Monday, November 4, 2013

Why is this Crackling? Help Please!

I bumped into a bit of a mystery on this project and am hopeful you can help me solve it.  My Paint Crackled and I don't know why.

Let's start from the beginning:  Lovely little desk, well made and deep, dark reddish, mahogany stain. 


A client spotted it in my "inventory" and thought it would be great for her daughter.  Can I paint it in ASCP Pure White, and redrill for knobs instead of the pulls?  I say to myself, I can do that because I have mastered the plague of the bleed through!  So she gets a good sanding, fill the holes and get her prepped for paint.  


The side panels are constructed of wooden boards (this little desk weighs a ton) and there is some separation in the boards.  After filling, gluing and sanding, the prep is done..


I apply two coats of shellac, because that is my magic weapon against bleed through.  I've done a dozen pieces of dark mahogany and Old White and the shellac has worked like a charm.

Next comes 2 coats of ASCP Pure White.  NO BLEED THROUGH!  Am I the master of the universe, or what??  Ha! 

Ah, the rub.  Time for humility to set in!  Those boards on the side panels are not flush and I can see the slight difference in elevation from one board to the other.  It is slight, but I am aware of it.


The cottage look was not what the client and I had discussed.  So I sand, fill, etc, but to no avail.  I send her this picture (after day 3 of working on this cute, little desk, arg...) and she is cool with it.  Not a problem.  Great....let's get her finished up!

2 more coats of Pure White (I like a thorough coverage), with light sanding between each coat.  She is feeling smooth to the touch and really beginning to look beautiful.  It's late and time to call it a day.  Good night sweet, little desk.  I'll see you in the morning!

This little darling turned into the devil and started CRACKLING overnight!  What in the world???







Please tell me you've seen this before and can explain what happened!  I've gone through this process of shellac and Old White a lot recently and not bumped into this....I am stumped.  This was still during the summer, so there were no drops in temperature during the night.

I called my client and we scrapped the project.  I painted the desk black, refinished the top,  and added some really cute knobs (Thanks, Reese, from The Weathered Door for inspiration!).




In the end, she turned out beautifully.  These projects have a way of taking on a life of their own...but as DIYers were open to that happening...make the adjustments, because that's how we roll!  :)

Any thoughts on what caused the crackling would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for stopping by.









16 comments:

  1. This turned out so gorgeous! I haven't seen a lot of pieces with a dark stained top and black painted base, and I am loving it! And those pull… you already know I'm a fan ;)

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  2. Crackling occurs during the drying process usually because there is movement during the water evaporation.
    #1 It can happen when the top coat (your pure white) is too thick and it dries too fast.
    #2 It could also happen if your oil based shellac underneath wasn't completely dry.
    #3 I encounter the crackling when the surface is dirty with years of greasy household build up.
    In the end it turned out great.
    Kristy @ 4 the love of WOOD

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    1. You are the best, Kristy! Thank you for helping me with this mystery.

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    2. I was going to say the same as Kristy, Robin. - drying too fast and too think a coat of paint.
      but it looks beautiful
      sorry i've been out of touch.
      Fiona x

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  3. Hmmm, not sure why the cracking. I had small cracking called crazing on a piece with MMS milk paint. I think it must be something to do with the surface condition of the furniture. Nancy at the Sea Rose Cottage may know why. You want to know what? I LOVE this one in black. I think it was meant to be. Thanks for sharing at Silver Pennies Sundays. x

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    1. It was my pleasure sharing at Silver Pennies Sundays and Thank You for the feature! It's so amazing to see a piece I've reloved as a feature somewhere! Warms my heart! :)

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  4. It's the shellac. I put it over a kid's table that had a shiny dark green paint and got crackling all over the place once I put the chalk paint on. I suspect that I should have waited more than 24 hours before I painted. It felt dry but maybe it wasn't completely.
    Cathy Haley upwithfurniture.wordpress.com

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    1. Thanks, Cathy for the info. Based on your experience and what Kristy from 4theloveofwood said, I'm thinking it was the shellac. Especially since I used 2 coats...probably didn't wait long enough for it to dry. I'm working on a mahogany dresser now and you can bet I'll be waiting a full day after the applying the shellac to put any paint on it! Thanks for sharing your experience!

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  5. beautiful desk! LOVE THE KNOBS YOU CHOSE AND I WOULD LOVE TO FEATURE IT , IF THAT WOULD BE OK PLEASE LET ME KNOW,
    LAUREN

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  6. Ironic, isn't it? You painted a finish people DIE to create. I actually liked the crackling, too. The black with the finished top is very elegant, but they were both interesting. :)

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    1. Christine,
      I wasn't a fan for the crackling when I painted the desk, but here it is several months later and I am started to read about different techniques for adding a crackled finish. Did you mention in another post you have some 'secret crackling formula'? Any chance you would like to share???? I might be game for trying it out! :)

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  7. That black color is so pretty! Which paint brand and color is it?

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    1. It is Annie Sloan Graphite. I've added a little pure black to dark it and then waxed with dark wax...which really helps to deepen the color.

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  8. I got that crackling with 2 coats of shellac and MMS Ironstone. I attributed it to the shellac, thick coats to get coverage and the summer heat. But it worked perfectly for the shabby look I was going for. I've kept it in my arsenal of lessons learned and pretended I meant it to happen that way.

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