The crackle finish is a technique that uses two paint colours. The base coat is painted, and after it dries a crackle medium is applied. That's followed by a second colour of paint. As the second colour dries, the crackle medium causes it to crack, allowing the base colour to show through the cracks. Learn the way paint colours work together and you'll know how to choose the best paint colours for your crackle paint finish.
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Complementary colours are popular choices for crackle finishes. They're opposite each other on the colour wheel, so they provide the maximum amount of contrast to each other. That contrast is what makes the crackle finish stand out. Examples of complementary colours are green-and-purple and blue-and-orange.
Harmonious colours are no further than three spaces from each other on the colour wheel. That means the colours work well together because they're similar without being in the same colour family. Crackling with harmonious colours guarantees the colours will blend nicely while still providing two distinct colours to the crackle finish. Examples of harmonious colours include green-and-yellow and blue-and-purple.
Monochromatic colours are tones of the same colour. Monochromatic colours are found on the same spoke of the colour wheel and are lighter or darker variations of each other. Monochromatic colours work well with crackle finishes because they add to the antiqued appearance of the piece. This crackle finish often doesn't appear to be two colours. They appear as one colour that's faded or worn through the years. Combinations like ivory-and-khaki or navy blue-and-sapphire blue are examples of monochromatic colours.
Metallic paints are designed to look like gold, silver, copper or bronze. Metallic paints often have a sheen to them that is reminiscent of automobiles. They work well with crackling finishes. They add a richness that implies the piece was once metal or covered in metal. It's not uncommon to see a metallic paint used as the base coat while another colour is used on top of the crackle finish. This gives you the look of the metallic showing through while it's calmed by the colour of the paint used over it. Ivory works especially well with gold, while black or white work well with silver. Bronze and copper work better with deep colours like dark green or navy blue than with pastels like pink or light green.
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