Friday, February 7, 2014

How to Use Cracked Patina

Cracked Patina is one of our most coveted finishes in the Amy Howard Collection. I love that it is a mix of old world grody and weathered patina. Cracked Patinas and grody finishes are best on pieces that can visually support the texture that this finish will bring. Smaller and more delicate pieces cannot support this finish as well as larger chests, trumeaus, armoires, carved consoles etc.. 

Use your imagination as far as color combination. Again, it is good to study art in history and antiques for inspiration. I also like to use monochromatic colors to build up light to dark in gray values or reds, blues etc.. Look at window shutters as inspiration for color combinations and looks for the cracked patina.

The example that I am using to show you how to do a Cracked Patina finish is more oriental in nature, strictly because of the color selection of red and black. 

Materials Needed:
-Clean piece of furniture to paint
-Amy Howard At Home One Step Paint
-2 3" sponge brushes
-2 2" China Brushes
-T-shirt rag
-Amy Howard At Home Cracked Patina
-Amy Howard At Home Light Wax
-Amy Howard At Home Dark Wax
-Amy Howard At Home Dust of Ages
-Cardboard Palette
-Stir Sticks
-Water to clean up

How To:

Start with a clean surface. 
Clean your piece of furniture with a degreaser and get off old grime or dirt. 
Then you can simply spray or brush on the One Step paint on your piece. 100% coverage of your base color on your piece. Remember the smallest amount of color showing through your crack or finish is the first color. 
So we have brushed on our Chinese Red One Step paint first. 
One coat is fine since we are coming back with more coats of paint. 
Allow 30 minutes for your first coat to dry
Shake the cracked patina vigorously and pour a quarter cup in a small bowl to work from.
Dipping your sponge brush or china bristle into the Cracked Patina you will apply it in the same way as you brush on your paint. 
Be careful not to overlap and get too thick. 
*The thicker your application the larger your crack.
Now that you have applied the Amy Howard at Home Cracked Patina mixture allow it to dry for 30 minutes.
*Make sure not to have puddles or thick overlapping areas. 
It will look shiny but it will be completely dry to the touch before you start your next step.
Taking my black One Step paint I will liberally apply the 2nd coat of paint over my dried cracked patina. 
I am going to work quickly to apply the paint. 
In the same direction as the grain of the wood. 
Be careful not to go over the paint that is starting to dry. 
Keep a wet edge as you brush into the paint. 
Get a complete coverage of 100% over your piece.
Your piece is entirely covered.
Taking a clean dry brush. Pull across the wet paint. 
Just as it begins to dry and look not so shiny but within 5 minutes or so.
Pull across the finish laying your brush down and lightly pulling across the wet finish. 
You will start to see the first coat underneath and start together texture with the top black coat.
Pulling black off to show red
What pulling looks like
After I have pulled the top coat with a brush, I immediately come back and pull the black off here and there with my hands.
Dry pulling
Here is a close up of the pulling technique. 
I am careful to keep a composition to my distress so there is a beautiful color and composition to the underneath color.
Touch Up
I will go back here and there and touch up with some One Step Black paint to soften the areas that I pulled. The final result before waxing looks like this.
After pulling the finish, allow it to dry completely and lightly sand to soften the piece. NOT to wear it through but just soften the areas that have created a beautiful texture with this technique. 
Waxing: After all the pulling is done. 
Then you are ready to wax your piece. 
Starting with our light wax application all over, allow to dry 10 minutes then apply our dark wax at the edges of your pieces, around areas that would have gotten dirt and wear. 
**Do not use the dark wax all over the piece. It will make your color and finish look too even and even muddy. It is just for accents and raising detail. 
Light Wax first goes over the Cracked Patina
Dark Wax is after our Light Wax given about 5-10 minutes
Follow up with the Amy Howard At Home Dust of Ages. 
After your wax and dried and you added a liberal amount of Dust of Ages
Add Dust of Ages while your wax is tack but not gooey.
Be generous with dust. Buff to sheen.
Buff the Dust of Ages into the finish and leave it in the crevices to show detail and add to your composition. 

Cracked Patina Example:

Here is an example of the Tivoli Console in the Amy Howard Collection.
We use a combination of monochromatic grays to achieve depth and authenticity to the finish.


  1. I think **THIS** is the product I am most excited to try! I'm not a huge fan of traditional "crackle" products and this gorgeousness is exactly the look I want...authentic, not too "done"'s perfect!

  2. Looking forward to trying this finish, too.