Shader Brush - 1/2
  • Leonhardy Deerfoot Stippler Brush - Size - 1/4 #20835
  • Leonhardy Flat Brush - Shader Size 10 #20828
  • Leonhardy Flat Brush - Wash Size 3/4
  • May Arts 7mm wide 100% Pure Silk Ribbon 2m - White SK01
  • Pronty MDF Shape 10cm Classic Ice Skate - 4pcs #703272
  • Stencil Classics Double Ended Embossing Tool
  • Viva Decor Flexible Sticky Stencil - Christmas Borders #11

Gill Hobbs

Hi Everyone, I’m Gill Hobbs, a Decorative Painter & Teacher from North Cornwall. Visit my Blog and YouTube Channel to see more of what can be achieved with brushes and paint.