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How to Crackle Paint: DIY Rustic Wood Planters

This month we are so excited to introduce you to Jessica from The Vanderveen House.  Like us, she loves a good furniture makeover and spending time outdoors. She is not shy about using her power tools to build custom furniture and home decor. Moreover, this talented mama of four recently launched her on jewelry line – be sure to check it out! Today she’s sharing tips on how to crackle paint on wood surfaces.


How to crackle paint and make rustic flower boxes using Country Chic chalk paint and crackle medium

How to crackle paint

Hello! My name is Jessica Vanderveen and I’m so happy that Jane and Sonja asked me to write a guest post on Sustain My Craft Habit. I live in a small town south of Ottawa, ON, with my husband and our four children, and I write my own DIY blog called The Vanderveen House. My favorite topics to write about include home renovations (you can tour our house), furniture makeovers, gardening, and budget friendly DIY projects. Today I’m going to share these painted rustic flower boxes. This is a fun, easy and quick DIY project that uses rustic crates, chalk paint, and crackle medium. And you can even let the kids help with this one!

Step 1: Paint a base paint color

The kids and I completed this project within a few hours on one day. It was a perfect day on the May long weekend and we spent the entire day outside. I decided to pull out some paint and start a little project with the kids. I was given some old wooden boxes about a year ago and never quite found a use for them – until now.

Normally when I do a furniture painting project I take a lot of care to properly prepare my piece. Not with this one. I didn’t clean them, didn’t sand them, and I even let the kids help paint the base color. Since I planned to have these flower boxes outside in the rain and the elements, I didn’t care if they looked rustic and weathered and that the paint was sloppy.

I chose two contrasting colors from Country Chic paint along with their crackle medium to achieve a rustic look. I had a pale green color called Happy Hour, and a coral pink color called Full Bloom. The kids and I painted the two boxes with the two different colors.

Step 2: Apply Crackle Medium

Once the base color was dry, I applied a coat of the crackle medium using a foam brush. I tried experimenting with the thickness of the crackle medium to see what kind of textures I could create.

Step 3: Apply the top paint color

Once the crackle medium was dry, we went over the crates with the contrasting paint color.

As the top paint layer dries, it starts to crack to reveal the base color. Thicker crackle medium creates bigger cracks, and thinner crackle medium creates finer cracks.

Rustic flower box in a wildflower meadow

Once the paint was dry, I filled the boxes up with some soil and added a few plants. I put the boxes in the corner of my wildflower meadow to add a pop of color. This is now the second year of my wildflower meadow which has been a special additional to our property.

I wanted to have a field full of color and blooms without spending too much time or effort on it. This year I added a small corner fence to delineate the area, and these rustic painted flower boxes as a way to add constant color. This wildflower meadow is supposed to look slightly unkempt, as you may have noticed by all the weeds that are already popping up that I haven’t pulled out. But by the late summer I hope to have even more flowers than I did last year, and that will totally be worth it.


Thank you so much Jessica for sharing this tutorial on how to crackle paint with us. We’re looking forward to adding more crackle finish to some of our furniture makeovers. Friends, be sure to visit Jessica at The Vanderveen House for additional creative and helpful DIY tutorials. Here on Sustain My Craft Habit you may like how we refinished a wooden school chair, painted our bathroom vanity, or painted our dresser without sanding.

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