How do I make a faux peeling paint wall for Halloween?

I want to use rigid styrofoam insulation panels to create walls for my haunted house. I want the walls to look like they are old and the paint has peeled. I tried a sample by painting several layers of latex paint and heating with a strong blow dryer and that blistered the paint a little but not enough to peel. Would that process with a heat gun work?

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Prime the surface with acrylic or a water based paint. Coat with varying thicknesses of clear/ PVA glue then draw a different coloured acrylic paint over the top of the glue when still wet. Leave to dry or to speed up the process, heat with a heat gun.

You'll find that the thinner the glue is spread, the longer and thinner the cracks form and vice versa.

Cheap, quick and easy!
lkaplan1 (author) 6 years ago
JFF that's perfect. Just the right level of time, energy and materials. Thanks.
rickharris6 years ago
Painting a water based paint over an oil based undercoat has funny effect as they don't like each other - especially if the undercoat is fresh.
lkaplan1 (author)  rickharris6 years ago
If what you mean is that the latex won't stick very well to the glue/paint coat then actually wouldn't it work better for the effect? Being able to peel the latex layer away? I have some scrap to try it on.

thanks for writing back.
That's right it actually spontaneously peels off (when I did my bathroom door!)
There are several commercial crackle-finish paints available for faux-vintage look projects. Here's one from Behr:

As far as getting that look using household materials, I don't know.