Craquelure, a technique that imitates the passage of time

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Decor : Craquelure, a technique that imitates the passage of time


The pieces of antique furniture, with history, are a great ally to add character to a room. That is why it is not surprising that techniques such as cracking, which provide surfaces with a cracked appearance, has regained some prominence. But what is craquelure?

What is craquelure?

The RAE defines craquelure as the action of «produce fine cracks on the surface of something, sometimes as a decorative procedure. ” A sign of aging that occurs naturally in antique furniture or oil paintings and that today can be reproduced using different techniques.

Cracking consists of a cracking of the pictorial layers due to the difference in the drying times of the materials or to changes in the atmospheric conditions. In the most serious cases, the paint layer cracked until it was fragmented and detached, helped by the dirt that was embedded in the cracks, accentuating the feeling of antiquity.

The crackle effect

How many years would we have to wait for a piece of furniture to acquire this aspect naturally? The answer is uncertain so this phenomenon is recreated today using painting techniques that mimic the effects that the passage of time produces naturally but shortening times.

Crackle effect

To recreate this type of effect, you can use varnish or paint. The varnish method It consists of applying a layer of fast-drying water-based varnish over a layer of slow-drying oil-based varnish, so that the already dry upper layer is cracked by the movements produced by the lower layer when drying.

In a similar way the crackle effect with paint. In this case, a layer of emulsion of the base color is applied to the surface, followed by a layer of transparent gum arabic. This gum arabic prevents the layer from cracking. Once dry, a second coat is applied which, when cracked, reveals the color of the lower coat.

Incorporate it into rustic and modern style spaces

The mentioned painting techniques are mainly used on enameled doors, cabinets, chairs and vases in order to soften the contrast between these new objects and others with a long way. These pieces are very appreciated to decorate rustic or provencal style spaces, but also as a counterpoint to more modern pieces in contemporary spaces.

Rustic spaces

The Provencal-style spaces are characterized by their high ceilings covered by wooden beams and antique-looking furniture. Also for its color palette, dominated by soft colors such as cream, green or pastel blue. Small fit perfectly in these spaces cupboards, chests of drawers and cracked chairs. Also decorative walls with this effect, but could be impractical when cleaning.

Crackle in vintage rustic style spaces

Modern spaces

The parts cited can also find a hollow in modern spacesNow that mixing old-looking pieces with modern ones is a trend. In these spaces, however, pieces in neutral colors such as white, gray or black will fit better.

To decorate modern and contemporary style environments, they become a great alternative, too, all those decorative elements that are inspired by crackle but adopt a more artistic vision of it. At Bezzia we love wallpapers that are inspired by this phenomenon to decorate bedrooms. And, of course, those small pieces such as lamps and vases that on a modern surface can help us to give warmth to the room.

Creaquelado effect in modern spaces

Cracking is a phenomenon associated with the passage of time that today we can reproduce on any surface, either using the aforementioned painting techniques, or using papers or adhesives that are inspired by it. Some will allow us to print that feeling of passing time on walls, furniture and various decorative objects; the others, transfer that pattern that is drawn on the cracked surfaces to other modern and contemporary ones.

Do you like the idea of ​​using the crackle effect to decorate your home? How would you use it?

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