View Full Version : Materials Query

04-11-2011, 11:18 PM
I am the Therapeutic Recreational Director of a skilled nursing facility and one of my new admits does (did) metal engraving. Well, no way can I get the stuff for that, but he has shown an interest in scratchboard, with one exception: Due to his cognitive issues, he needs to work ON white, so the marks are then black. Does anyone make a board like that?

I understand how it might seem to many that scratching on black to reveal white is easily understood, but the way his brain works now doesn't allow him to "see" in his mind's eye correctly that way, so I'm looking for a board that scratches black, rather than white. Any ideas would be appreciated. Thanks.

04-11-2011, 11:33 PM
Sorry no I don't think there is such a product. I think the end result would be too similar to just drawing with a pen on paper. Ampersand claybord is white and it's scratchable, but you basically color a picture on it and then scratch the white highlights into it.

Harry Seymour
04-11-2011, 11:39 PM
What you describe is a real challenge. It certainly can be done with computer paint programs where you simply have black foundation and then draw with white. The only thing I can think for a board would be to paint black on a board and cover it with white paint such as acrylic . The black paint would have to dry very hard so that it is difficult to scratch through to the board. Black casein might possibly work. It dries very hard. Good luck.

04-12-2011, 02:16 AM
Or Harry...how about the reverse of what you've been doing lately?...paint it black then, when dry, cover it in white pastel...that would make it easier to scratch the white off than with acrylic.

Good luck, SBJ...let us know how he makes out, whichever way you do it.

04-12-2011, 06:41 AM
I suggested this very thing to Elaine from Ampersand..... she just went " hmmmmm maybe" then wanted to know why..."why not just use pen&ink?" MY reason was line quality....for your artist.... being that he can't do his metal work...his chosen medium? If working white on black wont work for.him....for what ever medical reason....it seems scratchboard isn't a good choice.....sharp tools...fiberglass slivers?... get some art supplies.in this persons hands..... P&I!!! Artist adapt!...if the only thing I had to do art with was used Q-Tips.....I would figure something out.... get him art supplies!!!

I admire your efforts .... post his work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

04-12-2011, 10:06 AM
While at my last show, I met some people that had painted acrylic paint undercoat, Kilz, on boards and then scratched that off to reveal the board underneath. Why wouldn't that work on MDF?

04-12-2011, 10:18 AM
I appreciate your responses; I'd figured after my own search it was not possible. This gentleman has had a brain injury and is incapable of "learning to think" any other way than the way he already does, so I cannot teach him to "see the black and reveal the white", he can only think the other way 'round. He works VERY finely- he uses a modified and hardened needle and the tiniest v-chisel I have ever seen. The very sharpest pencil lead is not as fine, and even my own Staedtler pens aren't as fine. Sooo.... I'll have to see if he'd prefer to work leather again, (he has apparently tooled leather professionally for Hollywood stars and such) and I've seen that work (amazingly detailed and all by hand- no stamps).

And, I'll probably get in touch with Ampersand, too- one would think mixing a black dye into the kaolin clay and then coating the result with a white acrylic would work, right??

Ken- that's an idea- I'll see if I can find KILLZ here (rumor has it amongst those painting houses this year KILLZ is no longer carried at Lowes or Home Depot. Hard to imagine!)

Again- thank you!

Diane Cutter
04-12-2011, 11:31 AM
You might want to look into printmaking for him. It sounds like he'd do wonderful detailed wood engravings.


04-12-2011, 01:51 PM
Years ago, like 40 years ago, I use to do wildlife scratching on engraving plates. The same material used to do the engraving for trophies and awards with and the ones that I worked with were aluminum. They were very pleasing to the eye and very fine detail can be achieved as well. I am pretty sure that you can get them with a black or dark surface and a white or silver core. The link below may help or you might check with a trophy engraving shop in your area.

04-12-2011, 02:09 PM
Thanks- now all's I have to do is look at my budget and see what the department can afford!

Always down to money, isn't it?

04-12-2011, 08:43 PM
They sell Kilz at walmart