Decorative craquelé process

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21 February, 2018
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This effect, known as craquelé, conveys the appearance of decorated surfaces that have aged, cracked and split with the passage of time.

It is a multi-layer effect, i.e. various products have to be applied to obtain the desired result, although the fact remains that somehow the result can be difficult to achieve, mainly in terms of the size and regularity of the cracking effect ultimately achieved.

Expertise in the application of the craquelé technique will allow out to achieve a cracking effect to your liking.
The size of the cracking effect is based on the amount of craquelé product (CQ) applied and the homogeneity of that amount on the piece. The following rule applies: the greater the amount of product applied, the larger the size of the crack.

The range of colours or hues is as extensive as a chart of conventional lacquered colours, and it is recommended that there be differences in hue between the coat providing the colour of the cracks and the coat used to achieve the overall colour of the surface, in order to maximize the effect.

Step 1: Preparation of the surface

When working with woody surfaces (MDF, plywood or wood), apply base coats (usually pigmented white) until a good preparation is achieved. You must determine the number of coats to be applied and the drying time between each coat to decide whether intermediate sanding processes are required. In order to avoid sanding between coats, coats must be applied no more than 3 hours apart. If coats are to be applied at longer intervals, sanding between coats will be necessary.

When working with non-absorbent surfaces (melamine, glass, metal), no base coat needs to be applied and you may go directly to Step 3 or Step 5, depending on the desired decorative process in each case.

Step 2: Sanding

We recommend drying times of not less than 24 hours after application of the last base coat before proceeding with final sanding. Suitable sanding grains must be selected to ensure a perfect cut and preparation of the film.

Step 3: Pigmented finish
The next step consists in the application of gloss nitro pigmented finish (LB) of the desired colour. Apply a conventional coat that can be estimated in the amount of 100-140 g/m2 at a pressure of 2-3.5 bar. This finish will be suitable for the type of surface used (absorbent or not), as discussed in Step 1.
Step 4: Application of CRAQUELÉ
Apply the desired hue of craquelé varnish (CQ), at a pressure of approximately 1-1.5 bar to ensure that the product does not sprinkle. The amount of product to be applied must be determined by the person applying the product; if you want the product to crack more, apply larger amounts of the product, i.e. more passes. If you want the product to crack less, it should be applied in thinner layers.
Step 5: Protection

After a recommended drying time of between 2-5 hours, the final coat of transparent protective product may be applied.

This may be a nitrocellulose or polyurethane product.

The application of one coat of approximately 120 gr/m2 of product is sufficient.

For specific applications, a PG-010 "rubber" finish effect PG-010 is used to achieve a pleasant "leather" touch.

To achieve this transparent "rubber" effect, two (2) coats of 150-180 g/m2 are recommended. Coats should be applied at intervals of 3-4 hours at a pressure of approximately 2 kg/cm2.

This product takes longer to dry, approximately 8 hours.

Before handling we recommend waiting for at least 36 hours to prevent visible damage to the surface.

NOTE: In high-temperature environments, consider using suitable solvents for diluting varnishes.

Download craquelé decorative effect document

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