Jacarelado decoration technique or false mosaic

Jacarelado decoration technique

The Jacarelado decoration technique originated in Brazil. It is used to decorate bottles, frames, decorative panels and other interior items. The article details what materials and tools are needed to create beautiful works in the Jacarelado technique.

Jacarelado or false mosaic is a decoration technique that allows you to create a pattern that resembles crocodile skin or a pattern made from small pieces of colored glass – smalt. Its name is connected with this, which comes from the word “jacar”.

It is translated from Portuguese as “cayman” or “alligator”. The technique originated in Brazil. In Europe only one of its simplest forms is known. It quickly gained popularity, as it allows you to create original panels and souvenirs using the simplest tools and materials.

Features of the False Mosaic technique

Although the creation of decorative coatings in the Jacarelado technique is not particularly difficult in itself, and anyone can master it by watching any detailed master class, there are certain difficulties.

The main one is the impossibility of decorating on vertical or inclined surfaces. This means that, for example, the simplest box will have to be decorated with a “false mosaic” for several hours and even days, in stages, taking breaks to allow each wall and lid to dry well.

Otherwise, the pattern will be smeared and it will not be possible to get a beautiful pattern that imitates crocodile skin.

A real Brazilian Jacarelado is created using a special primer composition Falsco Mosaico and special stained glass paints on a natural organic basis Vernix Vitral. The latter give the works a glossy sheen.

Such a decor will look beautiful and unusual, but it cannot be compared with samples created using original materials.

Preparing to create a “False Mosaic”

Decorating objects using the “false mosaic” technique takes place in several stages. At the first stage, the working surface of the product is prepared. It is leveled, cleaned and degreased.

Then a dense layer of glue of medium density is applied to it, which is smoothed with a knife or brush and wait until it dries and absorbs into the base.

The next step is to create the background. To do this, paint is applied to the resulting soil. After it dries, the surface is covered with another layer, diluted with water to the state of liquid sour cream. When creating products for which a background is not required, PVA is placed directly on the primer.


To create a drawing in the Jacarelado style, paint is drawn into a syringe or into a pipette and carefully applied to the entire surface to be decorated. It is recommended to use a straw with a small hole, as this will allow you to create more elegant work.

Getting on PVA, a drop of paint plunges deep into the adhesive layer. As a result, a relief recess is created. For greater decorativeness, the contours of the drop are finalized with a toothpick.

Then the drawing is drawn up and it is “painted”, adding where necessary drops of paint of the same color, but of a more saturated shade.

Final stage

At the final stage, the decorative layer is dried. The process may take 1-2 days, as the adhesive layer is very thick. Dry only naturally. The use of heating appliances or a hair dryer can distort the pattern, and the result will not have the desired effect of crocodile skin.

At the final stage, the surface made in the Jacarelado technique must be varnished, which will give it greater strength and shine.

Tips for beginners

In order for the craft to learn as beautiful as possible, you need to work carefully and not rush. When working with a cocktail tube, it is lowered into the paint by 4-5 cm and removed, holding it in a vertical position, holding the top hole with your finger. Even if the first work is slightly smeared, you can correct the situation with varnish.

It is important to choose the right colors when it comes to decor, with which you need to create a mosaic pattern on the surface. It is advisable to choose paints in the same color scheme.

The combination of Brazilian technology with other types of surface design for interior decor items or panels looks beautiful. For example, the “false mosaic” looks great along with decoupage.

All the necessary goods for Jacarelado and other types of needlework, such as centimeter tape, wool for felting (felting), paints and accessories can be purchased at the Odeon online store.