Friday, January 11, 2008

Ranger Crackle Accents

The use of the Distress Crackle Paint on yesterday's project brought up a question about Ranger's Crackle Accents. Here is a bit of information to help clear up it's uses and some examples of projects made using the Crackle Accents.

The family of "Accents" includes the original Glossy Accents, Matte, Sepia and Crackle Accents. The first 3 types of Accents can be used on virtually any surface desired such as porous (wood, canvas), non-porous slick surfaces (glass, metal, shrink material, UTEE) or semi-porous (paper, chipboard, or painted surfaces).

Crackle Accents are different however. In order for them to crackle it needs a surface to grip. Glass, metals, shrink materials, UTEE are all too slick as there is nothing for the Crackle to "grab" as it's drying.

Crackle Accents & Various Surfaces ~

Crackle Accents does not work well on porous surfaces either as they have a somewhat long drying time (2-4+ hours) during which the cracks take shape. Highly porous items such as unfinished wood or canvas absorb much of the Crackle Accents before it has a chance to work it's magic.

Crackle Accents do however work WONDERFULLY on semi-porous surfaces!!! The results are simply amazing as you will see.

How to Apply Crackle Accents ~

You can apply the Crackle Accents in various manors. The two I like most are direct from the bottle or with a paint brush.

Bottle Application ~ If you've used one of the other Accent products you will notice immediately that Crackle Accents are much thicker than the rest. Because of this I have found that if I snip off about 1/2 of the needle tip applicator it comes out of the bottle MUCH easier.

The story about how I came to this conclusion goes something like this....late at night, everyone asleep, me sitting at my desk trying to fill bottle caps with Crackle Accents....being a bit on the weary side I can't figure out why the accents won't come out of the's an almost new bottle so I KNOW there is more than enough in there....I squeeze and squeeze but still nothing! I take both hands and really put a strangle hold on that sucker...Yep, That did it...the whole end of the bottle shot off across the room like a jack - rabbit being chased by a coyote!!! I guess it was a bit loud as well cause it woke up the dogs who in a barking fit woke everyone else up....OOPS! Like the Rocketman I protested......Wasn't Me!! Anyway, after cleaning up the mess I had made I snipped off the end and it worked without shooting Crackle Accents all over everything! Now when I get a new bottle even before I think about using it that end gets snipped off ;)

O.K., Back to bottle application ~ As you can see in the bottle cap example above, by applying the accents in this way (direct from the bottle) you will get a thicker coating which in turn will produce larger more defined cracks. Simply squeeze the accents covering your entire project. Set aside to dry. For smaller cracks but still very visable squeeze out a large puddle of the accents onto your project but thin it out a bit by moving it around with a paint brush.

Brush Application ~

Another method to apply accents is with a brush. Squeeze a small amount out and paint the accents onto your project. You will get a much finer crackle look and it will cut the dry time down immensely. This paper mache frame was made using a brush to apply the accents. You can see how small and close together the cracks are.

You just have to decide what look you're going for before you start applying the Accents to your project.

Dry Time ~

Dry time will of course vary because of temperature and humidity but generally it will be "set" within the first 30-45 minutes. "Set" only means that there is a thin skin over the puddle of accents...DO NOT - I repeat DO NOT stick your finger in to test it! I learned that lesson the hard way! You could ruin your project and come out with a crackled finger ;) It doesn't start to crackle however until 1-2 hours later. It will continue to crackle as it dries. I like to leave my projects set over night to ensure that it has completely dried out and is finished cracking before I move on with whatever I'm working on.

Additional Tips & Info ~

~ If you are going to be applying the Crackle Accents over a stamped or colored image be sure to use a permanent, water-proof ink such as Archival Ink. The moisture associated with any of the Accents line will pull the ink out of the paper into the Accents as it dries. (The paper mache frame is a good example of this.) The inks will feather and color the Accents which does produce a cool effect but not always desired.

~ When the Crackle Accents have dried completely, try applying acrylic paint or dye/distress inks over them. Wipe off the excess. The paint/ink left behind will highlight and accentuate the cracks for an awesome finished project!

~ Keep in mind that when Crackle Accents dry they tend to pull the paper with them. What does this mean? Well thinner light weight paper if not secured to a more substantial cardstock or chipboard will have a tendency to curl as it's drying. If I want to use the Crackle Accents over a light weight stamped or printed paper I always secure it either temporarily or permanently to a heavier piece of material.

~ Crackle Accents retain their flexibility when dried so they are safe to use in scrapbooks or on cards. No need to worry about them flaking off.

~ Crackle Accents can also be used as a glue as can the rest of the Accents family.

I hope that this sheds some light on Crackle Accents and helps to clear up some of the mystery about this fun and exciting product :)

Now....go get inky people!


  1. Thanks so much, Roni! I don't have specific plans for the crackle medium yet, but I love that finish and didn't realize Ranger made it until I was poking around Ranger's site after Tim's 12 Tags of Christmas. I liked the idea of iking or painting a surface one color, applying the crackle medium, and then I thought I would swipe a darker Distress Ink over it to get in the cracks, and then I'd wipe it off.

    I've tried the Glossy Accents--it turned out okay, not as flat as I would like--but that dry time is the killer for me, I'm so impatient! lol I like the idea of leaving it out overnight, though.

    Thanks so much!!

  2. Thanks for this article. I like that this is basically a one step process - unlike other crackle mediums.

  3. I love the road trip one! Cool. I have used crackle medium before...and might get it out again and play.

  4. Still not tried any crackle mediums, but I just love the effect! And I love Ann's idea of swiping the darker distress ink over afterwards.
    Had to laugh about your story of forgetting to snip the tip off! I've done something like that too many times!

  5. Roni, I just have to say again that you are doing an amazing job on this blog! Your detailed instructions, along with photos, make it almost like having a private lesson! Shannon and I talked about your blog when she and I met and both of us agreed that we were thrilled that you finally went ahead and did it! The problem is that now I have a ton of projects and techniques, and not enough time to try them all!

  6. My local art supply store has the sepia accents in stock. I looked at it just today. The next time I go back I will have to get some. I love the projects you've done with the crackle accents. Thanks for the detailed instructions and the pictures to go along with those instructions. You're doing a wonderful job with this blog. Thanks so much!!


Thanks for your thoughts and comments!