DIY Crackle Paint Using Glue and an IKEA Malm Makeover

Easy DIY crackle paint using glue to create a unique texture on an Ikea Malm dresser.  This easy step by step tutorial shows you how to make crackled paint at home for pennies  with this Ikea Malm makeover idea! 

Close of DIY crackle paint effect on dresser and collage with how to make it with text overlay.

You know when you try a technique you have never attempted before and it works out better than expected?

This dresser was my entry into May 2016  Fab Furniture Flippin Contest (TM) (FFFC) sponsored by Country Chic Paint and the theme was Bling! Bling! using their metallic creams.

It took a bit of research to figure out how to get the crackle paint finish.

I didn’t want to spend $$$ on buying crackle medium.

Then I discovered an amazing and simple the white glue technique! 

Before we get into details of that, you really need to see the before…Wait to you see how she rescues this Ikea Malm dresser hack...

Yes, I am embarrassed to show you this…

It’s from 5 years ago when I discovered stenciled furniture and knobs and pulls at Hobby Lobby…

I matched the design to the bedding in the guest room (!!). I was proud of it for about 5 minutes and hated it ever since but just could not figure out what to do with it!

The 5 years wait has been quite worth it don’t you think?Silver and grey Ikea Malm Dresser with DIY crackle paint using wood glue

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How to do make crackle paint step by step

There are crackle paint mediums available that cost $$$. I wanted to figure out how to do this for cheaper and I discovered you can make crackle paint using glue!

Materials for DIY Crackle Paint –

DIY Crackle Paint Furniture

Step 1 – Prepare surface for painting

Take off any knobs and pulls and patch up all the holes with caulk.

This Ikea Malm dresser is laminate so I lightly sanded the entire dresser with a 150 grit sanding block and wiped away all the sanding dust with a tack cloth.Sanding the surface of Ikea malm to prepare for DIY crackle paint

Step 2 – Paint the base paint.

I used Country Chic Paints’ All in one paint in Lazy Linen.

The first coat went on a little streaky but after the second coat, the paint was super smooth! Ikea Malm dresser painted base coat ready for DIY crackle paint using wood glue

Step 3 – DIY crackle paint with Elmer’s Glue

Now the fun starts!

It’s time to use the white glue crackle paint technique!

Pour glue onto the drawer and spread it across using a sponge brush.adding a layer of glue on furniture to make crackle paint

Step 4 – Add your top paint color

Wait (impatiently) for 2 minutes for the skin to form on the glue, then pour the top paint color little by little and spread it out using a foam brush.

I used the same paint that I used for the base color.

Important tip – Be sure to use a light hand and make sure that the glue doesn’t mix with it.Adding top paint layer on glue to make crackle paint effect

Step 4 – Make Crackle paint

aka watch it dry!

If you are impatient like me, use a hair dryer to accelerate the drying process, but resist the urge to do that a lot because the paint and glue start to ripple.

It took almost 10-12 hours for the paint and glue to completely dry but when it did, it was nice and hard and the crackle was AMAZING!

See how it changed with time –How DIY crackle paint dries over 2, 5 and 12 hours

Step 5- Top coat

You could just use Poly.

But we needed bling remember!

I used an old sock to apply the Silver Bullet Metallic cream to the crackled paint.

The texture of the crackled paint was enhanced 10x with the shiny metallic cream. I did 2 coats to get to the shine I wanted.Rubbing silver metallic cream over DIY crackle paint

I gave the dresser top and inside lip of the drawers a wipe down with the metallic cream too. Close up of top of dresser painted with DIY crackle paint

Step 6 – Add hardware

I added some crystal knobs because bling is not complete without diamonds.close up of knob on dresser with DIY crackle paint

Before I go once more, a close up of those gorgeous cracked paint drawers!! Close up DIY crackle painted drawers

Ikea Malm dresser hack with a unique cracked paint effect. This easy technique transforms a drab Ikea Malm dresser into super glam and chic!
How to get a cracked paint finish. Ikea Malm dresser hack Easy way to get a cracked paint finish. This Ikea Malm dresser hack is amazing!

Be sure to check out Carrie at Thirty Eighth Street  and get more inspiration on how to use the Country Chic Paint Metallic creams.

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Anika's goal is to inspire and empower beginners with woodworking, DIY, home improvement, and home decor ideas.
She wants everyone to unlock their creative potential and experience the feeling that comes with making something. Nothing feels better better than seeing something and saying "I can make that!"

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  1. I like your diy! And i like the beautiful mirror! Where can i get one similar? Thanks

    1. Hi Susana! Thank you! I made that mirror myself. I used to sell these on Etsy in my store ( I have been slowly winding down the store but if you need one I will be happy to make one for you!

  2. This is amazing. Love it. Have a bureau I’m going to try it on. Do you have written instructions for it?

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