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Old 12-13-2002, 12:37 AM
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Axl Axl is offline
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Making Scratchboards

I have never been able to find scratchboards home here, although I am really interested in doing some scratchboard art. The following thought came to me, as I have the materials available to me:

Can you craft your own scratchboards using plaster of paris and india ink? Do you think that would work? *ponders*
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Old 12-13-2002, 01:35 AM
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hey Axl,

I am not sure if it would work or not. The clay used in Ampersands boards Kaolin clay and is pretty hard stuff. Not sure if plaster would be hard enough?

You can get the boards through Dick Blick if none are available locally. They are cheaper there too!
http://www.dickblick.com/zz149/14/products.asp?param=0&ig_id=552

Here is the link to the Dick Blick page of claybord black with priciing etc.

Bob
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Old 12-13-2002, 01:37 AM
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well that link didnt work very well....copy and paste it i guess???? LOL

Bob
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Old 12-13-2002, 02:01 AM
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okay, thankyou very much Perhaps I may even just try it for the sake of trying it (got time to kill whatever LOL) and come back to say how it went
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Old 12-13-2002, 02:12 AM
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Please do, would be interesting to see how it goes. If you have access to an airbrush that would be the way to put the ink on. Have to be sure it is an even layer or you will end up scratching hard in one area then all of a sudden hit a thin spot and dig deeper than you wanted to go. Good Luck!!

Bob
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Old 12-13-2002, 01:43 PM
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I have made my own scratchboard using heavy bristol board. The trick is getting the ink on evenly. Clayboard is something I have never used. It is too expensive when I need to be buying paper and inks for my printmaking. Give this a try before you invest in pre-coated scratchboard. Oh, another thing that is nice about making your own is you can use any color ink you want
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Old 12-13-2002, 02:31 PM
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Ooo what a great idea sassy Thankyou I will try that too!
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Old 12-14-2002, 12:54 AM
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I used to have a recipe that Diana Lee (www.dianalee.com) gave me for making homemade scratchboard. However, I can't seem to find it. If you email her she might still have it around.

It sounds fun but I don't know if I would ever do it. I wouldn't think plaster of paris is the best thing to use. I think it holds a lot of moisture and would probably buckle and crack after a while with changes in humidity. I would look for some kind of clay, but I don't have a clue where I would look. Who knows, maybe it's possible to make great scratchboard from scratch For me, the pre-made scratchboard works just fine. I purchase high-quality scratchboard and it's a pleasure to use.

Poor quality scratchboard (thin postcard-like stuff at most art stores) is terrible and not worth any money at all. If someone gave me 1000 sheets of it I would turn them over and use the white back side for sketching or to make yard sale posters. I might even use them for birdcage liners...if I had a bird.

When I look back at all the art materials I have purchased, scratchboard has to be in the running for giving the most bang for the buck. I can't understand why people say it's expensive. For a 24" × 36" sheet of Claybord Black you will pay $22 plus shipping from Dick Blick or some other mail order place. A 19" x 24" sheet of Essdee Scraperboard will cost $17 plus shipping. I buy these sizes because I can cut them down into smaller sizes and overall they are cheaper. Considering the amount of time it takes me to cover the surface of these boards with meaningful scratches, I'd say they are a bargain. The largest scratchboard piece I have ever done is about 11x14 so I get a lot of mileage out of a single board.

Even the scratch tool are not expensive. I use #16 xacto blades almost exclusively. A box of 100 lasts a long, long time.

If I can find that recipe I will post it.

Russ
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Old 12-14-2002, 04:44 PM
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Just a thought......
What if you had a thin slab of very smooth porcelain or white mid range stoneware fired to bisque then coated it with the ink?
Or if you fired it to vitrification.
Would that work?
I'm going to try it next time I load my kiln.

If you used the plaster or chalk would you coat it with something before you added the ink?
If you didn't have to fire the clay but could make a slip out of it and brush it on a board could you then coat it with something to stop the ink from being absorbed?

I find this whole idea fascinating and would love to know more!
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Old 12-14-2002, 06:23 PM
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Ampersand's Claybord also comes in white which has not been sprayed with black ink. You can ink in only the areas you wish to ink leaving a white background. Something I will be trying in the near future myself.

Bob
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Old 12-15-2002, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by leaflin
Just a thought......
What if you had a thin slab of very smooth porcelain or white mid range stoneware fired to bisque then coated it with the ink?
Or if you fired it to vitrification.
Would that work?
I'm going to try it next time I load my kiln.

If you used the plaster or chalk would you coat it with something before you added the ink?
If you didn't have to fire the clay but could make a slip out of it and brush it on a board could you then coat it with something to stop the ink from being absorbed?

I find this whole idea fascinating and would love to know more!

Omgs I never thought about that. My mum has a kiln from when she use to do ceramics. Sounds like that could really work!
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Old 12-16-2002, 11:04 PM
Howard Metzenberg Howard Metzenberg is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by myorca
hey Axl,

I am not sure if it would work or not. The clay used in Ampersands boards Kaolin clay and is pretty hard stuff. Not sure if plaster would be hard enough?

You can get the boards through Dick Blick if none are available locally. They are cheaper there too!
http://www.dickblick.com/zz149/14/products.asp?param=0&ig_id=552

Here is the link to the Dick Blick page of claybord black with priciing etc.

Bob

Bob,

Thanks so much for the recommendation. Since there are several posts here mentioning scratchboards, I want to redirect people instead to another page at Dick Blick, which will give you an overview of all scratchboard art materials and tools:

Scratchboard Art
http://www.dickblick.com/categories/scratchboardart/

Somebody else in this thread mentions cheap scratch paper and paper-thin boards. As you can see on our Scratchboard Art page, there is both professional and scholastic grade board available.

Scratchboard art is a great scholastic media, but there is no way that schools can afford the best stuff, like the Esdee Scratchboards. Don't buy an amateur material and expect it to perform like a pro.

One more thing is that a lot of people use Claybord as both an additive and subtractive surface. You can paint on Claybord with acrylic, gouache, and other waterbased paints. Then you can scratch through the paint.

To get a nice even application of color, try airbrushing onto the Clayboard surface with a fluid acrylic paint. A fairly simple airbrush set-up, such as a single-action brush, is adequate for preparing scratchboard art surfaces.

Howard Metzenberg
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Old 12-17-2002, 12:27 AM
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Hello Howard,

I have to say it is a great pleasure to meet you. Dick Blick is a wonderful art materials source, keep up the great work!

I have to agree with you that if you use inferior products you will get inferior results. I have not used Esdee boards myself because I have been completely satisfied with Claybord.

Thanks again for stopping in!!

Bob
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Old 12-17-2002, 04:35 AM
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Schools are limited in what they can spend money on. Adults are also limited, but more likely to spend a little extra if they think it will make a difference. In this case it will. It will make a big difference. I guarantee it.

Quote:
Don't buy an amateur material and expect it to perform like a pro.


I don't expect amateur material to perform at all and that is why I run around waving my arms, trying to get people not to buy it. Unfortunately scratchboard is often poorly labeled and those buying it aren't able to make clear choices. They need to know that "professional scratchboards" aren't just for professionals, and they are practically mandatory for working this medium without frustration and anguish. (the link actually shows Essdee's commercial grade - their professional grade is thicker, but not worth the extra money in my opinion)

With the popularity of the Internet, Dick Blick, Daniel Smith, and other mail order companies that carry professional scratchboard are becoming more accessible to potential customers. Their web pages are easier to find and their sites are improving, with more products online, and better descriptions to go along with those products. This is a fairly recent development. When I started with scratchboard 10 years ago it certainly wasn't the case. I had no idea that professional scratchboard even existed, let alone where to find it. I was at the mercy of the local art stores, which sold (and still sell) scratchboard without labels, instructions, precautions...zip, zero, nada, not even a brand name in some cases. I did my best with what I could find and prayed that I wouldn't scratch too hard and tear the paper. I wasn't in scratchboard hell forever, thank goodness. My break came when I read a Communication Arts article about Mark Summers. He recommended Essdee Scraperboard, and I figured if it was good enough for the most popular scratchboard artist in the world, it was good enough for me. It's awesome.

Since then I've been an evangelist for quality scratchboard and I try to help people avoid the pitfalls that I experienced.

Russ
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Old 12-20-2002, 10:07 AM
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This sounds fascinating! Hope you try making your own Axl....when and if you do please post us a WIP so we can see the results Can't wait to see what you do with scratchboard!

Di
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