To make paint crackle, paint the desired surface with a coat of latex or acrylic paint, allow the paint to dry, and apply a layer of wood glue. When the glue is tacky, apply a second coat of paint. Avoid painting over the same sections repeatedly, and work quickly to prevent damaging the crackle finish. Apply a thin layer of glue for a fine crackle or a thick layer of glue for larger, noticeable cracks.
Crackle medium is also an option. To use crackle medium, first apply a base coat of satin or semigloss-sheen paint to the surface, and allow the paint to dry. Apply the crackle medium onto the surface with a sea sponge or a paintbrush, and allow it to cure for the amount of time recommended on the product packaging.
Apply a second coat of paint after the crackle medium cures. Work quickly, and do not overblend the paint, as this could ruin the crackle finish.
Choose contrasting paint colors for the base and top coat to add a more noticeable crackle finish to the surface. If desired, apply a topcoat, such as clear polyurethane or varnish, to the surface after the final coat of paint dries. To achieve a faux-antique look, do not use a topcoat.