Signs, Signs, Signs (Crackling with Elmer)

I love signs but I'm not very good at making my own!   When Meg from Nutmeg Place and I both liked the same sign on Pinterest, we decided to do a shared blog post on creating our own crackled paint signs.

I googled more home made stuff and found out that you can use Elmer's white glue as a crackle medium.  Well, I have Elmer's glue on hand and I'm always up for trying home made stuff so I glopped it onto a board I had handy and used a foam brush to swirl it around.  I waited 5 hours and painted over the top, careful to follow the instruction of using one thick coat and not brushing the paint more than once or twice.  Apparently the more you brush, the less the glue will crackle the finish.  That part went really well and I got a crackled look.  Then I completely screwed up my words on the sign and had to start over, duly forgetting the part about not over brushing.  It didn't crackle... I sanded off the top coat of paint and tried re-lettering.  My sign looked old all right, in fact it looked ancient!!

I drew an egg free-hand and used a Sharpie marker to add the words `Farm Fresh Eggs`.  Things were beginning to look up!  A coat of dark wax shined things up a bit and dulled the paint colour.

I found a really cool font that I wanted to use, so I used the flip side of my board to create another sign.  I painted the board yellow first and 5 hours later slopped on more glue with a paper towel.  I only gave the glue an hour to set up before painting another deeper shade of yellow on top.  This time I paid attention to the "don't over stroke" rule.  It crackled perfectly!!

I traced my words onto the sign using newsprint as a carbon paper.  That worked really well and then I over traced the words with a sharpie and coloured them in.  When I was done, I painted a couple of bouquets of flowers and a sun over the center point of the board. Hmmm now my first attempt is looking better to me!

Here are the two versions of my signs:

And now for Meg's Version:

WARNING: Picture heavy post ahead.  

Hey there and happy Sunday my lovelies!

I have to say, this project {challenge} was SO much fun!!

I was browsing through Pinterest and saw this gorgeous sign that one of my favorite bloggers {Anne from Dream Designs by Anne} had pinned:

I commented on her pin about how much I loved this sign.  She responded that she did as well.  I said "Girl, let's make one!", she accepted the challenge!  

We had both just finished our first project with homemade chalk paint with very similar results.  She suggested we try using the white glue trick to see if we could achieve the crackle effect.  Ok, it's ON!!  So, as this as our inspiration we both set to work on our respective chippy signs. 

I was so excited.  I borrowed a jig saw from a coworker {I had never used one before} and got started.  Here are the supplies I used: 

I really have no idea what kind of wood this is.  All I know is it was already cut in the size I thought would work for me.  I took all the necessary safety precautions: 

Apparently all safe people are supposed to have 20/20 vision.  Whatevs. 

I freehanded the curve I wanted the top to have onto a piece of cardboard to use as a template. 

I traced it and cut it out with the jig saw.  Sorry, no pictures of that because that would be unsafe.  :-) 

I used my little electric sander to soften the edges and round the corners off slightly. 

Next step: glue.  You paint on a layer of white glue, let it dry to just tacky {5 mins or so} then you paint on the top layer of paint. 


See any cracks??  Look really hard... no cracks.  Awesomesauce. 

Ok, so I felt like a Mythbuster.  The myth was busted!  But, I really wanted that crackled finish on my sign. So... I went out and bought some crackle medium.  Yeah, I'm a party pooper.  It was a long week and I didn't want to mess around with the glue anymore.  

So, then I looked at our inspiration picture again and realized I hadn't laid a base color.  DOH!!  I started over by painting the darker base coat: 

Once that dried I painted on a layer of the crackle medium.  Then, once THAT dried, I painted my top coat of paint... and held my breath. 


I let this all dry overnight.  The next day, I used a projector to add the logo.  I traced it with a sharpie, then painted it in with black chalkboard paint.  I like how nicely the chalkboard paint looks and distresses.  After that had dried {chalkboard paint dries pretty dang fast} I took my sander to the logo and distressed the whole sign. 

I added 2 eye hooks and hung it up in my kitchen arch with some sisal twine.  That stuff is dang strong, and I glued the knots so they wont come undone.

And here is my masterpiece: 

I did both sides.  :-) 

I was hoping for better picture taking weather.  It was cloudy and extremely windy today.  So, the pics didn't turn out as nice as I had hoped. 


Isn't Meg's sign AWESOME?!!  This was a really fun project and working together made it even better.  Hope you all have a happy & creative week.


  1. Love the signs, make me want to try one!
    -Kim :)

  2. Great signs! I wish I were talented enough to design one for my home! Have a great Sunday!

  3. Anne,
    Love how your sign and Megs turned.Maybe once I am done painting I can give that a try.

  4. Wow! it turned out great!! gonna have to pin this and come back to it later :o)

  5. Both signs are beautiful, Ann. How fun to work with someone else, from afar, I know.
    Hugs, Cindy

  6. Hi Anne, I like the yellow side of your sign. It looks pretty and happy. But I LOVE the Farmer's market side. I love how old it looks. I want one of those.

    Meg, I have a window just like yours in the wall separating my living room and kitchen and I have had the hardest time decorating it. But I LOVE how your sign looks and have decided to hang one on my window too.

    Thanks so much to both of you for the tutorial and inspiration. :D

  7. Anne, this was so much fun!! Can't wait to challenge again!


  8. I love the signs. Great job. I will have to try the glue method myself.

  9. Love the signs and Nutmeg place is such a cute name! I have been wanting to name our home but can't think of anything- terrible with that sort of thing, that is why my blog name is so unimaginative!

  10. Cute cute cute! Great job! Stopping by from Tuesdays Treasures.

  11. I think you are very clever! I wouldn't even attempt something like that!!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha in Oz

  12. Wow!!!! Love the sign! it looks fantastic!

  13. Y'all both made some really cute signs...thanks for sharing them at my party.


  14. I think you deserve an award. For actually making something you pinned on pinterest. That is a feat few are willing to accomplish. All of the signs turned out great!


  15. I love the signs and I love that you took the challenge. Great job. Thanks for sharing at DIYbyDesign.

  16. You did a great job. I love this sign. Thanks for sharing

  17. I love all your signs. I just posted on how to make very easy signs.


  18. I'm in love with the crackle paint! Thanks so much for linking up to Cowgirl Up! Hope to see you again next week!
    The Ivy Cottage Blog

  19. Great projects ladies! Anne, I especially like the font on your artist's studio sign. And Meg, I think that the shape of your sign is perfect for the pass through to your kitchen. I also like the font in this one and the little decorative flourish you incorporated.

  20. I love this sign it is very charming

  21. Anne I LOVE this lady!! Your sign turned out great!

  22. Super, super cute, Anne! And, you picked a wonderful spot to showcase it!

  23. Great jobs both!
    Thank you darling Anna for your visits!
    Have a nice day (and go on with your creativity!!)

  24. Those turned out awesome! Great to know that you can use glue to crackle!!!

    Thanks for linking it up!

  25. Wonderful as ever, Anne! I've been in love with your blog for a while and I just gave you an award. Please come and see -

  26. you.go.girl!
    You totally rocked the protective eyewear. Now, why don't you consider selling these? You could made a lot of moolah!

  27. Great works of art. Crackling is good...I have several pots, must use them up. You have inspired me:)))

  28. Found you from the Cowgirl Up party! Love your sign!!

  29. Okay, I truly do love both of your signs ... don't make the Farmer's Market feel bad ..

    And, yeah, Meg's sign certainly holds some merit as signs go ... :D


  30. Great sign--scary thought of me using a jig saw--I should try. I'm very impressed! Looks fabulous in your kitchen area.

  31. Beautifully done! Love both yours and Megs sign....clever, clever! Diane

  32. Love this! Looks so cute hanging in that spot, love the yellow!

  33. I'm wondering if I should just add crackle medium to my shopping list in case I can't remember to not overpaint?


  34. Lurvely! Seriously, this calls for a try. Loved your pic with the specs too. So funny!


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