Crackle lacquer is a manufactured lacquer product with so much solid material, usually silica, added that there isn’t enough binder (lacquer) remaining to glue all the solid particles together. This results in the lacquer cracking when it dries and shrinks.
The usual way of applying a crackle-lacquer finish is to first apply a colored background, usually a pigmented lacquer coat. Then spray a coat of colored crackle lacquer, which cracks revealing the color underneath.
Simply by moving your spray gun faster and slower and at greater and lesser distances from the workpiece, you can create a pleasing effect. You can control the size of the cracks and “islands” in between by varying the thickness of the crackle coat and the length of time it takes to dry. Thicker and slower drying crackle coats develop larger cracks and islands. Thinner and faster drying crackle coats result in smaller cracks and islands.
Always apply a clear coat (gloss, satin or flat) over the crackle coat to protect it from being shattered when struck by a hard object.