Crackled Wallpaper

How to copy this cool effect using an art supply you already have at home.

Well-worn, crackled leather offers a rich sense of history and texture to any room. Inspired by this idea, we dreamed up a modern way to transform blank bedroom walls with panels of crackled wallpaper. Our secret? Good old-fashioned Elmer’s glue and our self-adhesive wallpaper. Here we break down the process, which isn’t as hard as you’d think. Just give yourself time to practice the painting technique, and find a large flat surface on which to work.

Step 1:

Measure the area on your wall that you’d like to cover. Add eight inches in length to your measurement (this gives you plenty of room to adjust and trim), then cut a wallpaper piece the size of your new measurement. Lay the paper atop a completely flat surface, taping both cut ends down with blue tape to keep the paper secure while you work. Coat the paper with primer using your paint roller (this helps the latex paint stick to the wallpaper).

Step 2:

Once dry, use a clean roller to cover the surface with two coats of black latex paint (it doesn’t matter if it’s flat or gloss). Let dry between coats.

Step 3:

Pour a generous amount of Elmer’s Glue into a disposable plate. (Note: We bought a gallon of glue to be sure we had enough.) Using a wide Chip brush, apply glue to surface with a cross-hatching motion. It may seem a little difficult to apply, but the thicker the glue, the bigger the cracks will be. Spread the glue as evenly as possible. It’ll slump easily, so try to find that perfect balance of not too thick, not too thin. You may want to do some trial samples to test your application.

Step 4:

Allow the glue to dry just enough that when you the touch the surface, it’s tacky but doesn’t come off on your fingers. Then using soft brush strokes, apply a thick layer of flat white latex paint in the same cross-hatching motion. The cracks will often follow the brush strokes, so this motion ensures that you will have variety of directions in your cracks. Because the glue is not completely dry, it’s easy to push it around with your brush. Don’t go over the same spot too many times because it will lift up the paint.

Step 5:

The cracks will start to form soon after applying the paint, and in about an hour you’ll see the full effect. Let dry overnight or longer before applying your wallpaper to the wall.

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