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projects - craquelure pot

 giving a decoupaged pot an aged look




Take a terracotta pot and give it a classy, antique finish with our craquelure effect.  This is a water-based two-part varnish which is designed to shrink

and crack as it dries. Rub in a touch of oil colour or wax into the cracks, and finally seal your pot with varnish. Add interest by

combining decoupage with the craquelure effect as we have done here.


 buy craquelure

buy decoupage finish


you will need 

  • a terracotta pot
  • small tub of emulsion paint
  • applicraft Craquelure step 1 (small, medium or large cracks) and step 2 top coat.
  • two medium clean paint brushes or sponge applicators
  • decoupage motifs 
  • wall paper paste
  • scissors 
  • tube of artists oil paint or special effects wax
  • saucer cotton rags 
  • oil based varnish and white spirit or acrylic varnish



1.  Paint the inside and outside of the pot with two coats of emulsion.  Allow the paint to dry between each application.

2.  Mix up a small amount of wall-paper paste.  Carefully cut out your decoupage motifs and paste them into position. Wipe of any excess paste with a damp cloth and leave the surface to dry completely.




3.  Apply an even coat of the craquelure base coat over the whole of the outside of the pot.  Allow this to dry completely - it should take about 20 minutes




4.  Use a clean brush and dip it into water, wipe off any excess moisture and repeat the procedure with a layer of the craquelure step 2 top coat, brushing it on smoothly and evenly as you would with varnish.  Ensure that you have covered the whole surface.

5.  To speed up the cracking process, place the pot in a warm place such as an airing cupboard for about two hours or until it is quite dry.  Don't be disappointed if you don't see the cracks immediately.  Hold the pot up to the light at an angle and your'll notice the fine hair like cracks all over the surface.  Select a method of colouring the cracks and varnishing from the following options;

  • squeeze some artists oil paint e.g. raw umber on to the saucer. Apply a little white spirit to a clean cloth and rub the oil paint over the entire surface of the pot. The white spirit will help spread the oil paint.  After a few hours gently rub off the excess oil paint with a clean, dry cloth.  Leave for 72 hours . Seal with an oil based varnish. 
  • For a cleaner look wait 12 hours after applying the oil paint and using a damp cloth wipe off the oil paint.  Allow it to dry for a further 72 hours and then varnish with an oil-based or acrylic varnish.
  • Special effect wax comes in many colours.  Apply the wax over the surface with a clean cloth, gently rubbing the excess of after about an hour.  Leave for another hour and varnish with either an acrylic or oil-base varnish




  • If you intend to use the pots for plants ensure that you have sealed the pots inside and out with at least 4 coats of protective varnish.
  • Wash the brushes you have used for your emulsion and craquelure effect with warm soapy water.  See manufacturer's instructions for cleaning oil based varnish brush.