Pin Tested – Glue Distressed Headboard

September 19, 2012Allison Murray

For a while now I have been desperate to try out the pin that has been floating around like crazy… Can you really use Elmer’s glue for a crackle effect instead of expensive crackle mediums? I must admit that I was crazy stoked.

Unfortunately, it didn’t really work out as well as planned. In the end while I was able to salvage the paint job I still wasted a ton of glue to have a practically solid green headboard. The thing of it is, I have NO clue what I did wrong. It has obviously worked for some, why not me? It was suggested that perhaps it is just too humid here for it to work. I don’t know if that is the case but it seems plausible.

So, if you are just as desperate to try out the glue to crackle pin I say go for it. I also say test it on a small area first ’cause there’s nothing quite like having to start a big ol’ headboard over again. I’ll proceed this post with what did work for me.


You will need:

  • headboard (mine was cheap compressed board, not real wood but it worked out  OK)
  • sandpaper
  • primer
  • flat paint for undercoat
  • contrasting paint for top coat (I got a custom paint sample from Lowes for $3 & still have some left over!)
  • Elmer’s glue (if you want to try it out)
  • metal scraper
  • fine grade sandpaper (in a block is great for the added heft)

First I gave the headboard a good, rough sand and followed that by cleaning it with some alcohol and a clean rag.

Next, I primed the headboard with three coats and followed with two coats of flat white paint.

When totally dry I slathered on the glue and waited and waited and waited for it to get tacky.

When it became my definition of tacky I quickly brushed on my green top coat, taking care to only brush on once in every place and not reapply anywhere if possible.

Then, I sat on my driveway and watched waiting to see these huge, gorgeous cracks occuring in my paint.

When I finally got up to see what the heck was going on and touched the paint, I noticed that it was dry even though it hadn’t cracked yet. WTF?!?!

So in order to salvage a bad situation, I busted out my sanding block and metal scraper and distressed the sucker by hand. I paid special attention to the edges and anywhere that it looked like the paint maybe wanted to possibly crack. Any place where the paint wasn’t totally dry, I used my scraper to peel up the green to show the white underneath.

Then I went around with my little pot of green paint and a small brush and touched up some areas that were a bit too distressed compared to the rest.

Up close and personal with the distress.

In the end, I’m happy with the results and I think it looks fabulous. Would it have looked better with the big crackles I saw in my head? Maybe but why worry about what could have been when I can admire what I have.

Besides I can’t complain too much. The total project cost me less than $5. $1 for the headboard (yellow tags were one cool dolla’ at the thrift store!) and $3 for a little tester pot of paint from Lowe’s in green. $5 distressed if not crackled headboard, heck yeah!

Happy hump day!

Comments (6)

  • Denise

    September 19, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    awww, that sucks – but good job on rescuing it, it does look fabulous now! You are so talented!

  • Allison Murray

    September 19, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    Thanks Denise! I love, love, love your puffy afghan by the way. :)

  • Nancy

    September 26, 2012 at 6:28 PM

    Allison, Next time use Elmer's RUBBER CEMENT.

  • Allison Murray

    September 27, 2012 at 3:35 PM

    Thanks, Nancy! I'll give that a go on the end table I'm refinishing for that room. I appreciate the tip!

  • Lauren

    September 28, 2012 at 4:50 AM

    Beautiful cats, BTW, they are carbon copies of my two, right down to the two orange feet on the same side paws of the tortie. Mine will love knowing they have doppelgangers, lol.

  • Allison Murray

    September 28, 2012 at 8:38 PM

    That is too neat, Lauren! My tortie was a kitten born by a tortie stray I brought into my guestroom. She looks almost exactly like her momma did except that she has longer hair! :) I must say you have excellent taste in kitties!

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