Step 3: Paint the Top Coat

applying a top coat of purple paint over faux crackle for a kitchen island
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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Using a clean, dry brush, apply the top-coat color in a flat finish over all the painted surfaces. Even before you're finished with the entire piece, you'll see the top coat start to shrink up and reveal the color—and history—beneath.

Let the piece cure overnight before using it.

Finally, if you're crackling a surface that will get a lot of wear and tear—such as a tabletop, a chair seat, or a step stool—finish it with a satin clear coat to keep it from chipping. Otherwise, leave it as is for the most realistic aged finish.
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    Tools List

    • sponge
      Damp sponge to clean off dirt
    • 3-inch wide paint brush
      3-inch nylon-polyester paintbrushes Get two 
so that you'll have a clean one ready for the top coat.
    • bucket with liner
      Cut bucket and liners

    Shopping List

    1. Latex primer-sealer to create a good surface for the base coat

    2. Crackle medium. We used Sherwin-Williams' Faux Impressions Crackle.3. Latex paint in two colors. Choose high-contrast colors for the most dramatic effect. For best results, be sure to use a flat or matte finish for the bottom coat. Eggshell will work for the top coat, but nothing shinier.

    4. Water-based polyurethane (optional) to clear-coat and protect the crackle finish. Satin will look the best.