UTEE vs. Crackle Accents

How about a warm welcome to Kandi Phillips!

Kandi is married to an amazing guy named Jake, who fully supports her craft addiction, thankfully! She has two wonderful kids, Gwynie (10) and Brady (7) who are the funniest and cutest kids you’ll ever meet (she may be just a bit biased). Kandi loves reading, sleeping in on the weekends, White Chocolate Mochas from Starbucks, laughing until her cheeks hurt, and playing Rock Band with the coolest friends a girl could have. When she’s not doing all those fun things, Kandi works full time for a nationally-based company in Accounts Payable. You can find Kandi’s work at her blog

Reported by
Kandi Phillips

Repeated layers of Ranger’s Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (UTEE) can give your stamped images an antique finish, but is there a quicker way to get that aged to perfection look? Crackle Accents, also by Ranger, is designed to be a one step crackle medium, but I wanted to know how it stacked up next to UTEE. I compared the two in similar trials to find out which product worked best in different circumstances.

First, I tried both Crackle Accents and UTEE on chipboard letters. The Crackle Accents worked perfectly, while the UTEE left much to be desired. The Crackle Accents has a fine point, which is wonderful for precise application, but came out extremely slow, and had to be consistently squeezed to get it to come out. Covering a medium sized chipboard letter took several minutes and caused lots of hand cramping. The end result was well worth the work though, as it created a beautiful crackle after the Crackle Accents dried. Drying time is 1-4 hours based on thickness, and this chipboard letter K took 1 hour and 5 minutes to dry.

Using UTEE, on the other hand, was a quick process, but did not come out with the desired results. The UTEE did make a glossy finish, but when trying to bend the chipboard even slightly to create a crack, the chipboard peeled apart.

Wondering what Crackle Accents would look like on a button, I tried three different buttons of varying textures. Drying time was about an hour and a half, and turned out just as gorgeous as the chipboard letter. Since I knew I wouldn’t be able to bend a button, I didn’t try this test with the UTEE.

So, for hard items like buttons and chipboard, the Crackle Accents wins hands down. Aside from the possible hand cramping and drying time, Crackle Accents is the perfect medium for a cracked finish on 3-D items. Here is a card created with the finished chipboard letter and one of the buttons.

Next, I did the traditional Cracked Glass technique with the UTEE on a stamped image. By applying three alternating layers of Versamark and UTEE, and heat embossing each layer, you end up with a thick glossy finish. After allowing your piece to cool, simply bend your cardstock to “crack” the finish. This creates an antique look in a matter of minutes, which is sure to wow your recipient!
However, the process can be messy when alternating between Versamark and UTEE. Also, if you don’t shake off enough of the excess UTEE, it can spray everywhere when the heat gun is aimed toward it.

When using the Crackle Accents for the Cracked Glass technique I was quite disappointed. While the fine point tip was great for chipboard, it was a major setback when covering a large image. I ended up cutting off the tip to allow more product to pass through as it was proving difficult to cover a small square of cardstock. Drying time for a small stamped image was just over three hours. Crackle Accents also caused the edges of the cardstock to invert, as well as smearing the stamped image. I tried a watercolored image and a basic stamped image, and both showed signs of smearing after the Crackle Accents dried.

If you’re a stamper and want to create an aged image for your cards or scrapbook pages, you’ll want to stick with UTEE. The fast turnaround time, combined with the fact that your images show through perfectly, makes it the winner. Here is a card for a sweet friend, and you can bet she will be wowed with the cracked glass look!

UTEE Pros:

  • Entire process takes about 10 minutes to achieve an antique look
  • Perfect for stamped images


  • Can be messy

Crackle Accents Pros:

  • Can be used on hard surfaces like buttons or chipboard
  • Does have a gorgeous crackle that is unique from the cracked glass look

Crackle Accents Cons:

  • Drying time is one to four hours depending on thickness of product applied, so if you want to finish a project you need to plan ahead.
  • Stamped images will smear and bleed
  • Paper tends to curl
  • Fine tip point, although useful, causes product to come out slowly and can make your hand cramp while trying to apply!

I know I’ll be keeping both on hand as I can see myriad projects that each can be used for. Do you have anything special in mind? We’d love to see your creations with UTEE or Crackle Accents!

Disclosure Statement

And don’t forget about our Club CK Giveaway! Today’s the last day!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

, , , , ,

4 Responses to UTEE vs. Crackle Accents

  1. Astraea March 31, 2010 at 7:12 am #

    Someone on the post about glossy accents and crackle accents already mentioned that it’s better used with permanent ink like stazon. Unfortunately they make a lot of other inks bleed, and I had a lot of bleeding even with the red stazon ink.

    And if you don’t need the fine tip for details, you can cut the tip of the Accents bottles a little lower for a thicker flow. Definitely helps when you want to cover a larger surface, but it’s harder to be accurate.

  2. Chedder Fish March 31, 2010 at 11:15 am #

    I didn’t even think about using the accents on buttons! Thanks for the idea!!

  3. Susan March 31, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    Great review…I just want to add that for the utee cracked glass technique, you should be putting the piece in the freezer for 30 or so seconds after the last coat. you’ll get a much better cracking appearance…and then if you rub some brown dye ink over it, some will get in the cracks, and then wipe it off and it will have the vintage look to it.

    I like the look on the chipboard and the buttons with the crackle accents, but I have issues with both upper limbs so I guess I won’t be buying this product 🙁

  4. Barb's Boys April 10, 2010 at 1:00 pm #

    Nice to see a comparison, I like the idea of having both on hand for different applications. Nice article, thanks.